08/30/2014 - Atlantic Peak (13,841 feet) and Pacific Peak (13,950 feet), Colorado

Headed back into the Tenmile Range for another day of peak bagging a couple more Centennial Peaks (Colorado Highest 100).  The  Tenmile Range is one of my favorites, having recently climbed Fletcher Mountain a few weeks ago, and of course having done the West Ridge of Quandary a few years back.   Ever since that climb, I've eyeballed Atlantic Peak and Pacific Peak, which sit only a few miles west of Quandary, and north of Fletcher (in which a super gnarly ridge connects Fletcher and Atlantic).

My goal today was to head up to the Copper Mountain area, take 91 toward Leadville but find the Mayflower Gulch trail head along the way.  From there I would go a couple miles in on a 4WD road up the abandoned Boston Mine.  This area provides access to the Western Ridges of both Atlantic Peak and Pacific Peak.  The "traditional" option from this direction is to climb the West Ridge of Pacific (Class 3), traverse to Atlantic and then descend down the West Ridge of Atlantic (Class 2).  Because I was solo, I opted to avoid the Class 3 route (would only do Class 3 and up with a partner for safety reasons).  I would go up the West Ridge of Atlantic, traverse to Pacific and then reclimb Atlantic.  More work, but safer for the solo climber.

I left Denver around 4:15 AM, stopped for a Starbucks Oatmeal @ 5AM in Idaho Springs, and made the trail head around 6:15AM. 

Parked at the "trail head".

The ruins of the Boston Mine.  The ridge you see on the left is the West Ridge of Atlantic.  The middle gnarly ridge is the Fletcher/Atlantic ridge.  Atlantic Peak separates the two ridges, but you can't see the summit from here.





Standing in the same spot as the picture above this, but turning directly left (North) is my route.  I would have to bushwhack to that treeline and area, pick up a trail and then loop up through the valley.

Heading up through the valley.  Pacific Peak (2nd peak of the day) is directly ahead.

Once I gain the western valley between Pacific Peak (pictured) and Atlantic Peak, I would swing south and climb up to Atlantic Peaks West Ridge.

Here is Atlantic Peaks West Ridge, roughly a 1.0 mile ridge line that is fairly exposed, but I would cruise that to the summit.

Small panorama of the valley.

Moving up the West Ridge, the sun peaks over between the two.

From the first "bump" on the ridge, looking back down into the valley.

Here you can see the ridge line behind me.

Fletcher Mountain (13,951 feet) and Drift Peak (unranked @ 13,900) are to the south. 

Halfway up the ridge, looking back.


Looking North at Pacific Peak.

Getting closer to the summit of Atlantic, looking back at Fletcher and Drift.



From the summit of Atlantic Peak, with Fletcher and Drift behind me.



The ridge between Fletcher and Atlantic.


14er Quandary Peak.  The toothed ridge line is the West Ridge route we took to the summit.

On the traverse north to Pacific Peak, about halfway from a bump along the ridge.

You go right by Pacific Tarn, which is the highest named lake in North America @ over 13,400 feet elevation.

From Pacific Tarn Lake looking back to Atlantic Peak.

Summit of Pacific Peak looking south to Atlantic Peak.  Fletcher and Drift Peak behind that, and even further are 14ers Lincoln and Bross. 

Quandary and Pacific Tarn from the summit of Pacific Peak.

Looking more north at another Centennial 13er, Crystal Peak.  



Once on Pacific Peak, I chatted with two guys who came up the West Ridge of Pacific for a few min.  I didn't stay long, and started the traverse back over to Atlantic.  Re-climbs suck, but it had to happen.



Heading back down the West Ridge of Atlantic, the sun was in full effect for better pictures of Fletcher Mountain and Drift Peak.

View of Pacific Peak from the descent off Atlantic. 

Back in the meadow, 10 min from the Jeep.
And finally, back at the Boston Mine. 


Total hiking time:  ~ 5 hours for the entire traverse. 


































08/24/2014 - Mount Edwards (13,850 feet), Colorado

Decided to get up early and knock out another Centennial Peak, this one being Mount Edwards (13,850 feet) located in Colorado's Front Range.  The Centennials are the highest 100 mountains in Colorado, which has Edwards clocking in at #83.

Mount Edwards sits on the ridge about 1.5 miles east of 14er Grays Peak, and being a 13er, is much less climbed than it's famous and extremely popular neighbor. 

