Peak(s):  Dolores Pk  -  13,290 feet
Date Posted:  12/16/2018
Date Climbed:   11/12/2018
Author:  osprey
Additional Members:   Rob Schichtel
 Thrills, Chills, and Frostbite  

Rob and I drove up the West Fork of the Dolores road to the quaint resort of Dunton. Allow me to digress for a moment. Dunton was for sale in the early 1980's for, if failing memory is correct, about $100,000. I wanted to buy it but was paying 18% interest on my $50,000 mortgage for my first house and had not a shekel to spare. Dunton was sold to a Swiss group, I think, who developed it into a high class resort which now costs many shekels to stay. Story of my life, many dollars short and a day late.

From Dunton we turned onto FS 611 road the until we reached where Fish Creek comes down between Dolores Peak and Middle Peak. There is an unsigned road which goes a very short way up Fish Creek and stops in a large parking area. We started hiking at 0755 with temp of 3 degrees F. From the parking area we crossed Fish Creek and soon after turned right up an old trail which disappeared in the snow.

Dolores Peak (on the right) and Middle Peak (on the left with summit out of sight) looking frosty. Aim for the saddle between Dolores and Middle Peaks. 19215_10

Go though the forest on the east side of Fish Creek. 19215_18

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Looking down after getting above timberline. Fish Creek can be seen downhill on Rob's left side. We were in the creek bed intermittently on both the ascent and descent but, for reasons to be explained later, it is best not to stay in the creek bed but to be on the shoulder on Rob's right.19215_16

Looking up at the saddle. 19215_09

Rob almost to the saddle.19215_08

Upon reaching the saddle we were greeted with a view that relatively few ever see. It took a while for us to realize we were looking at the Wilson Group. The "Great Gates of Kiev" played in my mind. Kilpacker Basin is on the right and Navajo Basin is on the left under the clouds.19215_07

Turn right at the saddle and ascend the ridge. 19215_06

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osprey below the summit. 19215_03

Rob coming up the final ridge. 19215_02

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Rob on the summit. It was quiet cold. The wind was blowing and the wind chill was at least in the minus single digits. Rob had trouble with cold hands on most of the climb. It had taken us 5 hours and 10 minutes to go 3.8 miles from the trailhead to the summit. We were planning on also going for Middle Peak but felt it best to head back to the corral. 19215_01

On the way down we used the creek bed which turned out to be a mistake. Almost simultaneously I stepped into a snow hole and fell onto a rock landing heavily on my right elbow while Rob stepped into another hole and put his left foot into a pool of what was probably the only unfrozen water in the entire upper creek. Rob did not seem to be damaged but it took a while to extricate myself from the snow hole and then I had to hang my head between my knees for a few minutes until some faintness passed. We resumed our descent and reached the car within an hour. Neither of us seemed to be the worse for wear other than Rob's fingers were numb and tingly and my elbow had some scabs.

It was a surprise when Rob texted me later that night saying he was in the ER with frostbitten toes on the foot he had gotten wet. It was hard to believe that frostbite could develop within an hour of his wetting his foot .

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Epilogue

Rob was on injured reserve for 3 weeks off but has resumed pursuing the Frozen Arts.

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
glenmiz

Ouch!
12/16/2018 08:27
I'll be sure to steer clear of creek beds. Glad to hear Rob's okay and back in the saddle.


osprey
glenmiz
12/16/2018 08:53
Yes learn from our experience.


Rob Schichtel

Still a great day!
12/16/2018 09:07
It was a great day. It was my second major outing after a ten year break caused by a cycle of injury and depression that I couldnât seem to escape from. I was worried that Iâd loose a toe or two for a few days and even today I still have very sensitive toes and fingers. My fingers never suffered any visual changes, but definitely took a hit. One of my fingers later peeled as if sunburnt.


osprey
Rob Schichtel
12/16/2018 09:18
It was a great day and it is great to climb with you again. May we have many more adventures.


Jay521

Wow...
12/19/2018 16:14
Tough day, eh? Very, VERY nice report!


osprey
Jay521
12/19/2018 16:21
Thanks Jay. Appreciate your words. I also enjoy following your adventures via your reports. Your ascent of Pyramid was impressive. I hope to follow in your footsteps up Pyramid this summer.


marianne
Thanks,
03/31/2019 13:23
Great trip report , it will come in very handy as I'll attempt those peaks this spring (on the snow) I'll be careful, thanks for the heads up on the creek , yikes!! Glad you're okay!


osprey
marianne
03/31/2019 13:41
Thank you. It is a great climb with stunning views. You will enjoy it minus the creek bed.



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