While the named summit of Epaulet Mtn. on the USGS map shows an elevation of 13,523, another summit just east shows an elevation of 13,537 ft. per LIDAR. This summit has been named "Epaulie" and qualifies as the official high point. This is one of the easiest 13er summits you'll ever have the chance to climb. Basically a Class 1 hike from Summit lake that can be shortened even more by parking off the Mt. Evans road directly north of the Epaulet summit. Should be combined with Rosalie Peak for a more "sporting" day.
Epaulet/"Epaulie" from Mt. Evans Road Route
1.40 mi / 495' (One-Way)
From either Idaho Springs (Exit 240 on I-70) or Bergen Park, (Exit #252 to Evergreen Parkway from westbound I-70, then turn west onto the Squaw Pass Road), drive to Echo Lake on HWY 103 (aka: Squaw Pass Road in Bergen Park), then take the Mt. Evans Road (entrance fee required) and drive to Summit Lake where you can park. Use this parking for Grey Wolf, Spalding, Warren and Rogers. When driven from Bergen Park, this road does a lot of winding around and receives a lot of bicycle traffic in the summer, especially on weekends. A nice bike lane has been added to the older, more narrow portion of the road that has helped to alleviate some of the dangers posed by such a multiple use road.
For hiking to Epaulet/Epaulie and Rosalie, you can drive on up from Summit Lake, continuing on the Mt. Evans road for another 1.6 miles to a set of two switchbacks. From the first switchback, continue driving another .8 mile to the coordinates below where there's enough of a pullout on the south side of the road to park. If unable to park here, continue another few tenths of a mile to another switchback and park there where the road widens. Coordinates for the first pullout are N 39° 34' 46.00 W 105° 37' 54.00" 13,205 ft. elevation. If you can park here, it will save almost 2.5 miles of walking along the road or nearly 5 miles round-trip.
Designated National Forest campground at Echo Lake. Fee required.
Echo Lake ›
N 39° 39' 22.85", W 105° 35' 39.54"
Elevation 10,650 ft.
18 sites available
Click thumbnail to view full-size photo + caption
Year Climbed: 1996
Note: "Epaulie" is an unofficial name given to a point a half mile SE of the Epaulet Mountain summit that measures 13,530 ft., which is 7 feet higher than Epaulet, making Epaulie the official high point.
If parking at Summit Lake: From the parking area at Summit Lake, walk south parallel to the road and follow it as it turns SW, then W, after a couple switchbacks. Continue west along the road until you've reached the section of road above the broad saddle north of the Epaulet summit. There's a small turnout on the south side of the road where a car may be parked and the hike can begin here instead of Summit Lake. Coordinates for this spot are: N 39° 34' 46.00" W 105°37' 54.00". Mileage and elevation gain are measured from here. Begin hiking directly south over large, granite boulder-strewn, tundra terrain to the summit of Epaulet Mountain, gaining about 340 feet in the process. From the summit, walk SE a little over one half mile toward the "Epaulie" summit by losing about 150 feet, then gain the "Epaulie" summit which is about 7 feet higher than Epaulet, over similar terrain.
If doing Epaulie by this route, it would make good sense to go ahead and continue another 1.25 mile SE to the Rosalie summit. Then return as you came. See the Rosalie route description for further details. This would be a longer, but still very friendly "family" hike.
Alternate route from the west: For a more "sporting" climb of these two peaks, consider heading out of Denver on HWY285, through Bailey and turning north at Grant on CR62. Drive about 5 miles north to the "Abyss Lake" trailhead. Walk up that trail along Scott Gomer Creek to an elevation of 12,200 ft., where the trail for Abyss Lake turns abruptly from NE to NW. Depart the trail and hike toward the imposing cliffs that ring the east side of this valley. In those cliffs, there's actually a steep couloir that allows passage up to the saddle just north of Epaulet Mountain. From there, finish off the two summits as described in our route descriptions. This would be a very long day hike. It might work best as an overnight backpack. This area around Abyss Lake, Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans sees few visitors, comparatively speaking.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
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