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Ascent of Douglas Mountain on 2018-11-04

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Willie-Weimaraner Musser
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, November 4, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Douglas Mountain
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:9550 ft / 2910 m

Ascent Trip Report

Wanted a large prominence peak but with recent snow did not want to go too high for a short quick SUN hike with the dog. We drove up to Empire Pass from downtown Empire. The roadway up begins paved, then dirt (and it was wet slush from melted snow) and then the last bit of the road up to the pass is a bit rocky but a high clearance vehicle was not needed. We has a Subaru crosstrek.

Some park and climb this parking in Georgetown. I see why now. The hike up from Georgetown makes it a bit longer but a kind of neat way up. Willie and I started up from the pass first. There is a faint trail. It sends you along the southern ridge and then to avoid a steep obstacle of rotten rock, it swings to the right and the east side of the ridge. Soon the trail fades especially in the snow and we encountered terrain not good (wet and snowy) I checked the route taken by the Michek family and noticed that we were too low and cliffed out - we should have been on the ridgeline by now. So we picked our way up a precarious slope. If dray conditions probably not too bad, but with wet soil, snow, and crumbling rock it was hard. I was worried about a route that the dog could get up but he did fine.

After that miscue we followed the ridge easily and up and around several false peaks. The snow became about 3 to 4 inches deep and I slipped on my microspikes. Willie ran through he snow and had a delightful time. Views are better down low on the ridge - the conifers block much of the views near the summit. The summit still has the odd teepee log feature and a register log but we did not bother to open it.

On the way down near the same place where we got into trouble (the first steep ledge on the ridge) I found a nice class 3 exit but it was too steep and exposed for the dog. Willie looked a bit spooked so I had him sit and wait for me. I scrambled down and rounded the feature and climbed back up to the top this time finding the cryptic weakness and slot where you obviously should go up and down, I missed it going up and i missed it going up and down! But now I was able to summon Willie back up to the top and guide him down this fault line.

Back at the car (pass) I put Willie in the car to warm his wet paws and then hiked down the signed trail that takes you to Georgetown. I hiked down and enjoyed seeing how this "trail" is an old narrow gauge mining road. The remnant of the old timbers and steel cable still along it and in one place a large mining exploration cave you can go in. I took my phone light and went back to the end (about 100 feet or so). I hiked down to the Welcome to City Of Georgetown sign and then headed back to the car at the pass. I show the trip starting from this beginning TH at 8530 for convenience but I was actually starting somewhere in between the pass as a TH and the Georgetown TH ( I like to get as much vertical gain as possible for the training).


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1115 ft / 339 m
    Total Elevation Loss:95 ft / 28 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Grade/Class:mostly 1 but some of
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Crampons
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Windy, Overcast
cold and windy 38F
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1060 ft / 323 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1020 ft / 311 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Loss on way in:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Route:trail from Georgetown to southern ridgeline
    Start Trailhead:parked at Empire pass hiked down  8530 ft / 2599 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:55 ft / 16 m
    Gain on way out:55 ft / 16 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km



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