Peak 8332 and Peak 8422 from CO Hwy 7, 05/06/2005
We started at 11:32 from Hwy 7 just past mile marker 25, coming from Lyons, at a large gravel pullout (GPS: 6800 ft, acc 21 ft, 40.17086 105.37879).
From there, we crossed the highway, and headed north up a creek for maybe a hundred yards before beginning a steep ascent in a northwest direction up along a ridge. We reached a knob, then descended a few feet to a saddle point, and continued northwest less steeply now, until the slope flattened out more, and then we headed north to the summit of Peak 8332, reaching it at 12:45. GPS info at Peak 8332: 8406 ft, acc 17 ft, 40.17795 105.39156. The entire distance from Highway 7 to Peak 8332 was trackless pristine wilderness, but we were disappointed to find that Peak 8332 was within sight of both a camper and an unenclosed pit toilet.
We left Peak 8332 at 13:04, heading northeast, making a beeline toward Peak 8422. The distance between Peak 8322 and Peak 8422 is in an island of private land surrounded by national forest, and is littered with both abandoned and newer looking campers. We reached the summit of Peak 8422 at 13:30. GPS info at summit of Peak 8422: 8464 ft, acc 24 ft, 40.18403 105.37823. This summit was only slightly better than the previous peak. Luckily there were no campers or pit toilets within eyesight of the summit, but there was a "no hunting" sign that had been pulled down. This summit is forested with no views.
We left the summit of Peak 8422 at 13:35, heading southeast, and crossing a network of both old unused roads and roads currently in use, and seeing a few more campers/homesteads, before reaching an overlook (GPS info: 40.18115 105.37374, 8080 ft, acc 16 ft) where we could see St Vrain Creek and Hwy 7 in the distance, and where we took a picture. From this overlook we headed southwest along the rim of the canyon above St Vrain Creek, until we were almost exactly south of Peak 8422, where a ridge forms a more gradual descent to the St Vrain Creek below.
From this point we could see the St Vrain Creek and Hwy 7 (GPS info: 40.17969 105.37741, 8183 ft, acc 17 ft), and we began to descend along the ridge toward the creek. This ridge was nice terrain, much nicer than the way we began our ascent from the highway. A thunderstorm passed overhead, accompanied with a little rain, as we descended, but it soon left us, heading toward the plains. This ridge was also pristine, with no roads or trails. We stopped for lunch on the ridge at 14:46 (GPS info: 40.17244 105.37697 7115 ft) where we could see the highway, the creek, and a good view of the canyon walls on the other side of the creek. After lunch we headed east down to the creek where we had started our journey, and returned to the truck at about 15:30.
Elevation difference from lowest point to highest point: 8422 ft - 6800 ft = 1622 ft.
Time and elevation change from start to first peak: 1 hr 13 minutes, 1606 feet.
Total trip time: 3 hrs, 58 minutes.