From Point 13,795Posted On:
2020-10-18, By: supranihilestInfo:
The initial descent off Point 13,795 is on annoying talus. We knew the ridge between 13,795 and "Campbell Creek Peak" is a difficult and loose mess, so we tried to go south around all the towers on game trails but the slope was steep and extremely loose. We reascended to the ridge and discovered a faint game trail near a small bump of rock (prior to the nasty towers) that descended into Campbell Creek's basin. This trail was a godsend. We took it into the basin then crossed the basin on tundra and though a couple of boulderfields then took the middle trail (out of three, one on top of the other) up to "Campbell Creek Peak"'s southwest ridge. This avoided any scrambling, though the ascent was somewhat loose. The remaining hike to the summit was easy.
Here's where things went wrong. Instead of ascending to Point 13,795's north ridge and descending back into Grizzly Gulch (read up on how to do this! There is ample information.) we decided to descend Campbell Creek. Bad idea. Do not descend this way! It goes but man does it suck hard. The initial section through the basin is easy enough, then it starts to drop. There's thick stands of willows prior to the forest, and the forest is steep. We stayed mostly on the west side of the creek, descending steeply, until we were only a few hundred feet from the bottom and a couple of tenths of a mile from the road, then sort of got stuck. We tried crossing into a secondary drainage to the west and were met with basically vertical slopes running all the way to Lake Fork Gunnison River. No bueno. Same deal attempting to go directly to the road - cliffs hundreds of feet high. We tried crossing the creek and descending the slopes on the east side but they were covered in willows and avalanche debris and very steep, too steep to be safe. Descending the creek directly was not an option because it was raging and the rock smooth as glass. Numerous cliffs and slabs guarded the lower portion as well. We managed to find a steep descent on the western side of the creek below a waterfall, then took an exposed, gravel-covered ledge/slab to another steep descent (still on the creek's west side), which eventually relented into "just" a massive pile of avalanche debris. We crossed this and were fortunate to find a solid log across Lake Fork Gunnison River, then we hiked the road back. The lower portion of the creek was all very steep, rather exposed, and either covered in loose rock and/or avalanche debris. Several of the GPX tracks we had appeared to simply cross vertical cliffs. We aren't sure how. Research 13,795's north ridge descent as it's almost certainly a far better and safer way down, even taking into account the extra elevation gain you'll have to eat to get up and over it.