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.