Mosquito Peak is a summit along the Mosquito Pass divide that can be accessed from either the east or west side of Mosquito Pass. Using the road to the pass from either side, this summit is a Class 1 hike over mostly smaller scree and rubble. 4WD vehicles with excellent clearance can get you to the top of the pass from which Mosquito Peak is a 1.5 mile walk north up the ridge. Passenger vehicles will have to park at lower elevation and the hike will cover several miles from either side.
Mosquito Peak South Ridge Route
From I-70 at Copper Mountain, take State Highway 91 across Fremont Pass to Leadville. In Leadville, turn east onto East 7th Street from the "downtown" area which will become CR3 and drive to the vicinity of Diamond and Mountain Lakes. The road is well-maintained and easily passable for passenger cars up to about 11,200' near some old mines, after this point, it quickly becomes rough & rocky. Vehicles with higher clearance may be able to proceed further, depending on the driver's disposition. We suggest parking out of the way by driving on a spur road toward the Conley Lakes. See TH coordinates, or park where convenient or where the road begins to become even rougher before it begins its climb to the pass (approx. 12,000').
If attempting to 4-wheel all the way up the pass, the road is decently passable (although relentlessly rocky) in stock high-clearance 4x4s up to a switchback at 12,440'. The section of road between the two switchbacks located at 12,440' & 12,600' is the roughest section on this side of the pass. The switchback at 12,600' has deteriorated in recent years and, depending on current conditions, stock SUVs may scrape bottom a bit going over a few rocks here. We hiked this road in 2015 and saw a Ford F-150, Nissan XTerra, and stock Jeep Wrangler all navigate this section, but none did so without contacting rock on the undercarriage at some point. Past this point the road remains quite narrow with very few pull-offs, but the degree of difficulty relents a bit as it approaches the summit.
Also, after the last switchback, there is a spur road that heads off to the right and in a SSE direction to access some radio tower facilities. In 1989, it was possible to drive this road all the way to the central ridge and begin hiking from there. Current condition of that road is unknown.
Along CR 3, you may be able to find a place to park overnight, but be careful about Private Property all through this area.
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When we did this route in 1989, we were able to drive to the summit of Mosquito Pass in our Jeep Cherokee, however, mileage and elevation gain presented here will be measured from the suggested parking at the Conley Lakes for those who either do not have 4WD or do not want to put their vehicle through the rigors of the upper switchbacks of Mosquito Pass. We hiked over Kuss Peak on our way to Mosquito, Treasurevault, Tweto and Arkansas. The route we are presenting here will take hikers as far as Treasurevault.
From the vehicle park at or near the Conley Lakes, start walking east up the Mosquito Pass road or walk off the road on the side of your choice. The road soon becomes much rougher. The road leads toward a low pass just above 12,000 ft. where it begins gaining elevation more seriously. At 12,200 feet, the switchbacks begin. You could keep walking the road but it may be easier to get off and walk more directly east going up a mostly tundra & scree slope and bypassing the first three switchbacks. This way you can avoid the rubble on the road. It's probably best to intersect the road at the 4th switchback and at that point, follow it to the pass summit at 13,186 ft. From there, Kuss Peak is a simple stroll north up the ridge to the summit of Kuss Peak. The terrain is mostly scree, chiprock and smaller rubble and sparse tundra. At the summit, there is what we presume to be a communication facility of some sort. Please do not disturb any of the equipment and simply keep a safe distance away.
If you have no interest in doing Kuss, but want to bypass it to reach Mosquito, there's an old mining road that contours below the Kuss summit on the west side. When it forks, stay on the left/lower fork. The same road will lead to the Kuss/Mosquito saddle, and also continues north, contouring below Mosquito to the Mosquito/Treasurevault saddle. Following the road offers no better conditions than hiking the ridge as far as the rock is concerned.
From the summit of Kuss Peak, either continue on our suggested route to Mosquito and Treasurevault or return as you came.
Click thumbnail to view full-size photo + caption
Year Climbed: 1989
Mosquito Peak is the one ranked summit of the three summits located on the ridge directly north of Mosquito Pass, while both Treasurevault and Kuss are considered-"soft-rank" summits. These three summits are sequenced together. One-way mileage and elevation gain to Mosquito Peak are measured from the summit of Kuss Peak. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assume completion of the entire circuit.
This route description is about as simple as they get. First off, follow the route and trailhead description for Kuss Peak. From the summit of Kuss, simply walk north along the ridge losing nearly 300 feet in elevation to the Mosquito/Kuss saddle. The road down to the left (west) side of the saddle does not lead to the summit. Continue walking north along the ridge regaining 520 feet in elevation to the summit of Mosquito Peak. Traverse time should be under a half hour. The terrain continues to be sparse tundra with chiprock and small rubble mostly. Once done enjoying the summit view, either return as you came or continue on to Treasurevault Mtn. and even Mt. Tweto and Mt. Arkansas.
Alternate suggested route: Start from the east side of Mosquito Pass trailhead at 11,520 ft. Walk SW up the Mosquito Pass road to the saddle between London Mtn. and Kuss Peak. (Some stock 4WD vehicles may be able to drive to this point.) At the saddle, head up the east ridge of Kuss Peak all the way to the summit. Turn north at the summit and continue north over Mosquito Peak and Treasurevault Mtn. From Treasurevault, continue north on the ridge, then east, the a little north again. If only doing these three summits. drop NE into the large basin at the head of Mosquito Creek. Make sure you go far enough NE to avoid steeper terrain that drops off more directly to the east. Connect with the old roadbed in the upper basin (FR856) and follow it back down to the start. If continuing onto Tweto, just stay on the ridge heading NNE to the Rocky Tweto summit. For additional information regarding Tweto and Mt. Arkansas, see routes for those peaks.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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"The pleasure of risk is in the control needed to ride it with assurance so that what appears dangerous to the outsider is, to the participant, simply a matter of intelligence, skill, intuition, coordination - in a word, experience." Al Alvarez "A Test of Will"