Lambertson Peak 13,209 (unranked)
Italian Mountain 13,378
American Flag Mountain 12,713
September 14, 2012
~8.3 Miles, ~3,400 Gain
TH: 4WD parking at the Star Mine end of CO 759 (~4 hour drive from Denver and 4WD mandatory)
Fine weather for afternoon ascents are hard to come across. My wife and I left Denver around 9 AM and made our drive towards the southeastern Elks. I met up with Al at the junction of CO742 and CO759 where we carpooled up the 4WD road towards Italian. The road wasn't too bad until the last mile where high clearance and 4WD were mandatory. We parked just short of the Star Mine gate at the junction for Cement Creek. Within no time we were geared up and hiking at 2:15 PM.
Italian from east of the Star Mine
At the road junction for Cement Creek, just before the Star Mine gate, we found an abandoned mine road heading north which we followed. At first the road headed north then west around a small pond north of the Star Mine. On the west side of the pond, we started up a grassy rib towards Lambertson Peak. To our surprise, we even found some resemblance of trail as we headed up the grassy rib.
Grassy rib up Lambertson.
Climbing upward, we intercepted the north ridge of Lambertson and followed the grassy north ridge to the summit where we arrived at 3:30 PM. Italian Mountain looked impressive from the summit where our stay was short. Our beta indicated class 3 scrambling to the summit of Italian from Lambertson but we only encountered large blocky class 2 climbing. Staying on the west side of the ridge made things easier. Staying on the ridge crest might involve some class 3 scrambling but the rock quality was somewhat questionable. We arrived on the summit of Italian Mountain at 3:50 PM where we took a longer break.
Al making his way up the grassy rib.
Upper portions of the grassy rib.
Star Mountain (tomorrows objective)
North ridge of Lambertson.
Making my way to the summit of Lambertson (Photo by Al)
Italian from Lambertson.
Billie Jean (Al's dog) leading the way up Italian (Photo by Al)
Castle and Star from the summit of Italian.
Al nearing the summit of Italian.
Both Al and I agreed that Italian was more Sawatch in nature than Elk. Our next objective was just south of Italian and we descended Italian's class 2 talus south ridge towards Point 12,830. At the Italian-12,830 saddle we ditched our packs and started up 12,830's class 2 talus north ridge where we arrived on the summit at 4:25 PM.
Point 12,830 from Italian's south ridge.
Neat rock on Italian's south ridge.
Al descedending Italian's south ridge.
More fall colors.
Italian's south ridge from Point 12,830.
Returning to the saddle, we grabbed our packs and headed east from the saddle. The descent in the valley towards the Stewart mine was steep. Once in the valley, it was an easy grassy hike towards the Italian-American Flag saddle. On the east side of the valley, we intercepted a 4WD road which we took to the Italian-American Flag saddle. From the saddle, we were able to follow the 4WD road to the summit of American Flag Mountain where we arrived at 5:45 PM. For Al, this might be his new favorite 12ver. Ok, maybe not.
Descending off of the Italian-12830 saddle looking back at Italian.
Al making his way up his new favorite 12er after sucking some dirt bike exhaust.
Nearing the summit of American Flag.
Rock on American Flag's summit.
Al and Billie Jean on the summit of American Flag.
Looking north from American Flag's summit.
Hiking back down the road, we followed the 4WD road back to where we parked and arrived back at the car at 6:20 PM. I didn't know the road went further than the Star Mine and with some more 4WD driving up the road, one could park at the Italian-American Flag saddle and make a super quick ascent of Italian via its class 2 east ridge.
Heading back to the car.
GPX from Al.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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