There are a few ways to approach this peak.  I opted for driving up to the abandoned Waldorf Mine, located 5ish miles up a 4X4 road that is reachable from the drive up Guanella Pass in Georgetown.  At 4:30 AM I headed out from Denver, reached the turn off for the 4X4 road @ 5:30 and started the very slow drive in the Jeep to the mine.  The 5 miles took me ~55 min to drive up, and about the same to drive back down.  Total hike time to cover the ~4 miles and 2600ish elevation was 2.5 hours.

Nothing but blue skies today, however the wind was raging the entire way up and the temps were low 40's on the way up.  Not a whole lot of pictures due to how cold it was!  Once I got back into Denver is was it's usual 90 degree self.




Slow going, but as is the norm with getting into most of the high Colorado peaks.


Parked at the mine.  Behind me is the shoulder of  McClellan Mountain (13,587 feet), and unranked 13er.

Looking south, where I would walk down the continuing 4X4 road to a brook drainage, before turning due west.

Walking south for .1-.2 miles.


Once the drainage is reached (left) I essentially followed it due west.  The shoulder of Edwards is visible just right of center, hiding the actual summit.

Further in, still heading west.  I essentially climbed the surprisingly solid gully in the center until it reached the slopes.

Higher up the gully.
 
At the top of the gully, looking at the shoulder of Edwards.  I moved to the right (north) a bit and then skirted up the side.

Views of Grays Peak (right) and Ruby Mountain (left).  Ruby is a ranked 13er (13,277 feet) and checks in as the 419th highest peak in Colorado.  Yup, tons of mountains out here.

14ers Grays and Torreys Peak (right).

Looking North from the summit of Edwards to McLellen Mountain.

The summit canister of Edwards.





08/10/2014 - Fletcher Mountain (13,951 feet), Colorado

Sunday.

Ashley(new wife FYI) = Working a school program.

14ers = not happening without my 14er partner.


Instead, I decided to knock off a Centennial peak.  The Centennials are the highest 100 peaks in Colorado.  They consist of the 14er list, and then a number of 13ers.

I debated heading out in the early AM and doing either Mount Edwards or Fletcher Mountain.  I'd be going solo, so I wanted to keep it less than class 3, and to an area that I was pretty familiar with.  Fletcher was my top choice, but it was all dependent on the weather.  When I woke up at 3:30 AM, Fletcher looked great until noon or 1:00 - sounded perfect!

The route up Fletcher starts at the Blue Lake Trailhead - which happens to be the trailhead that Ashley and I did Quandary Peak via the West Ridge in 2012.  In fact, the majority of the route is the same with the exception of the direction you go when you actually reach the saddle between Fletcher and Quandary's West Ridge.

I hit the road at 4:25AM, got gas @ 4:30AM, a Starbucks in Idaho Springs at 5:00AM, drove through Breckenridge @ 6:00 AM, made it to the TH @ 6:30AM and was hiking @ 6:45AM.


Bombing up the Blue Lakes road to the dam.

Hitting the trail - it's easy to follow until essentially the "rust" gulley, from there it's straight talus hopping.

Reaching the first upper meadow.

Looking back to the east from the first upper meadow.

The route to the upper ridge in the distance.

The meadow has a ton of small pools of water and brooks running through it.

Typically you can climb the "rust" gulley up to the next level - however today it was still completely full of hard snow.  I checked it out, but without spikes I wouldn't risk it.  Instead, scramble up to the left.

Looking back east again, from a bit higher.


Looking up at 14er Quandary's west ridge area.

The summit of Fletcher Mountain finally shows.
Quick break before pushing up to the ridge.
Another look up at the West Ridge of Quandary.



Pushing up the Fletcher.  Looking east at the West Ridge and Quandary Peak.


Just about to the summit, looking South/SW.  Wheeler Mountain and Clinton Peak.



Signing the summit log - by the way, it's my Dad's Birthday today!

Solo today, so selfie time to send to the wife!
 
Looking SW along the ridge at "Drift Peak", and unranked 13er.

Looking North at Centennial Peaks Atlantic and Pacific.  Super gnarly ridge between Fletcher and Atlantic.





Another shot of Quandary from Fletcher summit.

Descending, final shot of the West Ridge with some new sun around Quandary.

Final shot once I hit the meadow before I truck it back out the last mile to the Jeep.