Mt Trelease (12,470) and Mt Bethel (12,705)

27 Sep 2003 - by Douglas Cook

Sunday, Sept 27, 2003, Greg Olson, Kurt Wibbenmeyer, and I drove to the Dry Gulch trailhead and wandered up into the gulch to climb Mount Trelease and Mount Bethel. After years of looking at the elegant, pyramid shaped Trelease as you approach the Eisenhower tunnel heading west and noticing the rows of snowfences on Mt Bethel when returning through the Tunnel heading back to Denver, it was time to see the summits. Parking for Dry Gulch is on the frontage road after a quick 180 degree turn right after taking the exit for Loveland ski area and Loveland Pass. The road is gated - park on the shoulders and do not block the road/gate.

After hiking the road for nearly a mile, there's a well defined trail that parallels the gulch and stream. For Trelease, we hiked up the gulch to 11,000' and then cut off SW across the stream and up steep, grassy slopes to the wide, low angle slopes east of Trelease. A short distance further and we were on the large, flat grassy summit. Pretty plain - not the pointed summit I expected from the view from I-70! Elevation gain was 1785' in 2.75 miles. After a short break, we headed NE then north down a gully with steep slopes to the 11,800' contour and traversed west and then north along the contour toward Mt Hagar. After a long contour between 11,800-12,000' around the cirque, we worked our way up to the saddle between 12,438 and Mt Bethel. After another steep, calf-burner stretch we reached the summit of Bethel. A guide book shows dropping south down the steep slopes of Bethel and tying back into the Dry Creek trail. We decided to take the known route and retrace our steps to the saddle, and then drop back down to the trail. It was a very steep descent back to the saddle. Next visit I'll explore the southern slopes descent route.

We were treated to a beautiful, warm, mostly calm Indian Summer day. Our round trip time was 6 hr 20 minutes for 8.4 miles and 3,167.' An alternate, shorter route is to descend back down from Trelease to Dry Gulch and climb directly to the saddle NW of Bethel - round trip is shown by TOPO! as 6.6 miles and 3,653'.


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