Chief Mountain 13,014
Hossick BM 12,967
June 15, 2013
~29.0 Miles, ~7,600 Gain
TH: Squaw Creek TH, 2WD (~5-5.5 hours from Denver)
Max difficulty: Class 3.
Mid June weather is great and after some thinking while climbing the “Baldy Lejos” loop, I decided to change my day two plans. Originally, I wanted to do South River as a day trip on day two but decided to leave that long, but easier day, for my third and last day.
After completing the “Baldy Lejos” loop, I made the short drive from Creede to the Thirty Mile Campground. I ended up going to bed at 7:00 PM just outside of the campground. Tired, I woke up at 1:20 AM, made breakfast and the short drive to Thirty Mile Campground/Squaw Creek trailhead.
Quiet, dark and still, I started hiking up Squaw Creek trail at 1:50 AM. ~2 miles up the Squaw Creek trail, I hit my junction for the Fern Creek trail. Being dark and tired, and at times, the trail was hard to follow; particularly in the grassy areas. During the day, I am sure the trail would be easy to navigate. I prefer to do as little thinking as possible at 2-3 AM.
I lost the trail around ~11,800 and started my trek south towards Chief Mountain cursing at a few willow patches along the way. Chief Mountain's grassy north slopes were mellow until I reached the the first false summit ~0.6 miles short of the summit. During my ascent, I ran into a heard of elk that climbed toward the summit.
North ridge of Chief Mountain.
As the sun started to rise, I encountered two baby elk on the ridge crest creating a surreal moment. Their mothers were close and not to disturb them, I descended off of the west side of the ridge and continued to the true summit. Solid class 2 slopes led me to the true summit of Chief Mountain where I arrived at 6:35 AM. Whew, that was a long dark approach.
Baby elk. The mother can be seen on the lower right.
Baby elk with the sunrise.
Baby elk with the sunrise near the summit of Chief Mountain.
True summit of Chief Mountain.
Hossick BM and 13,010 from the summit of Chief Mountain.
Easy ground guided me off of the south ridge of Chief Mountain as I headed towards Point 12,620. I hiked on the west side of Point 12,404 to avoid extra gain. A short notch in the ridge between 12,404 and 12,620 had to be bypassed which was easily done on the south side of the ridge. The blocky class 2 east ridge led me to the summit of 12,620 where I arrived at 7:35 AM.
Grassy south slopes of Chief Mountain.
Chief Mountain from the summit of 12,620.
Looking at Point 12,620.
When I returned to the south side of 12,404 after climbing 12,620, I contemplated my options for climbing over to Point 13,010. The best option was to intercept the Continental Divide trail and follow the trail to Squaw Pass and then to the east side of 13,010 and Hossick. Descending towards Squaw Creek to intercept the trail, I encountered some miserable willows.
Squaw Creek basin.
Once on the trail, I was able to rack up the miles quicker. As I made my way to the lakes southeast of Point 13,010, I saw a possible option to gain the 13,010-Hossick saddle. From the upper lake, I climbed up some grassy class 3 scrambling to gain the saddle. From the saddle, I climbed up Hossick's class 2 northwest ridge to the summit where I arrived at 10:35 AM.
Working my way up the Continental Divide trail with Hossick BM and 13,010.
One of the lower lakes southeast of 13,010.
Route to the Hossick-13,010 saddle.
Class 3 action to gain the saddle.
Looking down the class 3 section.
Looking up the ridge towards Hossick.
Neat 12ers from the summit of Hossick.
I returned to the Hossick-13,010 saddle and climbed up 13,010's class 2 southeast ridge arriving on the summit at 11:15 AM. Thinking about how far away the trailhead was from my current location was a bit depressing.
Southeast ridge of 13,010.
Hossick from the southeast ridge of 13,010.
Hossick from the summit of 13,010.
Dead baby elk near the summit of 13,010.
Although not difficult, 13,010's northwest ridge was a time consuming venture towards Point 12,940. The southeast ridge of 12,940 was mostly grassy except for the last 200 feet which was on talus. I arrived on the summit of 12,940 at 12:15 PM.
Somewhat long time consuming north ridge of 13,010.
Southeast ridge of 12,940.
Point 13,010 from the summit of 12,940.
Picking up in speed, the wind became annoying. I descended 12,940's class 2, talus northeast ridge where I re-intercepted the Continental Divide trail. My enjoyment of the trail was short-lived as I left the trail and made the short trek to Point 12,860's summit where I arrived at 1:00 PM.
Talus northeast ridge of 12,940.
Gentle slopes to the summit of 12,860.
Considering my mileage, gain and summits for the day, I felt satisfied as I originally planned on adding Point 12,300, 12,334 and 12,045; however, that would orphan Point 12,505. Also, I wanted to save some Wheaties for my South River day trip which was going to be another +20 mile day.
Without much thought, I continued to follow the Continental Divide trail south but with further review of the topo, I figured out that the Squaw Lake trail was already behind me. I traversed back southwest to intercept the Squaw Lake trail.
Squaw Lake descending off of 12,860.
Not exactly a picnic, the Squaw Lake trail seemed to drag on forever with switchbacks as it headed east back towards the Squaw Creek trail. Eventually, I regained the Squaw Creek trail, hiked north and went on autopilot back to the car where I arrived 4:30 PM. Feeling satisfied, I was a bit worried about my South River day trip.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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