Winter Summit of North Star Mountain

Breckenridge, Colorado

Details

Distance

7 miles

Elevation Gain

2500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Jeff Richards

North Star Mountain is a great workout and hike without the crowds of nearby 14ers. Get great views of surrounding peaks, including 14ers Quandary and Lincoln. You'll Scramble on a somewhat narrow ridge with exposure on both sides.

The route to North Star is a pretty straight forward one, yet still one that has a lot of room for error, especially in winter. The idea is to basically stay on a ridge the entire day, but there can be variations, and mistakes can be made.

Starting from the parking lot on top of Hoosier Pass, outside of Breckenridge, Colorado, take the only trail you possibly can, heading directly west. After about a quarter of a mile you will run right into a very well used sledding hill. From here you have a choice. You can go right on packed down trails made by other hikers, or you can go left on the obvious road, which will also be packed down. The road may seem to be the clear choice, but know that parts of this road are technically on private property, so be careful. If you choose the road option, follow it until you reach a gate with a "no trespassing" sign.

If you go to the right on the packed down hiker trail you again have two options. You can follow this trail/create your own around the hill you will find yourself on until you eventually meet up with the road and the previously mentioned gate, however, this is the route I least recommend. Instead, after about a quarter of a mile (or however long you care to go) you can find a solid path and cut straight up to join a wide ridge. If you do this, simply stay on the ridge, always heading up if you can, until you are forced to drop down off of it. When you do this, you will find yourself on the road facing the gate with the "no trespassing" sign. This may all seem complicated, but the important thing to remember is that there is almost no outcome in which you don't find yourself staring at the gate. I strongly recommend the ridge route as it does not require you to trespass, give you the most linear route to the start of the actual East Ridge, and avoids all avalanche slopes.

Once at the gate, continue through it if you wish, or for the law abiding citizens among us, go right, on the outside of the gate and up a moderately steep, broad slope.

From here, its all about going up. This broad slope (as well as the road should you disobey the sign and go through the gate) lead you straight onto the east ridge of North Star. This is the ridge you stay on until the end, and this is the ridge you come back on. It is nearly impossible to get lost once you've reached the ridge.

After a bit of hiking/scrambling/postholing up the ridge, you will see the end. But it isn't. Its a false summit, but it does signify that the end is near. From the false summit simply head east on the narrower, far more exposed ridge until you reach the true summit. I say far more exposed because the ridge to the false summit has absolutely no exposure.Once you've enjoyed the top, simply go straight back the way you came. If you manage to get lost, pull out a phone or compass and go due East.

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