A good hike for Front Range peakbaggers that's mostly Class 2 with perhaps some Class 2+ along the summit ridge, depending on snow conditions. Combines nicely with Ervin Peak (UN13,531) for a half-day adventure in the popular Sawatch Range. 4WD helpful but not required - will reduce hiking by 2 miles.
Blaurock SSW Ridge Route
RT From North Fork Clear Creek - Winfield:
From Leadville, drive south a little over 19 miles on HWY 24 to the turnoff for Clear Creek Reservoir (CR390) and head west. The turn is less than 2 miles south of "Granite." From Buena Vista, drive north just under 15 miles to the same turnoff. Drive west on graded dirt road 11.7 miles to Winfield. As the road approaches Winfield, it will become a little more narrow and likely to have some potholes. Because of heavy use, this road is often washboarded badly.
From Winfield, turn right (north) and follow FR390A north, then west as it heads up the North Fork of Clear Creek. From the intersection in Winfield, it will be about .9 mile to the coordinates provided. We have not been on this segment of road in several years. It was not too bad when last on it and did not really require 4WD but good clearance vehicles would be best. In Gerry Roach's "Colorado's Fourteeners" book, he describes the road as "rough" from Winfield on and recommends 4WD.
All along the drive up the Clear Creek Road, there are at-large camp spots. Finding an unoccupied spot anywhere near Vicksburg or Winfield can be difficult on weekends. Be aware of private property. For the North Fork of Clear Creek, it is best to drive west, past Winfield and look for at-large campsites from about the location of the old cemetery and westward, up to the wilderness boundary.
Year Climbed: 1994
The climb of Mount Blaurock begins about a quarter mile after crossing Grey Copper Creek. Where the road is heading north, then swings back to the west, depart the road here and walk uphill through an open, grassy meadow. This open slope, as it ascends, will narrow to become a ridge that borders the west side of Grey Copper Creek and leads all the way to the SE summit ridge of Blaurock. For the most part, the slope and ridge are open all the way with areas of trees that can be avoided. Above the trees, the tundra-covered slope will gradually give way to increasingly small, broken rock (scree), but not difficult. This south facing route will be clear of snow earlier in the season, but higher up, there may be a snowbank along the edge of the ridge.
Once this SW ridge intersects the SE summit ridge, the difficulties will begin. Head NW along the ridge crest which will become rocky and fragmented. Earlier in the season, snow may fill the cracks and gullies that penetrate the ridge crest. If you find snow, you may have to negotiate the sharp crest of some corniced snowbanks at the head of a gully or two. This is where an ice axe could come in handy. There may also be one steep couloir you may need to drop down into (on the south side), possibly have to cross snow in it and then re-ascend to the ridge on steep, loose talus. All of this may slow your progress, but eventually, you'll gain the summit on the far east end of the ridge.
For the return, simply follow your ascent route back down for a total of 4 miles and about 3,000 feet of gain. Roundtrip can easily be done in a half day. But for more peakbagging opportunity, continue over to Ervin peak (UN13,531.) This will only add about 2 more hours to your day.
"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened." Billy Graham