Peak(s):  Gladstone Pk  -  13,913 feet
Date Posted:  08/12/2016
Modified:  08/23/2016
Date Climbed:   08/12/2016
Author:  Bill Stafford
 Gladstone Peak from Sunshine Mesa Trailhead   

https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/79420cea-7c3c-4553-8f76-e30a25800a2c/

The drive from Denver to the Sunshine Mesa Trailhead took about 7 hours, with few personal stops along the way, but with about 40 minutes worth of road construction delays. I started my hike about 3PM, under partly cloudy skies, 70degF. The trail rises gently to the Morning Star Mine eyesore. Bushwack past the mine about 20 yards and one encounters a spot where a large amount of treefall has accumulated on the creek, easing the crossing to the west side. I continued my backpack into lower Bilk Basin at 11,060' and set up my tent for the night. It took me about 3 hours to hike the 4.1 miles and 1400' of gain to this spot. It's a beautiful hike and a beautiful spot for camping, assuming a campsite can be found. Gladstone and it's steep north ridge is visible to the southwest.

My hike to Gladstone began about 6:30AM. I had looked for the trail the previous night but could not find it. I discovered later that day that one need only continue on the trail one first came in on, cross the creek, continue on the trampled grass for a few yards, and then proceed on a narrow dirt path through the thick willows for 20 yards or so. One breaks out of the willows onto a wide, rocky path that heads sharply right (north). This is the trail described by Roach. It took me to upper Bilk Basin at 12,060', another beautiful camp spot - if one has the energy to haul a backpack this far. I arrived here about 8AM, and pumped/filtered enough water to last me through to the summit and back. The trail is sometimes faint, and I found myself on, then off trail a number of times. Regardless, I reached the 13,140' saddle on Gladstone's north ridge at about 9:35. On the final, steep ascent to the summit, I largely stayed on the ridge. There is little actual "trail" to be found. I used my hands a lot during my 2 hour, difficult climb to the summit. It was a virtually cloudless, warm bluebird day - perfect summit weather. I took photos, and removed a very wet summit register from the canister, bringing it down with me to send to the CMC office in Golden. It was worthless for holding any future signatures. Someone will need to replace it. I left the summit at 11:55, largely following the ridge again back to the low saddle. It took me nearly as long to climb down as up this technical, loose ridge. This was one of the more difficult, grudgingly slow sections I've undertaken in my quest for the Centennials. (4 to go!) I arrived back at camp at 4:30PM, exhausted and with a very sore, swollen right knee after a long 10-hour day. I was thankful I had made the decision to camp, as I would not have wanted to hike further this afternoon.

I had dinner, re-hydrated and fell asleep early, maybe 7:30pm. I awoke a few times to check for Perseids meteors in the clear skies, but saw none during the brief periods of consciousness. (Granted, my view of the northern horizon was blocked by Wilson Peak's east ridge.) The next morning, I had breakfast & coffee, broke camp, and started down about 8AM, arriving back at the trailhead at 10:45AM, home by 6.

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




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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