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Peak(s):  South River Pk  -  13,148 feet
Point 12,683 - 12,683 feet
Point 12,487 - 12,487 feet
Post Date:  06/17/2013
Date Climbed:   06/16/2013
Posted By:  Furthermore

 A Long Single Orphan.      

South River Peak 13,148
Point 12,683
Point 12,487

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.

Neat sky.


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.

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

Tough 3 days Indeed     06/18/2013 02:20
South River looks like it holds more spice than I thought. I had this pegged as a 3-day winter excursion. Thoughts on how involved this may get that time of year?


Thanks     06/18/2013 12:49
I had this pegged as a summer backpack, and still do.
At least now, there's great beta.


Winter     06/18/2013 16:02
I think would be a huge undertaking. If the Ivy Creek Road is open in the winter it might be possible in 3 days. I think the hardest part would be climbing up to the valley where Goose Lake is located from Ivy Creek.

Climbing up the ridge and the valley would be safe. The final summit block might be interesting with the snow as well. Good snow would be required for that approach or it would be a hellish slog if it was waste deep trail breaking powder the entire way.

That would be a worthy and extraordinary trip though. I would love to know if you tried it!

Brian Thomas

first 14ers.com TR on this peak     06/20/2013 00:01
This is much appreciated, thank you for posting.

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