| Six Cinnamon Pass 13eeners.
August 23, 2010
~12.0 Miles, ~4,800 Gain
Staring TH: Top of Cinnamon Pass
Ending TH: Cooper Creek trailhead.
Things didn't start out good. My wife and I made an uneventful drive to Lake City and found an excellent campsite off of the Cinnamon Pass road. We woke up at 5:30 AM to the sound of rain so we went back to sleep and around 7:30 AM, we woke up again but now to cloudy skies. The weather forecast was to show improvement so I decided to give my peaks a try.
As we drove higher up the Cinnamon Pass road, we could see that higher terrain had received a lot of snow. When we reached the top of Cinnamon Pass and exited the car, we discovered we had a flat tire. The wind was cold and blowing so we backtracked about 100 yards back down the pass to a somewhat "flat" area to change the tire.
Now that the tire was changed after a 30 minute delay, I was on my way towards Wood Mountain around 9:00 AM which is much later than I like. As I climbed towards Wood Mountain, I found an old mining road which headed toward the Wood-Animals Forks saddle. The old mining road ended just short of the saddle and I climbed about 100 feet up snow covered talus towards the saddle. There was about 2 inches of fresh snow.
Animas Forks from Cinnamon
Wood Mountain from Cinnamon
When I got to the saddle, Animas Forks looked far away. I think the fresh snow and clouds around the peak played an illusion on me. I stayed high on the ridge heading west towards Point 13,708 and bypassed it by traversing on talus on its southeast side . The snow covered talus was atrocious as I arrived at the Point 13,708-Animas Forks saddle. Areas of the ridge had up to 6 inches of fresh snow. The ridge to the summit of Animas Forks from this vantage point looked difficult. I ditched my pack and worked my across the ridge.
Ridge to Point 13,708
Looking at the tougher section to Animas Forks
Ridge to Animas Forks.
There was nothing too difficult on the ridge, but I did have to take my time as the fresh snow made things slick and a fall or slip certainly wouldn't be good. I arrived on the summit of Animas Forks at 10:30 AM. The views were excellent with the fresh snow on the surrounding peaks with some dissipating clouds. I returned to my pack and worked my way back towards Wood Mountain.
Handies Peak and Cinnamon Pass from Animas Forks.
Looking toward Silverton
Looking down on the Animas Forks-Point 13,708 ridge
Ridge to Wood
When I reached the base of the west ridge of Wood Mountain, I had to make a tough decision. To climb or not to climb Gravel Mountain. The ridge between Wood Mountain and Gravel Mountain didn't look good. I felt things were going much slower due to the new snow and my route up Gravel was only going to be strenuous climbing on snow covered talus. I decided to bail on Gravel and continued up the west ridge of Wood Mountain.
West ridge on Wood Mountain
I arrived on the summit of Wood Mountain at 11:30 AM where things were starting to melt. From the summit of Wood, 13,427 looked far away. Despite the easy west ridge of Wood, descending off the east ridge of Wood Mountain was rough. About 200-300 yards below the summit, was a very junky section of ridge. Some class 3 moves were required and the rock was complete garbage. Pretty standard San Juan junk. Once I got below this junky section, I found another old mining road that skirted the south side of 13,427. Travel was fast once on the road as the road almost took me to the summit of 13,427 where I arrived at 12:30 AM.
Sunshine and Redcloud from Wood.
Looking back on the crappy section of Wood.
Old mining road up to 13,427.
Looking back on Wood.
Wood-Gravel ridge. Obviously doesn't go proper.
I took another short break and I was on my way towards 13,540. Travel was an easy class 2 stroll and I arrived on the summit of 13,540 at 1:20 PM. Off to C.T. Peak. As I descended the east ridge of 13,540, some scrambling sections were encountered and before I could reach the broad saddle of 13,540 and C.T, I had to some side-hilling on some extremely loose talus to avoid a short headwall on the ridge proper. Again, the pace picked up after I reached the saddle and I arrived on the summit of C.T. Peak around 2:40 AM. A lot of the snow that had fallen had already melted on the south facing slopes.
Closer shot of Redcloud and Sunshine.
Ridge down 13,540.
Junky section off of 13,540.
Looking back off of the east ridge of 13,540.
Easy stroll to C.T.
Uncompahgre peak from C.T.
Fortunately, from the summit of C.T, Gudy appeared much closer than any of the other peaks of the day. I traveled on easy class 2 terrain between the two peaks and arrived on the summit of Gudy at 3:30 PM. It is amazing how a couple of inches of fresh snow wore me out. Time to get my muscles in shape for winter. I left my pack at the C.T.-Gudy saddle, so I returned to the saddle and headed south downward towards Cooper Creek. I intercepted the Cooper Creek trail, enjoyed hiking through some prime aspens, and arrived at my car shuttle at 4:45 PM. My wife had an enjoyable day hiking Handies Peak. The fresh snow wore both of us out. The crazy part is that most of the snow had already melted!
Mellow ridge to Gudy.
Better look at Uncompahgre from Gudy.
Route. Photos taken the next day with much less snow.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):