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 Peak(s):  Bull Hill A  -  13,761 feet
 Post Date:  05/17/2012 Modified: 05/27/2014
 Date Climbed:   05/16/2012
 Posted By:  BillMiddlebrook
 Additional Members:   USAKeller

 Bull Hill - South Ridge      

Since I didn't see a "summer" report of this route in the trip reports, here's a quick report of 13er Bull Hill via the Echo Canyon trail.

Date: 5/16/2012
Who: BillMiddlebrook and USAKeller
Trailhead: Echo Canyon
Elevation Gain: 3,800'
RT Distance: 7.25 miles

360° Summit Pano (click for larger, interactive version)


The Echo Canyon "trailhead" isn't marked and the unmarked turn-off from CO 82 is very easy to miss. This is the second time I've parked here for a hike and both times I've felt a bit uneasy about leaving my vehicle because it's surrounded by posted, private property. If you have 4WD and don't want to park in the lower area, turn right and continue 150 yards up the old road (trail) where you'll find a pull-off with parking for a couple more vehicles - easy 4WD to that point and it's on public land.


Test of three centered images:

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At the unmarked trailhead - trail starts to the right (north)
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A right turn turn and stream crossing
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The old road is overgrown in most places


We started just after 5am and quickly ran into the only obstacle of the day - the stream crossing 0.3 mile up from the trailhead. After finding a way across, we continued N/NE on the trail leading up Echo Canyon. It's in great shape and stays close to the creek.
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A right turn turn and stream crossing


Near 10,600', the trail gets back on the old, overgrown 4WD road that was used to access mines long ago. A defined trail now weaves through the trees on the road.
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The old road is overgrown in most places


Above 11,400' the trees thinned out and we passed the mine shack in the Last Change Mine area.
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I could live here

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The road makes for some easy walking


There's a great view of Casco Peak during much of the climb.
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Casco Peak to the northwest


The road ends at the Golden Fleece Mine, just below the south ridge.
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Approaching the Golden Fleece Mine (12,600')

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At the mine, looking south to La Plata Peak


Just above the mine, we hiked up this slope to reach Bull Hill's south ridge.
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The short pitch above the mine is the hardest part of the hike. Class 2

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Feels like summer


Finally on the south ridge, the remaining hike was obvious - easy, grass-covered slopes.
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On the south ridge, viewing the remaining route

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Approaching the summit

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Near 13,500', looking south

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Almost there


After 3 hours and 20 minutes we were on top. It was an easy hike and we were able to move quickly on the dry road. About 10 years ago I made it to this summit after a traverse from Mt. Elbert. I remember that being a long day and the connecting ridge seeming to go on forever.
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Connecting ridge over to Mt. Elbert

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Another look at La Plata Peak

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The French Group and Mt. Massive (right). Click for larger pic


360° Summit Pano

A quick descent and we were at the trailhead around 11:00. If you're looking for a short summer hike on a Sawatch 13er with great views, Bull Hill won't disappoint.

When I was young, I lived near the base of a Bull Hill (approx. 2,000') and our street went over the top of that hump. I really hated riding my bike up that stupid hill!



My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 

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