June 16, 2013
~22.8 Miles, ~5,100 Gain
TH: Ivy Creek TH at the Ivy Creek Campground, 2WD (4.5-5 hours from Denver)
Max difficulty: Class 2.
Driving from Squaw Creek trailhead to the Ivy Creek trailhead was quick. To my surprise, the Ivy Creek Campground does not charge so my camping plans were simplified. Getting to bed early was not a problem due to my long day with the 29 mile Squaw Creek circuit.
I woke up at 3:10 AM and was hiking up the well traveled Ivy Creek trail at 3:35 AM towards Goose Lake. The switchbacks leading up and up from Ivy Creek to Goose lake seemed to never end. Once at Goose Lake, I continued to follow the trail leading to Little Goose Lake and up then up to the 12,683-South River saddle.
Point 12,487 from Ivy Creek.
Morning sunrise from the never ending switchbacks.
Point 12,487 from Goose Lake.
Upper Goose Lake.
Looking back at Point 12,487 and Goose Lake from the 12,683-South River saddle.
A well established trail ascended the gentle east slopes of South River and traversed just 200 feet below the south side of the summit. Guarding the summit was a small cliff band which I was able ascend through some steep class 2 slopes. Three small summits are located on the summit massive and I climbed between the northern two summits up the eastern side of the summit massive. Without careful route finding, very loose class 3/4 scrambling can be found. As I neared the summit ridge, the rock became astonishing loose.
Point 12,683 from near the 12,683-South River saddle.
Good trail leading toward South River.
Loose class 2 up the summit massive on South River.
Arriving on the summit of South River at 8:40 AM, the views were hazy due to the fires. I descended my ascent route and followed the trail back to the 12,683-South River saddle. Climbing up 12,683's southwest, class 2 talus ridge, I arrived on the summit at 9:25 AM. Without a doubt, my body was feeling fatigued. Too bad I still had 10 miles back to the car.
Looking north from the summit of South River.
Fire to the south from the summit of South River.
My route up the final summit massive on South River.
Summit of South River.
Summit of South River.
South River from the summit Point 12,683
Returning to the trail at the 12,683-South River saddle, I followed the trail back to Little Goose Lake. I departed the trail and contoured at ~12,100 on the western edge of the Fisher Creek basin to the 12,487-South River Saddle. Decent game trails led me to the saddle where I followed 12,487's talus, class 2 southwest ridge to the summit where I arrived at 10:45 AM.
The southwest ridge of 12,487,
View of South River and 12,683 from the summit of 12,487.
To avoid extra miles and those never ending switchbacks, I decided to descend back towards Ivy Creek from the 12,487-South River Saddle. Expecting horrid talus, travel wasn't too bad as I descended back towards Ivy Creek. After a short marshy area and a little bushwhacking, I was back on the Ivy Creek trail heading back towards my car. The last 5 miles back to the car dragged on but I eventually arrived back at my car at 12:55 PM. A long but very satisfying 3 days in the San Juans; I can't argue with success.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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