Ascent of Mount Volz on 2020-05-16

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Dan Connors
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, May 16, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Mount Volz
    Elevation:12589 ft / 3837 m

Ascent Trip Report

I can not add my GPS route because it exceeded the 3000 points the site will allow so I will describe the easiest way up and the way we came up which is not recommended. The easiest way up is how Muller describes in the CMC book "Colorado Summit Hikes" where he rates it as "easy" and perhaps it is in summer and if you can access his TH but we could not so our outing was "hard"

In his book he has you drive up Boreas Pass Road up to the little trail shown on the USGS map at around elevation 10,900 feet and park this is at the small creek fork NE off of Selkirk Gulch. From there the hike can be done RT in 3.5 miles and stay south and east going up the obvious valley to the nice grassy saddle then head back west to the summit

BUT we did not do that! and we could not because the dang gate was locked all the way back near the junction where the road swing back and contours the mountain away from Tarryall Creek at elevation BM 10,096. Thus we had a long slog up the road and an additional 900 feet of gain. Even with this huge add on of time, we still could have made this an easier trip if we did not make two mistakes resulting in this being an 11 mile RT with nearly 3,000 of gain, with nasty post-holing snow, and worse non-locking talus at the angle of repose!

Mistake one was instead of hiking all the road up to the TH he suggests we got bored hiking this needlessly long road and started to bushwhack at elevation 10,800 feet up the western flank expecting no snow. And there was little snow up to 11,000 feet then it got bad fast. The lodgepole pines in the area are tightly spaced, little sun can penetrate and the snow banks were soft and we post-holed upwards to about elevation 11,200. That last 200 feet of post-holing was miserable up to 3 feet deep and crusty then break thru. Looking across the small creek to other side of the ridge we could see open grassy no snow fields but now we had to crawl, slide, glissade, and post-hole down to the creek and we were exhausted. Finally crossing the creek we were able to get on the route that Muller recommends but only after wasting an hour burning ridiculous amount of energy.

Second mistake. I could now see Muller's route to the right of us an easterly longer track to the wonderful open grassy fields where elk were running and the saddle he used. But Dan saw the direct line up the SW side of Volz would "make up" time because the peak looked right ahead. But that was false summits and as we headed into the talus we realized it was 1000 feet of nasty talus. The rocks are jagged plates that teeter and rock back and forth and never sit still. It got steep and steeper and the angle of repose was achieved where this was no longer class 2 but class 2+ both hands down and rocks sliding between your legs. Looking at the map I insisted we head east to the obvious less steep shoulder (still way west of the nice grassy approach we missed) but to my dismay we hit a deep snow bank that had a long slide to deal with and we did not have ice axes with us so back to the tedious talus.

The total hike up should have been 1.75 miles and would be in summer but in spring with a closed gate it took us 5.5 miles of very unpleasant terrain between the post-holes and moving talus. The summit had great views but like I expected windy! Not as bad as Boreas but chilly and beat us up some more. On the way down I had enough talus so I glissaded down the grassy saddle and following the correct route of grassy plains and saddles had only minor patches of snow and the talus when encountered was interlocked and stable. We took the road all the way back with no shortcuts our feet both hurting. The total time was nearly 6 hours which is slow for us for 11.6 miles but the talus and snow post-holing sections were like 0.5 miles/hr. up in 4 down in 2

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2910 ft / 886 m
    Total Elevation Loss:450 ft / 136 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.6 mi / 18.7 km
    Grade/Class:1 thru 2+ nasty loos
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Windy, Clear
Beautiful day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2835 ft / 864 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2460 ft / 750 m; Extra: 375 ft / 114m
    Loss on way in:375 ft / 114 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:see GPS track
    Start Trailhead:Gated early on FR   10129 ft / 3087 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:75 ft / 22 m
    Gain on way out:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:6.1 mi / 9.8 km
    Route:see GPS track

This page has been served 54 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2021 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service