(G & M: #461)
Note: If using the Loveland Pass USGS quad, it should be noted that the elevation mark of 13,195 ft. on the south end of the peak is not the actual summit/high point. You will need to follow the ridge crest NE some to reach the highest point. This can be seen if you examine the USGS map carefully where there is a closed 200 foot contour. This gives an extrapolated elevation for Hagar Mountain of 13,220 ft. Google Earth once again does a poor job of showing this. In fact, GE shows the highest point of elevation for Hagar to be near the 13,195 ft. marker.
Hagar Mountain is an easily accessed summit on the Continental Divide NNW of the Loveland Ski area and SW of The Citadel. The trailhead we propose is accessible by passenger car. Most of the hike is easy Class 2 with a brief summit ridge finish that most rate as Class 2+ but could involve a Class 3 move or so depending on how you choose to navigate the summit ridge. On this site, we have sequenced Hagar with UN13,010 (Golden Bear) for an easy half day romp.
Hagar Mountain South Ridge Route
If coming up I-70 from the Front Range, drive on through the tunnel. Get in the right hand lane while driving through. Immediately upon exiting the tunnel you will see an opportunity to exit the interstate on your right. Do so and drive over to an area where you can park out of the way of semi's and other vehicles. You will see a road that heads off to the east and goes up behind a building. Park near that road. It will serve as the beginning of your trail.
If coming from the west on I-70, just before arriving at the tunnel entrance, exit the interstate on your right and drive past some small building. The road you're on will climb up a little and circle above and around the tunnel entrance to bring you back down to the suggested parking area on the north side of the interstate.
There is no designated camping in the immediate area or for several miles around, neither is there any good primitive camping close by. For Front Range hikers, this will not be a problem. For western slope hikers, you may have to find whatever camping you can much farther away.
From UN 13010 A
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From the suggested parking area for the Eisenhower Tunnel west side, follow a roughly paved road east that turns to gravel and passes by a building on the north side. Continue following the road as it then turns north and heads up the valley. The road will soon terminate and become a double track, which soon reduces to a trail. The trail stays on the east side of the creek and passes through clumps of willows. There are numerous displays of Columbine along the way.
Follow the trail until it switchbacks at 11,880 feet. There is another trail that branches off here and heads generally north, then swings west to join the ridge above the valley on the west side. This path could be used to access Coon Hill if so desired. Otherwise, from the switchback, continue following the trail SE and east as it begins to gain elevation more seriously. The trail/old roadbed will turn south and then come to another switchback at 12,240 feet. Make the turn and walk to yet another switchback at 12,360 ft. At this point, we would suggest departing the trail and heading in a generally easterly direction to gain the ridge above. This ridge is also on the Continental Divide. Most of the gain will be on steeper, but easy to handle tundra. Once on the ridge, follow it north to the summit of Golden Bear. Along the way, you'll pass at least a couple of "humps" before arriving at the rather indistinguishable summit. You may encounter some patches of rocky rubble along the way, but most of the remaining hike is still on tundra. In low clouds, it may be difficult to ascertain if you've hiked to the highest point. You may want to check your GPS. As with most Front-range peaks, expect high winds.
For the trip back, while it is possible, we would not suggest a descent directly west, to intersect the trail you used earlier farther down because of some rough sections of rubble. It's best to walk back to the south before launching your descent. Otherwise, continue north on the Continental Divide to Hagar Mountain, passing over the tri-county high point along the way.
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Year Climbed: 2008
Hagar Mountain is sequenced with UN 13,010 (Golden Bear). One-way mileage and elevation gain are measured from the summit of GOlden Bear. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assume completion of the sequence.
From Golden Bear, begin the easy hiking traverse north along the crest of the Continental Divide. The trip to Hagar will involve hiking over six different "humps" which increase the overall elevation gain by several hundred feet, but the hiking is over mostly all tundra or brief sections of embedded rock and some areas of gravel. While heading this direction, you will cross over Tri-County Point, a notable place to attain for some who follow certain lists. We found the tundra wildflowers along the ridge to be very nice and saw lots of colorful campion and alpine Forget-Me-Not. The hike all the way to the Pt.13,195 indicated on the USGS map will go easily, but will enter a little more broken rock as you approach the point. Once at this false summit, proceed north along the summit ridge. The only thing of real interest is the final summit section of Hagar. It becomes a ridge of broken blocks of rock and necessitates a little scrambling. It also affords some nice photos with colorful, rock foregrounds and what appears to be spectacular drops and cliffs (at least from the cameras viewpoint.) The true summit is merely a high rocky point along the ridge crest. The little bit of scrambling and route finding you do to reach the summit will at least provide a small sense of accomplishment.
For those with enough time and fortitude, it's possible to continue north from Hagar along the ridge to The Citadel. Expect some Class 3 work to get there. We have referenced a link below that is helpful for heading that direction, but have not done that ridge section ourselves. For those who wish to call it a day, to return, simply reverse your summit ridge route back to easier terrain and go back to the Tri-County high point. From there, select a descent route back down into the basin above the west tunnel portal, re-connect with the trail used earlier to access Golden Bear and make the pleasant stroll back to your vehicle. In earlier season, the upper basin can be quite wet from runoff. You may even find some snow to play in so take an ice axe just in case. Wildflowers abound as well. There are numerous photographic opportunities. We completed the loop of these two summits in 2008 in about 4.5 hours.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous." Reinhold Messner