Gray Wolf Mountain
› Gray Wolf South Flank
Gray Wolf Mountain is sequenced with Mount Spalding, an unranked 13er north of Mt. Evans. Gray Wolf ranks in the Top 200 summits. From the summit of Mt. Spalding, Gray Wolf is an easy Class 2 stroll across a wide and gentle basin that forms the head of the north fork of Scott Gomer Creek. All three route possibilities we provide for Spalding can lead to a quick trip from Spalding to Gray Wolf. All three routes are passenger car accessible. The route up Chicago Creek is the longest.
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. 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.
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
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We're offering two possible routes for Spalding; one very short and easy, the other much longer in mileage and considerably more elevation gain. In addition, we will mention yet a 3rd possibility. Mt. Spalding is actually an unranked summit because it does not meet the 300 foot rise criteria from the saddle that connects it to Mt. Evans. It makes good sense however, that if you're going for the ranked Gray Wolf Mtn., that you might want to include Spalding. Therefore, Spalding is sequenced with Gray Wolf on this site.
From the parking area for Summit Lake, simply walk on the pathway on the east side of the lake to the overlook of Chicago Creek and the Chicago Lakes far below. From the vicinity of the overlook, start walking west along the ridge crest. There will be a trail initially heading up through mostly tundra with embedded rock. The first 600 - 700 feet in elevation will be on that easier tundra/rock terrain. As you hike along the ridge crest, there will be impressive view opportunities looking down the various couloirs that break through the glaciated headwall of the Chicago Lakes valley. When you reach the highest of these couloirs where the ridge suddenly widens out, the terrain will change over to much more rocky with large granite boulders typical of this area to slow your progress some. Endure to the summit of Spaulding and admire the view of the mighty cirque that surrounds Summit Lake and the rugged north face of Mt. Evans. Return as you came or head on over to Gray Wolf. Most persons in relatively decent shape for peakbagging should be able to arrive at this summit in one hour or less from Summit Lake.
For other route and approach ideas for Spalding and surrounding peaks, see "Colorado's Thirteeners" by Gerry and Jennifer Roach.
Year Climbed: 1989
Gray Wolf Mountain is sequenced with Mt. Spalding. One way mileage and elevation gain are measured from the summit of Spalding. The route you choose to use to access Spalding will influence the overall round-trip mileage and elevation gain when Gray Wolf is included. Please be alert to those differences, however, with all three Spalding routes, the traverse over to Gray Wolf remains the same.
From the summit of Spalding, head directly north and downhill to cross the huge "playground" at the head of Scott Gomer Creek that lies between the two summits. Going down Spalding will be the most difficult part, there being mostly very rocky terrain, large boulders & rubble for the initial descent. As you near the Gray Wolf-Spalding saddle, the rock diminishes and the terrain changes over to mostly tundra with embedded rock. A nice relief. Begin your uphill hike from the saddle heading mostly north, then veering a little west to reach the summit which is still mostly tundra with embedded rock.
For the return, there are three possibilites depending on which Spalding route you followed. If your start point was Summit Lake, simply retrace your route back toward Spalding, but after reaching the saddle, stay close to the cliffs on the left (east) and contour over and down to the Spalding east ridge to avoid unnecessary elevation gain. (Unless you just want some extra exercise.) Follow the east ridge back down to Summit Lake.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
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