Dan, Shadow and I hit the hill outside of Cherry Creek at 8:30AM sans snowshoes. It was a bit chilly at first, so the heat we generated as we climbed the steep sagebrush hill was welcome. As we progressed upward toward the sunshine we entered the moonscape that was the terrain after the Beaver Creek fire.
|Dan heading up the ridge|
We made quick time in gaining the first 1100 feet to reach point 6788 and could finally see our objective, Peak 8562, a few miles away. From here we followed the wide undulating “ridge” to the base of the peak alternating between solid snow and burned ground. With the charred surface, the going was relatively easy since we didn't have to watch our feet as we walked and chatted in the bright sunshine. All this time, Buttercup Mountain was looming on our left. I was drooling, wanting to climb it, but without an ice ax today wasn't going to be the day. Maybe I’ll head that way in a couple of weeks.
After four miles we reached the base of the peak and all that remained was the short 600 foot gain to the summit. As we grunted up this section a cold breeze from the north started picking up. The GPS read 11:45 and 5.25 miles.
The views from the summit were excellent. The Pioneers really stood out to the east as did the burned our drainages that surrounded us. The previous weeks hike up Newman Peak had us on the northern edge of the Beaver Creek fire; here we were on the southern edge close to 20 miles away.
|The view back to the truck|
|No sign of human occupation|
We huddled behind the summit cairn out of the wind for a quick lunch before dropping of the north side to make a small loop out of the trip. The descent path we chose provided some excellent views showing the destruction a large fire does to both the trees and land.
|Dan making his way slowly down to Cherry Creek. I glissaded the snow to the right.|
|Burned and blown out Cherry Creek|
We arrived back at the truck a little after 2:30 in good shape and headed to Fairfield where the burgers at the Wrangler were excellent!
Total distance was a little shy of 10 miles with over 3100 feet elevation gain.