Friday, September 12

Pistacio Cone

Centennial Cone is a JeffCo park that I like riding quite a bit and hiking to it's namesake summit has been on my list for a while now. Yesterday the weather was not all that nice so I decided that a lower peak would be a worthy objective. I packed my poles, some snacks and tea and headed out.
This was my first ride with flat pedals in a while as I didn't feel like hauling 2 pairs of shoes. It as strange but worked fine. At least I was able to hold off the Garmin Chipotle boys to the first summit on Golden Gate Canyon road. They were the only other non car people I saw the entire trip, must have been the fog and the rain?
25 miles of riding from my house up to over 8k feet I arrived at the park to this. The Cone wasn't even visible! Nevertheless I knew where it was located so I locked up my bike and headed off on foot stuffing my face with salted almonds on the way.
As I hiked, the clouds broke up a bit and my objective's lower slopes at least came into view.
I wanted to traverse the peak and also hike up pt.7850 within the park so I hiked around to the north side past the private property before I headed up.
There isn't really a trail but there are numerous game trails to help with the bushwhacking. Getting around snags and deadfall just required a circuitous route. Mostly I just stuck near the rocky areas and trudged on straight up the 1000 vertical feet or so from the main trail.
Eventually I came to this which happens to be where the summit lies. You might be able to find a walk up route but I just made a couple easy class 3 moves and went right over the rock.
There are actually 3 markers up here but this is the summit (8679 feet) and register. It's fun finding a register with years and years of people's names as opposed to the 14ers where there are like 2 weeks worth. Hiking remote and just not so well known peaks is a good time. Needless to say, I didn't see anyone else on my way up or down or on the way back to my bike.
There were a lot of ladybugs chilling in the rocks though. Dozens came out when I disturbed the summit register!
Funny the only part of the day I wore my rain jacket was sitting on the summit. Generally it was just misting all day, never really raining drops except then. Wool baselayer and a windshirt was fine on top, the new Patagucci Traverse pants (review coming a little later...) on bottom.
I had some tea and chilled out eating lunch. The views came in and out as the clouds willed.
Eventually all the food was gone so I decided I better get on with the rest of the day's plans. I began hiking off the opposite end of the Cone and made a bunch more class 3 moves down the rocks.
Lots of cool scrambling and even low 5th class climbing around but I mostly just headed down, tossing my trekking poles ahead of me when I needed my hands.
Self timer shot.
The flowers were hanging on but their time is coming sadly. They did brighten up the dreary weather.
Lots of these little yellow ones.
The park is open for hunting during a small part of the year and there was random scattered evidence of humans around but thankfully very little trash. Anything I found I took out with me.
Away from the Cone itself I stayed high on the contours and scrambled up the rocks for fun and on the lookout for anything else interesting. I did find evidence of black bears but nothing that indicated they'd been there recently. Very little berries around the park at this point.
My final objective, pt. 7850, lay a couple drainages away.
Down to Elk Creek which was running, small but steady, I then began the ascent of it's slopes, dodging cacti all the way up.
Bye bye Cone in the distance.
My only evidence of possible cats. This is high up on the ridge where people rarely go I'm sure.
One final shot of the Cone from pt. 7850.
I traversed the ridge and found the high point on some rocks in the middle.
From there I followed more game trails down to the Evening Sun trail. One more climb back to the parking lot and I found my bike. Hopped on, downed my reserve Clif Shot and pedaled the 25 miles back home. 6500 feet and 58 miles human powered is pretty good for a rainy day I guess.

3 comments:

Lummox said...

Nice post, great pictures. It's always amazing how differnent the view is from the top.

Marni said...

Congrats on making it to the top of the cone solo without worrying the wife!

Jeff Kerkove said...

Good stuff man!