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Ascent of Buffalo Mountain on 2018-08-19

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, August 19, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Buffalo Mountain
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:12777 ft / 3894 m

Ascent Trip Report

Left parking lot at Upper Ryan Gulch Road (White River National Forest Tail Access) at 8:00 AM and summitted the 3,000 foot gain in 1 hour and 49 minutes including the nasty talus-boulderfield arriving at 9:50. Then after a short break headed across the pinnacle formations and towers along the knife edge between this easy peak and the Sacred Buffalo peak arriving there at 10:10 AM and after a nice long break at the second summit headed down and back to the car by 11:39. I made it down from the Sacred Buffalo, across the pinnacles, back over the Buffalo, and down to the car in 1 hour and 15 minutes; Total time out was 3 hours and 40 minutes including a long break on the second peak.

The hike begins as a slog up thru burned out pines; then thru non burned out lodgepole pines. It is a relief to see the mountain finally, but now it is a thick steep slog through large stable talus and boulders. There are trails through it but they criss cross and braid everywhere and at times, I preferred to put hands down and just scramble straight up larger boulders. Cairns are everywhere and even if I took a steeper straight line up I would intersect another use trail. The best part was ripe raspberries all over the talus and I ate many! Finally it swings around a knob of talus and sits you on a grassy saddle where you descend about 20 feet and start the final slog up Buffalo. There are great views up there but unfortunately most of mine today were obscured by smoke and pending rain clouds.

But I could see I had time to run over and do Sacred Buffalo and I am glad I did that was the more interesting peak and climb. See TR for Sacred. In all the day consisted of 6.5 miles around 3200 feet of total vertical (including going over the connecting towers-pinnacles between the two peaks. I was able to get up Buffalo in 1 hour and 49 minutes and the climb to Sacred, back to Buffalo and down to car was 1 hour and 15 minutes


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3083 ft / 938 m
    Total Elevation Loss:147 ft / 44 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Grade/Class:1,2,2+
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Low Clouds
fighting to not rain
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3038 ft / 925 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3013 ft / 918 m; Extra: 25 ft / 7m
    Loss on way in:25 ft / 7 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:Standard trail see route by Valerie Norton
    Start Trailhead:Upper Parking off Ryan Gulch Road  9764 ft / 2976 m
    Time:1 Hours 49 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:122 ft / 37 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 77 ft / 24 m; Extra: 45 ft / 13m
    Gain on way out:45 ft / 13 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Route:same
    End Trailhead:saddle between peaks  12700 ft / 3870 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Buffalo

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Buffalo Mountain2018-08-19 a3083 ft / 940 m
2Sacred Buffalo2018-08-19 b69 ft / 21 m
3Buffalo Mountain2018-08-19 c137 ft / 42 m
Total Trip Gain: 3289 ft / 1003 m    Total Trip Loss: 276 ft / 84 m



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