Papoose Mountain

March 27, 2022


Idaho Springs, CO

Papoose Mountain is rather just a “dumpster-dive” objective sandwiched between the much-better Chief Mountain and Squaw Mountain. The summit of this peak is forested and the peak does not even have 50 m prominence. The sole reason for me to ascend and claim this summit was the officially-named status. I did it as an add-on to Chief Mountain’s trip. I thought this would be a simple 10-minute stroll but I was very wrong.

Chief Mountain and Papoose Mountain. GPX DL

There was no notable tracks heading towards Papoose Mountain from Chief/Papoose saddle so I had to strap the snowshoes on. It does feel great to finally justify carrying the snowshoes on the hike. The snow condition was absolutely garbage from the beginning to the end with every step sinking at least knee deep into the isothermal crap. The only reason why I kept going was the promised short detour. The 300-m horizontal and 40-m elevation took me almost half an hour to wallow through. The summit was also not very clear so I traversed to a secondary high point just to be sure. None of the high points offered much in terms of views.

This is what Papoose Mtn. looks like from Chief/Papoose col
Breaking trail on my own…
Looking back towards Chief Mountain from the summit of Papoose Mountain
A glimpse of views towards Longs Peak way in the distance
There’s also a bit of views of Squaw Mountain
Me on the summit of Papoose Mountain

After snapping a few obligatory victory shots I immediately started the descent. There was additional post-holing on top of my tracks because on the descent I exerted more pressure onto the snowpack. Once I finally got back to the main trail I took off the snowshoes and leisurely walked back to the car. I immediately turned on the engine and drove straight down into Idaho Springs using the dirt roads above Warren Gulch. The Google Map directed me onto this road as I had no idea it was not even paved.

The trail-breaking was heavy and frustrating…
Almost back to Chief/Papoose saddle