Monday, July 17, 2006

High Esmerelda, Deroux Peak, Koppen Mt 7.17.06

After last weeks wonderful loop trip I was looking for another outing of similar nature. I managed to get an early start so I knew I would have the time required. I left the Deroux Campground with warmer than expected temps but nothing that was overbearing. I made quick work to last switchback at approx 5400ft where I found a climber's trail which was not easily followed. I merely took the path of least resistance to 6000ft where I dropped pack. The climber's trail becomes abit more defined higher up which helped speed up the ascent. I crested the ridge at a small saddle where I continued Westerly which is the highest point of the Esmerelda group of peaks. High Esmerelda comes in at #49 on the Back Court 100. I signed the summit register and drank in the splendid views. I quickly downclimbed and refound my pack. Instead of following my upclimb path I angled more westerly to rejoin the trail closer to Gallagher Head Lake. I stopped for lunch and let the hounds drink their fill. Both dogs had some overheating issues on the way up so I thought it prudent to keep them over hydrated. There was two others at the lake I just waved and was on my way for the day's next objective (Pt 6260). I followed the jeep road until it's end near 5600ft where I left it for the scree slopes that I hoped would take me all the way to the summit. I was a bit concerned about the last 100ft but I found an easy gully which popped me out just North of the Summit. I could see the Paris Creek trail below me in the basin which would have been an easy descent. I chose however to follow the ridge South to satisfy my curiosity. I was curious to see if this peak had the 400ft of prominence required to be included in the Back Court 100. It's elevation would rank it #69. I found an even 400ft with my altimeter and I rechecked it with my GPS and found it to be around 415 feet. I would be curious if my figures were off or it was just an ommission. I was concerned about the Paris Creek trail because I thought it would be seldomed used. I was relieved to both have running water in few spots and that it was free of brush and easy to follow. The area seems to get alot of horse traffic keeping it dusty and open. I passed a camp with some large tents, I didn't seem to me like there was anyone there. At the junction of the Deroux Spur I took this trail to the ridgeline and dropped pack near a nice campsite on the ridge. I then followed the Climber's trail 1200ft of elevation to Koppen Mt's summit. I signed the register and high tailed it back to my pack. I was running abit behind so I didn't want to stay too long. The balance of the trip went a little slower than I hoped but soon I was back to the truck.

Approx 18 miles 5000ft of climb 8.5 hours truck to truck

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