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Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby emiller » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:35 pm

If you where making a trip to attempt these peaks, How many days would you plan on in mid August? I was thinking 2 o'clock train from Silverton on day one, 3 climbing days and one day for getting back to Silverton. I would think with a little luck that I could get 2 of the three goals done even with losing a day to weather. Then if things went really well on the last climbing day I could pack out back to the train. Thoughts or advice are appreciated, Thanks

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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby Floyd » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:50 pm

Train? 2 miles straight down on the way in and only 1,700 feet to get back up. I don't see the need for the train from Purgatory, so taking it to Elk Park definitely seems like overkill to me. Plus, without the train you'd have more flexibility to climb on your last day.

5 days would be a lot for only the Cents unless you were after the best routes on each mountain. If just peak bagging, then a conservative would be approach day 1, Trinities the 2nd, Vestal/Arrow the 3rd and then hike out the 4th. Bump Arrow to 4th morning if needed.
Last edited by Floyd on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby Vincopotamus » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:50 pm

If you want to take the train back to Silverton on the last climbing day, it might be tough to climb a peak, pack up camp and hike out to Elk Park by the time the train to Silverton goes by without a really early start. I think all of the trains to Silverton go by Elk Park before noon or early afternoon...? If you could work out logistics to take the train out to Durango, it'd be easier to climb, hike out and catch the train in time.
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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby emiller » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:05 pm

I would be driving to Colorado from Illinois so from a logistics standpoint getting to Durango doesn't really work out. After driving all day to get to the Denver area the 1st day I would think with an ealry start I could be in Silverton around 1pm. I think taking the train would be a cool way to start and end a trip, that's really the only reason I had considered it. Not being tied to a train schedule would defiantly give me more flexibility. The overall goal would be to get this group and move over and do the Wilson-El Diente traverse then head back to the flatlands.

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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby Papillon » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:12 pm

I definitely agree with Floyd regarding skipping the train to Elk Park. There is simply no need. I took the train in September 2010, dealt with shaky weather after Vestal, and almost didn't get Arrow. If we wouldn't have gotten Arrow, there was talk of getting it on our last day, hiking out to Molas and thumbing a ride to our car in Silverton.

Flexibility is a very nice thing in The Weminuche.

Day 1: Molas to Vestal Basin
Day 2: Vestal/Arrow
Day 3: Trinities
Day 4: Pack out or climb and pack out to Molas

edit: I think the train from Silverton drops you at Elk Park around 2:45 or 3:00 PM. You could easily start hiking from Molas around 1 or 2 PM and be standing in the same spot at the same time as the train would drop you, but have freedom.
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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby gdthomas » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:52 pm

Vincopotamus wrote:...I think all of the trains to Silverton go by Elk Park before noon or early afternoon...?...



This is basically correct. A look at the 2013 schedule shows 11:30a and 12:15p arivals into Silverton in mid-August. That means approximately 11:00a and 11:45a arrivals at Elk Park. As I recall, it took 2.5 - 3 hours to cover the 6+ miles from Vestal Basin to Elk Park on the return.

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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby Floyd » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:12 pm

emiller wrote:I think taking the train would be a cool way to start and end a trip, that's really the only reason I had considered it.


Give yourself and extra day and after you get done just "joyride" the train for a round-trip and reminisce on your experience. That, and hit the bar car for all it's worth. That way you get the best of both worlds.
"Athletes express themselves physically, this is their art. As an athlete, exhausting oneself on the field or or on the track or on the trail or on the mountain brings calm and satisfaction. Thrashing about… our expression." - Steve Gleason

Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:48 pm

Another vote for no train, just start at Molass Pass TH and your golden.

We were able to bang out all 5 in one day:

Wham ridge for Vestal, descended to Arrow-Vestal Saddle, went up the south face of Arrow (way sketchier climbing than Wham!), descended Vestal's standard and trudged below Wham and Vestal lake, went up W. trinities NW ridge (really awesome also) and made our way to East Trinity.

Sorry not trying to say this is for everyone, but just showing that it is possible. We started hiking from the pass around noon, set up camp like 200' vert directly below Vestal Lake.

I think its quite hard to link up Vestal and Arrow without getting into some gnalier climbing. If you are not doing Wham ridge, then really the only way is to go up Vestal's standard, descend it then go up the basin to Arrow-Vestal Saddle and take the standard up Vestals South face. A note here, gaining the saddle looks horrendous and a group readily shared this with us. Lots of loose dirt.

If you like anymore info I would be happy to provide you with some.
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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby Climbdent » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:31 pm

Hmm, coming from Ill I would def add in a weather day and maybe even two. I agree with the other guys that taking the Train is not worth the hassle. Unless you are some kind of Train aficionado, just do the hike. The hike from Molas Pass to Elk Park is very well switch backed and not at all bad. I strongly recommend doing the Wham ridge a mega classic route. The 5.4 rating is a bit of overkill - though there is some serious exposure. Coming from Ill Vestal and Arrow in a day might be a stretch unless you are in good climbing shape. Best of Luck

FYI - I saw two large Moose in Vestal basin grazing hope you are as lucky.

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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby emiller » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:12 pm

Lots of great advice so far thanks! I think all 5 in one day is way more than I could do. I really like the 4 day time table Papillion laid out. That seems like its in the realm of what I could do.

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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby emiller » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:33 pm

Where are the best campsites in Vestal Basin?

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Re: Arrow, Vestal and the Trinities?

Postby Grover » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:06 am

emiller- This is how I did it when I went into Vestal Basin to climb these five peaks. My trip took place at the very end of August (2009) and the weather was stable for me. Only on the Trinity Traverse was I forced to hustle to get off the peaks to avoid some storms in the area. Keep this in mind: If you get to the summit of Trinity Peak (the middle one) and are ready to launch to East Trinity (as part of the trifecta traverse), your quickest and safest way back down to Vestal Basin is up and over East Trinity. You won't know that until you get to Trinity Peak.

Day 1: Late afternoon train from Silverton to Elk Park whistle stop; hiked to the Beaver Ponds at 9980 ft.; setup camp for the duration of my stay (Personally, I prefer to hike/climb a greater distance with a lighter pack, so that is why I stopped here with my big bag and setup camp. I left each morning at 5:30am with my day pack and supplies for that day, knowing I would come back down to camp at the Beaver Ponds.)

Day 2: Hiked up into Vestal Basin; climbed Arrow Peak via Northeast Face; climbed down Arrow and went up the "Dues Collector" to the saddle connecting Arrow & Vestal; climbed up (the loose) South Face of Vestal; came back down the South Face and hiked back down to camp at the Beaver Ponds.

Day 3: Rest day. I slept in, hung out, watched the moose family walk around, filter water, etc.

Day 4: Hiked up into Vestal Basin; climbed the Three Trinities via the Trinity Traverse

Day 5: Hiked out to the Elk Park train stop; went to Silverton and ate a big hamburger at the Black Bear Cafe.

Regardless of what you decide to do, DO NOT try to cram these peaks into two days. This is one of the best backpacking trips in the state, so take time to enjoy the area and these special peaks.
-Grover

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