West Dyer Mountain & Ball Mountain (Traverse)

elevation: 3,976 m. & 3,749 m.  height gain: 775 m.
area: Leadville,Colorado,USA
map USGS 1:24,000 Mount Sherman,
        CO 39106B2

Ref: 14ers.com
great start of the day

Great start of the day!
Snowshoe trip: RT 5.25; 3.0 up. Following my trips in Buena Vista, I hung around Leadville until the weekend. Thursday's weather proved to be decent and I felt recovered enough for a trip up memory lane. I parked at the winter closure on the Mosquito Pass service road which leads to old mining roads and structures, I had visited this area last september on a rest day. The sun was already out when I left the trailhead. I walked the popular packed roads recognizing the buildings I had photographed. I felt nostalgic, how beautiful they were with snow. I carried on to the back of the draw and eventually left the packed trail. The snow was firm enough that I didn't require snowshoes. I climbed the northern ridge of West Dyer with little difficulty. The ridge walk to the summit was very pleasant despite the wind; again, multi-layered clouds framed the familiar mountains of the Mosquito and Sawatch Ranges. The traverse to the top was short and easy with Dyer Mountain towering to the east; I scrutinized Dyer's impressive west ridge, one of Tim's favorite local scrambles. Shortly thereafter, I carried on with my traverse along West Dyer's south-west ridge. A short jaunt led to the steep slope that would in turn deliver me to the saddle between West Dyer Mountain and diminutive Ball Mountain. Well, since I was there, I figured I might as well climb Ball Mountain too. I had a quick break at the saddle and strapped on the snowshoes to ascend Ball's steep pitch. I bet the climb didn't even take half an hour. I walked the very broad summit to the cairn before returning towards the old mining sites. I basically just picked a line down until I reached the road system below. The remainder of the hike was easy peasy and full of memories...

walking on firm snow

Walking on firm snow.

objective ahead

West Dyer with Dyer Mountain peering above.

mining structures

Some of the remaining structures of this mining site.

nearing west dyer's northern ridge

Nearing West Dyer's northern ridge.

on the ridge

On the ridge, windy but otherwise pleasant hiking.

northern part of the mosquito range

A glimpse towards the northern part of the Mosquito Range.

ball mountain

Ball Mountain and the Sawatch Range across the valley.

getting closer

Getting closer to West Dyer (right-center) with centennial 13er Dyer Mountain in the background.

view west

View west with Leadville, Turquoise Lake and some famous 14ers of the Sawatch Range.

top of west dyer mountain

 At the top, Dyer Mountain's difficult west ridge steals the show.

west dyer's south-west ridge

West Dyer's south-west ridge is also called East Ball Mountain.

mount sheridan

Mount Sheridan in the center.

looking back

Looking back at West Dyer and Dyer's impressive west ridge.

pleasant traverse

Pleasant traverse down the south-west ridge with Ball Mountain ahead.

ball mountain ahead

Diminutive Ball Mountain is still higher than most peaks in the Canadian Rockies!

ball's ascent slope

Ascending Ball Mountain only takes 20 minutes....

ball's flat summit

Cairn ahead on the flat summit.

view of mount sherman

Ball Mountain offers a view of Mount Sherman (left center).

view of west dyer's traverse

Looking back at the West Dyer traverse.

picking a line down

Just picking a line down.

mining buildings everywhere

Mining buildings are strewn everywhere.

back on the roads

Back on the roads I drove last september....
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