While climbing Mt. Bierstadt over the weekend, we gazed back down at the Guanella Pass trailhead and beyond extensively. Grays and Torreys stand out very prominently and it was easy to recognize many other mountains as well, but Square Top Mountain really caught my eye. I’ve hiked quite a bit in the Front Range recently and had seen Square Top from several different angles, so I figured it was time for a proper introduction. A quick look on 14ers.com and I found it was seemingly straightforward to make a big loop with two more 13ers (Argentine Peak and Mt. Wilcox). The only obstacle was avoiding private property surrounding Naylor Lake on the way back, but more on that later.
The route up to Square Top from Guanella Pass seemed easy enough and I wasn’t concerned about finding a parking spot with my early weekday start. I parked at the upper lot and was the only car in sight.
Summit #1: Square Top Mtn. done! Here is a video from the summit, followed by some detail pictures. Class 1 all the way from Guanella Pass to the summit.
Here is a ridiculous video of me um, glissading down.
Well, that was a bit embarrassing! Remember when I said “Always mind the cornice!” I sort of forgot about that and the snow collapsed on my legs as I didn’t launch off the cornice enough. My shoe and leg get stuck, so I had to spin around and dig into the snow to stop my momentum from heading down the hill. Eventually, I decided to take off my shoe and dig it out since I was positioned at such a strange angle. If the conditions were just slightly different, I may have been sliding down the hill with only one shoe. The video may not make it look to steep, but I’m glad I could quickly laugh about my stupidity.
Here is a quick video from the Argentine Peak and Mt. Wilcox summits.
As I mentioned earlier, it might be better to head back over toward Argentine Peak from the top of Mt. Wilcox. Also, they may be a good way to cut out the road section without climbing back up Square Top, but this made for a great, challenging day!