Peak(s):  "Citadel, The"  -  13,294 feet
Date Posted:  06/30/2018
Date Climbed:   06/27/2018
Author:  pstern
 The Citadel and Hagar from Dry Gulch  

I've been to the Dry Gulch area a number of times this year, mostly to ski Trelease but also a spring mission to the ridge at 13,000' on Citadel to ski the southeast face and a failed mission to ski Hagar that got rained out. I really wanted to get up there and get both summits in one push and that's what I did. I left at 7:30 a.m. from the gate just off I70 and headed up the obvious road into Dry Gulch. After 28 minutes of moving, the trail really starts to fade out and you are directly below a steep and mostly treeless shoulder. I headed straight up for about 100 feet and then crossed a creek and continued straight up the next shoulder over. At the top of this section, you are almost at treeline and in a very large, relatively low incline area (I call the football field) that heads straight for Citadel's face. Walking here is easy, you keep the cliff bands below Bethel on your right and walk right up the middle until you once again see an obvious trail lookers right heading up to the saddle between The Citadel and Bethel. It took me an hour to get from the trailhead to this trail and another 15 minutes to fully gain the shoulder. The is looking down the ridge between The Citadel and Bethel

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This is the view into Herman Gulch from the ridge between The Citadel and Bethel.

Once on the ridge, head straight up and trail snakes through some fun rocky sections with amazing views of the ridge between The Citadel and Pettingell Peak which makes up the cirque above Herman Gulch. 18685_0318685_04

There was still some snow up high, but nothing that required any traction and for the most part, you could just navigate around it. Above the snow field pictured here, there is an obvious flat ridgeline at just over 13,000' that walks over to the final gully climbs for the summits of Citadel. 18685_05

This is where I don't think there was been enough written on the route. There are a few gullies that head up to the summits. However, the most commonly climbed and from my experience, safest choice was the third gully that I could see from the ridge. There was a snowfield in front of me now and had I traversed all the way around it and then headed for the gully that went up just after it, I would have had an easier climb. This is the gully you want to aim for. It's much wider than the other two that you can see and the rock on the left side of it is really solid. Here are a couple of shots of what I ended up climbing, much steeper and though the photos don't show it, more exposed. It was fun and the rock was mostly good, but I don't recommend it. 18685_0618685_07

And here's a shot looking back down at the ridge I climbed up to get to the gully that I climbed. 18685_08

If you choose the correct gully, this is a really straightforward summit. I would want a helmet for it no matter what, but when I did downclimb the correct gully, it was very easy, low class 4. After you get the summits and downclimb the correct gully, you just need to head right down the talus field towards the obvious ridge to Hagar. It took me just under 2 hours from the trailhead to the summits of Citadel. That blocky looking summit in the middle of the photo is Hagar. 18685_09

When you get through the Talus, a trail appears that takes you through some rocks and is generally class 2 and 3. The fun starts when you get much close to the summit on the ridge. And you get a nice view back to The Citadel and Pettingell the entire time:

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There are short class 4 sections along the ridge on your way to Hagar but only one of them felt exposed to me. Here's a shot when you're getting closer:

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Here's a shot of one of the class four sections from the bottom and then another from the top looking down at it. The rock was great:

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My favorite part of the route was what I felt was also the most exposed. There is a very short knife edge ridge as you get close to the summit of Hagar. On the lookers right side you have really solid places for your feet and easy places for your hands, but it also drops off hundreds of feet below you. On the lookers left slide it is sloping rock for your feet but a much shorter drop. You can also head down below it and skip the entire section if you want. I chose the lookers right side and it was awesome. Just a few quick steps and you're on the other side. The photo is looking back at it after I was on the other side. In this shot, I went around the lookers left side of the ridge.

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Here's another view of the ridge from a bit further away. You are looking directly at the side I chose.

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And then you can just walk up to the summit. It took me 45 minutes from the summit of Citadel to the summit of Hagar.

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Looking back at Hagar from a little further down.

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After the summit I continued down the ridge towards Golden Bear and looking for a place to descend back down to the valley. There are a ton of options here and it really just depends on how short you want your walk out to be. I headed down and contoured the lower slopes of Hagar and The Citadel all the way around until I was back on the football field again below Citadel's south face. It took an hour from the summit of Hagar to get back to the football field. I then just retraced my steps back to the trailhead.

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The photo below is looking at the south ridge of Citadel, behind it would be Hagar. After descending Hagar and contouring around this ridge, you end up back on the football field (where this photo is taken from).

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Total travel time: 4:25

Elevation gained: 3,255

Distance: 6.97 miles




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