Mount Spalding is actually an unranked summit north of Mt. Evans that rises less then 300 feet from the saddle that connects it to Evans. Nevertheless, if you're cleaning out 13er summits around Mt. Evans, you'll likely want to go ahead and include Spalding and it's a very short hike from Summit Lake. Since you can drive to Summit Lake in most any passenger vehicle, the short, Class 2 or 2+ hike can be accomplished with no great difficulties. Spalding combines easily with Gray Wolf to the north. In addition, there's a much more interesting and "sporting" route for Spalding/Gray Wolf that involves a hike into a more isolated valley with some beautiful lakes to enjoy and the climb out of that valley can involve at least some brief Class 3 scrambling.
Mt. Spalding East Ridge Route
RT From Mt. Evans Road - Summit Lake:
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
Year Climbed: 1983
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 that will 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.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
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