Father Dyer Peak and Crystal Peak via Father Dyer's East Ridge
2012 Colorado Mountaineering Club Pikes Peak Group Rock Scrambling Clinic
29 July 2012
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Trip Report

Father Dyer Peak (unranked 13,615') and Crystal Peak (13,852', CO #82) via Father Dyer's East Ridge
Date: 29 July 2012
Climbers:  Earl Jones (co-lead), Marian Avoy, Thomas Burk, Pam Carothers, Sharon Decker, Mark Hoffman, and me
Trailhead: Spruce Creek Road at 10,440'
Distance: 8.58 miles
Elevation gain: ~3560 feet
Time: 7:44 round trip

On Saturday, the seven of us plus Neil Butterfield practiced rock scrambling in Ute Valley Park for the instructional session of the CMC PPG's 2012 Rock Scrambling Clinic.  I co-led this clinic with Darin Baker last year.  Earl, my co-lead this year, co-led the clinic with Darin for its first offering in 2010.  Unfortunately Neil was not able to join us on our field session scrambling up Father Dyer Peak's East Ridge.

Our group drove up to Breckenridge Saturday evening with a quick stop at the Fairplay Subway for dinner.  Thanks to Darin and Earl's scouting trip the week before, we found good camp sites 10-20 yards south of Spruce Creek Road at the turn-off for the Crystal Lakes 4WD road.  We got our tents set up just before dark and an evening shower. 

Sunday morning the seven of us started hiking up the Crystal Lakes 4WD road at 5:48 am.  We reached Lower Crystal Lake at 7:20 am.  After some initial scrambling above the lake, we reached the start of Father Dyer's East Ridge at 8:15 am.  While some clouds were moving in early when we started the ridge, the sky became clearer as we climbed.  From 12,600' it was a fun Class 3 scramble with a bit of exposure here an there for 80 minutes and nearly 1000 feet up the ridge to the false summit at 13,560'.  All five students did great and reported enjoying the scrambling very much.  From the false summit it was about a 15 minute nearly level hike to Father Dyer's summit at 13,615.  On the summit we talked with three students from Colorado Springs who scrambled up the Mount Helen ridge just south of our ascent ridge and just north of Pacific Peak's long East Ridge which we climbed last year for the clinic.  The Mount Helen ridge sounds like a fun mostly Class 3 scramble with more exposure then Father Dyer's East Ridge. 

While Earl and Mark took a fairly direct route down to Upper Crystal Lake, the rest of us continued along the ridge to 13,852' Crystal Peak, Colorado's 82nd highest ranked summit.  The easy Class 2 traverse to Crystal took us a little over half an hour.  After some pictures and a lunch break, we headed down Crystal's northeast ridge and then picked up a trail down to Lower Crystal Lake at the saddle between Crystal Peak and Peak 10.  We met up with Earl and Mark on the Jeep road that leads to the upper lake and then hiked back to our camp site returning at 1:32 pm after 7 hours and 44 minutes of hiking. 

While a little shorter than this 8.5 mile round trip, last year's scramble up Pacific's East Ridge and hike back through McCullough Gulch took our group of eight 13 hours and 54 minutes - over 6 hours longer!  Granted, some of last year's added time was due to climbing and descending on snow and there was no snow on the route this year.  To get an earlier start on Father Dyer's East Ridge, camping high near Lower Crystal Lake (about 12,000') would be an option.  And for a strong group, scrambling up the Mount Helen ridge between these two ridges and then back down Father Dyer's East Ridge might be an interesting more challenging option.