Jones Group - Jones Mtn (13860), "American Pk" (13806), Niagara Pk (13807)
Date: Sept 25, 2013
Burns Gulch 4WD (11640) - Roach's "American Pie" (28.15) in reverse
~3200' elevation gain
After the group trip to Jupiter Mtn, I decided to spend a few more days in the San Juans to hike a few more Centennials. I still have 15 or so remaining, so there were a few options. Since the San Juans had received a bit of snow a few days prior, I passed on the more difficult ones (Gladstone, Dallas) and decided upon the Jones Group and 13832 Group.
We enjoyed breakfast at Britt's parent's condo in Purgatory. After breakfast, the group split up, some heading back to the front range and a few others heading out on more hikes in the San Juans. It was a fairly quick drive up to Silverton. Loaded up on some fluids at the store and drove up towards Animas Forks.
I had a brief false start after crossing the river, realizing driving up steep grassy tracks probably wasn't the official road. Looks like someone was putting in a new road. After backing down the hill, I noticed a Stop Work order at the bottom. Guess someone wasn't following the building codes. The Burns Gulch shelf road was easy 4wd, but I did stop a little short of the summer TH due to some icy spots.
Jones Mtn from TH
I decided to head up the left valley. I'm not sure if one way is better than the other. You can follow the road system for the first half mile or so. Up in the basin, there was a bit of snow, up to knee deep, but nothing too difficult. Nice views of rocks on the left ridge. The final stretch up to the saddle was pretty loose scree/dirt.
Looking up left basin
It is a long ridge to "American Pk". Of course the high point is at the far side of the ridge. There are nice views down into American Basin and of Handies.
Long ridge to American Pk
Looking down into American Basin
Looking back at Jones and Niagara
Backtracked to the American/Jones saddle. The route up Jones Mtn looked a little intimidating at first, but it ended up being a fairly straightforward Class 2. The trail is solid and no rock scrambling was required.
Jones Pk from saddle
It was getting late in the day due to the late start, but the weather was pretty nice. No chance of electrical storms and not too much wind. So I continued over to Niagara. Once again the route looked a little stiff from a distance, but ended up being easy.
Looking over to Niagara
Looking back at easy descent from Jones
Looking down towards TH
I dropped down from the Niagara/Jones saddle and was able to follow a trail back down to the road system where the Xterra patiently awaited.
Drove back to Silverton and asked a local where to get a good burger. Went to Brown Bear Cafe. The burger tasted pretty good after the hike.
I was able to drive over Cinnamon Pass to the Silver Creek TH for the next day's hike. A little bit of snow on the road; not ready to close for the year just yet.