Report by Steve Knapp:
Stoll Mountain (10,873)
Pulver Mountain (10,583)
“The Pulverizer” (10,380)
13 miles RT, 4500’ gain, 8 hours
From Topaz Road (8800’)
Partner: Brian Kalet
This is a fine group of rarely-climbed Park County 10ers nestled south of Highway 24 and north of Elevenmile Reservoir. They are entirely within the Pike National Forest. While they can be approached from the north, a southern route seemed to make more sense to get all five in one hike. We did the loop counterclockwise starting with 10350 and ending with 10069.
Brian and I met in Lone Tree and drove south on I-25, west on Hwy 24, west on CR-90 from Lake George, south on CR-92, north on CR-335, ending on Topaz Road. Drive time was about two hours, always quicker when the vehicle is piloted by Brian. We could have taken Hwy 285 into South Park as alternate. We ditched the vehicle in an empty area of Topaz Lane and started hiking north up the road towards the forest boundary. There are a few houses along this road, but had no problems leaving the road after about ¼ mile and heading upslope towards 10350.
We reached 10350 in a little over an hour. The weather was nice and would hold all day, partly cloudy with temps in the 20’s. From 10350 we headed NE towards a saddle and then NW on a long ridge with a few bumps to the top of Stoll. At nearly 11,000 feet it was cold up there so we didn’t linger long. There are some views from these summits, but they are well-forested so it was mainly hiking in the trees all day. There was little snow on the ground, ranging from a few inches on north slopes to nothing on south-facing slopes.
From the summit of Stoll we headed west up and around the west summit and then down the north ridge to Pulver. There’s a significant bump of maybe 200 vertical feet along the way. From Pulver it’s a quick jaunt NW to the Pulverizer. Then we continued west eventually down a steep slope, losing 1,000 feet to the saddle with 10069. An old road comes through here and is shown on the topo map. The road can’t be driven up from the south and probably not from the north either. It doesn’t seem to be used much if at all.
10069 was the last peak of the loop and my favorite of the day. While we were a little tired by now it was only 650’ gain from the saddle and it went quickly. There is a nice rocky summit with a bit of a scramble involved. The views into South Park and beyond are great. After this peak we retreated back to the road and hiked down the gulch about a mile to a fence where what we had just come through was signed private, but no houses nearby save for one old summer cabin. We continued south on the main dirt road and then contoured cross-country to the east to where we had parked. We finished about 3:30 p.m. which gave us time to hit two additional Park County peaks on the way back towards Lake George (9241 and 9137). 176/230 ranked peaks in Park County for me now, moving right along but still a long ways to go. This was a fun day. I didn’t bring my camera and don’t have any pictures, maybe Brian does.