Mount Aetna 13,745
Taylor Mountain 13,651
Missouri Hill 12,710
Lost Mountain 12,614
Partner: Tyler (tdawg)
With a stellar forecast on Sunday I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to climb some Bi-centennial peaks. I called Tyler and he was down so we met in Boulder and left for Garfield. The forecast called for high winds and mild temps. This was accurate. We parked at Monarch Lodge which won’t open for another month. At 7:40 we set out on FS 228, it was a nice road which ends at a marble quarry. After the quarry it was a rough road over the SE shoulder of Taylor. From there we descended 250 feet to another quarry where we traversed around the South ridge of Missouri Hill. Tyler ascended the Talus and I descended into the valley. We met up at the saddle. Both routes were quick, it just depends on your preference for talus or grass. The climb up Lost Mountain went quickly. We were greeted by strong winds. Luckily we were able to find shelter on the North side of the summit.
Missouri Hill is a very quick climb from Lost. After fighting the wind and nearly being blown off the mountain we made the 25 minute traverse. Taylor looked far away from here.
We were able to find some protection from the wind on by staying a few feet below the ridge crest. In the wind it was cold, out of the wind it was warm. The traverse to Taylor was straightforward. At about 13k we ran into some snow, it was only a few inches deep and didn’t hinder our progress. The wind was the strongest on Taylor. Again the traverse looked long. The wind made it look that much further.
The wind battered us as we made our way to the saddle. We had to stay on the south side of the ridge because of cliffs on the north side of the ridge. At the saddle we saw the crux of the traverse. A short 20 foot headwall which provided some brief scrambling. The rest of the ridge was talus and went quickly. We sat and enjoyed the summit of Aetna for 30 minutes before making our descent. There were three options for a descent. Our first option was to go back to the Taylor Aetna Saddle and follow the route described by Garratt and Martin, our second option was to descend the South ridge, our third option was to descend the western of the two south ridges. Each option required roughly the same distance and effort. We chose the third option. This ridge was steep, descending nearly 3000 feet in a mile.
the class 3 headwall
Looking back at Taylor
We followed the ridge proper down to treeline where we followed an animal trail down the ridge to about 11.4k there we dropped into a drainage which took us to two cabins and the road out. We took another 20 minute break at the cabins enjoying the mild October afternoon, knowing this there might not be anymore of these until next June. It was a quick 45 minute hike out from the cabins.
enjoying my new home
Aetna's famous rock gully