Escaping The Nutshell

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Coffintop-Deadman Loop

From Lyons, we headed up Colorado Hwy 7. After Deadman Gulch, the road turns to the right, then on the left there's a large gravel parking area. Driving past this, just after mile marker 28, there's a small gravel pulloff on the left that we parked at. The elevation here's about 5,740 feet. From this parking spot, there's a prominent rock on the west side of the road.

You can see the GPS tracks for this entire hike.

2013-02-02 Between Deadman Gulch and Coffintop Gulch, looking across canyon

2013-02-02 Between Deadman Gulch and Coffintop Gulch, looking across canyon

Because it's popular among rock climbers, there's a well worn trail on the west side of the road here, which we hiked up, starting at 11:00. Within a couple hundred feet, we passed by the mentioned prominent rock, and then came upon a tent and other signs of human habitation. A shirtless hermit who was sunning himself on a rock greeted us. He said he'd been living there since last summer. How he'd made it through the recent subzero cold snaps, we don't know.

After talking with the hermit for a few minutes, we continued up, ascending in a northwesterly direction. The first half mile or so was very rugged and steep, similar to last week's scramble off Big Elk Road. It finally got less steep and the terrain a bit easier, as we topped out on one knob (odometer 1.1 miles) and then another. The second knob at 7,630 feet was the high point of the hike, which we reached at 12:46 with the odometer at 1.3 miles. This area had recently burned, apparently from lightning. From here we could see a meadow to the northeast, which we were familiar with, and began our descent in that direction. The upper part of Coffintop Mountain was also visible from here.

Reaching the meadow, we followed a faded old road that began on its northeast side. The road traversed forest and a couple more meadows as it changed direction from northeast to east. Stopping for lunch near the northernmost point, I turned off the GPS, then forgot to turn it back on as we started again. This shows up on the GPS tracks as a straight segment on the northeast side of the loop. We generally followed the northeast ridge of Deadman Gulch until getting back to Hwy 7. From there it was about 0.7 miles along the highway back to our parking place.

We returned at 15:19, with the odometer at 4.5 miles (this is a very low estimate due to segments of no tracking). The elevation difference from parking spot to highest point was 1,891 feet.

GPS data
Place Name Elev [ft] Accuracy [ft] Position (lat,lon)
Parking off CO Hwy 7, just past mile marker 28 5,739 36 40.19445,-105.32985
First knob top 7,496 16 40.20079,-105.34617
Highest knob top 7,630 20 40.20210,-105.34846

© 2012-2013 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos

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