Peak(s):  Dallas Pk  -  13,809 feet
Post Date:  08/16/2011
Date Climbed:   08/12/2011
Posted By:  Furthermore

 Al Does Dallas: A Centennial Finish!      

Dallas Peak 13,809

August 12, 2011
~10.5 Miles, ~5,000 Gain.
Trailhead: Blue Lakes TH (2WD)


Time for something different. Maybe good, probably bad. After a little digging around, I deciphered that an approach and a climb of Dallas from Blue Lakes was plausible. I met Al in Ridgeway at 5:45 PM on Thursday and we made the short drive to the Blue Lakes TH, where we found an excellent camping spot. As usual, the alarm went off early and we started up the Blue Lakes trail at 5:30 AM.

Luxurious as the trail was, it came to end when we reached Blue Lakes. We skirted around the west side of the lake and started our long ascent of the talus gully leading to the saddle at 12,974. I didn't mind the talus/scree but Al might have a different opinion. The last 200 feet to the saddle were hideous as loose rocks tumbled downwards like lethal missiles. I wouldn't recommend this ascent unless snow covered.

The talus gully from Blue Lakes.

Heading up the talus gully. (Photo by Al)

Al making his way up the talus gully.

Al making his way up the talus gully.

Al finishing the gully.

Gully with Sneffels.

Once at the saddle, we ascended west about 100 feet up a much more stable talus slope. At the top of this short talus slope, and for the first time, we laid our eyes on the summit tower. The tower appeared stout. Continuing onward towards the tower, the ridge became more stable with the typical San Juan “bedrock.”

The more “stable” east ridge.

First view of the summit block. (Photo by Al)

The next .6 miles of the east ridge was a ton of fun. We were not able to stay on the ridge directly as we followed ledges on the south side of the ridge towards the summit tower (class 2). As we climbed closer, we were able to examine our route to the final summit block which didn't look too bad.

Working our way to the summit tower. (Photo by Al)

Working our way to the summit tower. (Photo by Al)

The route to the summit tower.

From the saddle at 13,600, we followed a scree slope up for ~100 feet and then up a few class 3 ledges. After the short class 3 ledges, we encountered a larger cliff band which blocked easy access. We traversed west on a scree ledge for ~150-200 feet to the base of a steep couloir which still had some snow.

To bypass/climb this cliff band, we started up a short 50-75 foot class 4 section on solid rock towards the summit block. After the short class 4 section, we continued up a scree slope to the base of the summit tower. At the base of the tower, we geared up and started up a class 4 gully to reach the north face. I thought the moves up this section were a bit awkward. After reaching the north face, we descended on a ledge for ~30-50 feet to the summit pitch.

Reaching the saddle at ~13,600.

Al after the class 3 ledges.

Me starting up the first class 4 cliff band. (Photo by Al)

Al working his way up the class 4 cliff band.

The final push to the summit tower. (Photo by Al)

Summit tower. (Photo by Al)

I placed an anchor for Al where he belayed me as I started up the summit pitch. 15 feet up was the 5.3 crux. I placed a cam just before the crux and continued upward. After the crux, I felt the climbing was class 4 to the summit. Quickly, I set up an anchor and belayed Al up to his final centennial summit! A fine finish where we arrived on the summit at 11:45 AM.

Class 4 section to gain the north face. (Photo by Al)

Al climbing up the class 4 section to the north face.

Looking down the crux on the summit pitch.

Al towards the top of the summit pitch.

The final moves to finish the centennials.

Centennial completer!

We enjoyed Al's centennial finish for almost 45 minutes on the summit. The weather was good and the views were outstanding. I set up the rappel on the east side of the summit block with my 50M rope and I started down first. Al shortly followed and we picked up our gear and started on our way down. Making things more comfortable, we rappelled the class 4 cliff and band and continued back towards the saddle at 12,974.

Al on the rap off of the summit block.

Rapping the class 4 cliff band. (Photo by Al)

Al rapping the class 4 cliff band.

Heading down the talus slope from 12,974 was time consuming. Again, lots of loose rock which had to be approached with care. After reaching Blue Lakes it was an enjoyable hike back to the trailhead. To celebrate at camp, I gave Al a bottle of Glenlivet Scotch. A fine finish. Congratulations Al!!!

Starting the slow descent back to Blue Lakes.

Blue Lakes.

Route Map.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Great work!     08/17/2011 00:43
Congrats on an amazing accomplishment!

Jon Frohlich

Nice one!     08/17/2011 01:01
That's the first centennial finisher I've seen this year I think. Great TR and nice way to finish.

Brian C

Sweet!     08/17/2011 02:17
This is a great report. Nice photos and very helpful. Looks like a pretty sweet centennial to finish up on for Al. Love those San Juans!


Congrats to Al!     08/17/2011 02:24
Been following his progress for a while now... way to go! Nice report, too. Love that last shot of Blue Lakes.


Hats off to you, Al!     08/17/2011 02:38
Nice report, to boot.


Congrats!     08/17/2011 02:47
Great accomplishment!


Congrats!     08/17/2011 03:01
Those views look amazing


Wonderful report!     08/17/2011 03:26
Great views, and route description. I'll add it to my list!
Congrats on the finisher!

Shawnee Bob

Well done     08/17/2011 05:19
A Centennial finisher! Wow!


Bravo!     08/17/2011 14:34
Great photos and I love that you approached from Blue Lakes (you are a crafty one, aren't you Furthermore). 8) Congratulations, Al! Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Congrats!     08/17/2011 16:16
Nice finisher.


Kudos     08/17/2011 16:17
Major congrats to a well earned goal!


thanks Derek     08/17/2011 17:42
Thanks for posting Derek. Really great report.

Yes there was loose rocks and slag up from the lake but alls well as ends well.

I appreciate your assistance, the excellent single malt scotch and hopefully hiking some more peaks together (if you don't finish all the other 13ers too quickly).

Lizard Head here we come (yuk yuk).


Quick question...     08/17/2011 17:51
Do you two ever sleep? I'm serious...

Congratulations on the Top 100 finish, piper. I've enjoyed following your progress on this site. Well done.


Ditto.     08/18/2011 00:24
Great to see two solid climbers get together for a dynamite trip.

Lizard Head - Yes!

Go get it!!!


Answer.     08/18/2011 01:23
Al- I'm looking forward to many more climbs with you! I am really glad I was able to share your centennial finish with you.

Papillon - I sleep more than you might think.


AWESOME!     08/18/2011 05:28
Very nice job guys! I really appreciate the beta on this one - hoping to do it next year (any takers)?

Looks like a great climb!


Congratulations to Al!     08/19/2011 14:41
Congratulations on completing the Centennials - as always your pictures and commentary are great, and will prove useful to others yet to complete Dallas (me included).

Again, congratulations - it is an honor to count you as a partner on the two Elk centennials we climbed last year.

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