- Date Hiked: March 20, 2005
- Miles Hiked: 7.5
- Elevation Gain: 2,895'
- Hiking Partner(s): Dan Robbins
- A Colorado Centennial Peak, Dyer Mountain is the
81st tallest in the state. We climbed the south ridge from the
turnoff for the ASARCO mine at 10,960' east of Leadville. The
south ridge was chosen to avoid the route finding difficulties of Dyer's
west ridge and bypass avalanche potential on the approach to the east
ridge. It took us 4.5 hours to ascend and 2.5 to descend after our
summit time. Snow shoes were required from early in the hike to
approximately 12,800' where we were able to climb on exposed rock and
wind blown snow. The final 300' to the summit provided an
enjoyable ridgeline scramble that was an excellent finish to the hike.
The south ridge route is not listed in Gerry Roach's "Colorado's
- I reconnected with a former climbing partner from
Idaho on this particular trip. Dan
was in town on vacation, so of course we thought it would be a good idea
to get out for a hike. The
forecast for Sunday looked miserable, but were itching to head to the
mountains and decided to go anyway.
We met at the Park-n-Ride near Morrison where the parking lot is
littered with broken glass. I
guess I should be grateful that I own a piece of junk for a vehicle.
The drive to Leadville went quickly and we soon found ourselves
at the turnoff for the ASARCO mine.
The winter closure on this road is at 10,960’, 1.7 miles and
560’ from the Lower Iowa Gulch Trailhead and 2.3 miles and 880’ from
the Upper Iowa Gulch Trailhead.
- We started up the road at 7:30 am.
The clouds were starting to break up, and it looked like the 50
percent chance of snow showers was not materializing.
It was a pleasant and easy approach with views of Ball, East
Ball, Dyer, West Dyer, Sheridan, West Sheridan, and of course the large
west face Mount Sherman ahead of us. By
staying on the trail and wearing snowshoes, we were able avoid
post-holing for the most part. When the sun was out, it became very warm and I hiked in a
soft shell with Dan down to a couple of base layer shirts.
- Once at the Upper Iowa Gulch Trailhead, our
leisurely stroll on a relatively flat trail ended abruptly.
The standard route to the east ridge continues into the Iowa
Amphitheater and gains the saddle between Gemini Peak and Dyer Mountain.
Roach’s description warns of avalanche hazard; therefore, we
turned northwest and began ascending Dyer’s southeast shoulder towards
the south ridge. We continued with snowshoes as the snow was slightly deeper
and the climbing became more steep and difficult.
- At around 12,800’, it appeared as though we
could utilize rock islands and removed our snowshoes. The scree and talus was tight on the frozen ground.
In sections where rock was unavailable, the snow proved to be
more wind-packed, consolidated, and easier to negotiate.
Post-holing occurred to a certain extent, but it was at an
acceptable level and we did not put our snowshoes back on.
We climbed strongly in this section making good progress through
rest-stepping. We gained
the ridge at 13,400’ where views of Gemini Peak and the Sawatch Range
presented themselves. Although
the wind was stronger on the south ridge, it remained tolerable as we
got our first reasonable look at the summit of Dyer Mountain.
- From this point on, we had a blast scrambling
along Dyer’s moderately exposed south ridge (2+) to the summit block.
I had added my shell layer and balaclava as we climbed, but the
summit was calm and provided a welcome retreat from the wind and climb. The
Sawatch Range was shrouded in clouds, but views of the local peaks were
excellent. We had lunch,
took some photos, and enjoyed our time on top before heading back down
to the valley floor. After
descending quickly to the Upper Iowa Gulch Trailhead, we began the
laborious hike back down the road.
- Click here
to view a 2D
map of the area where this hike is located.