Peak(s):  Coxcomb Pk  -  13,656 feet
"El Punto"  -  13,300 feet
"Heisshorn"  -  13,411 feet
PT 13,222 B  -  13,222 feet
Redcliff  -  13,642 feet
Date Posted:  09/12/2013
Date Climbed:   09/08/2013
Author:  Monster5
Additional Members:   Kylie, Boggy B
 Cimarron Summits  

Heisshorn, El Punto, 13340A, 13222B, 13377, 13206, Coxcomb, and Redcliff
September 7-8, 2013

Partners: Dale Earnhardt and Daisy (via Abe)
Resources: lordhelmut's, pkelley's, and furthermore's trip reports
Trailhead: Middle Fork Cimarron. Rough (3-4 washouts) 2wd
Day 1: ~13 mi, 6200 ft (first four peaks)
Day 2: ~12 mi, 4800 ft (last four)

Pictures: Assume half Boggy's, half Kylie's, and half mine. Might have to run the math through Excel one more time. Hint - Boggy and Kylie are no slouches in the picture department while I am relegated to a child-proof camera.


Colorado's Cimarron Range. Volcaniclastic remnant survivors of the state's more explosive past. A range to grow hair on a man's chest and on a woman's too, if you're into that sort of thing.

A grand place for views, but perhaps not for climbing. Not that there isn't anything to climb out there.

Our plan was simple, particularly when Boggy efficienc-izes it:

1) Kill the Batman.
2) From the Middle Fork Cimarron (MFC) TH, hike overnight gear to the Porphyry Junction (signed)
3) With lighter packs, cruise up the Middle Fork trail to the pass between Heisshorn and El Punto
4) Carefully pick our way through Heisshorn's class 3 NE ridge and return to the pass (avoid a sheep mobbing). Might not want to take the "class 3" part lightly
5) Hike over to El Punto and access it via the W gully and brief class 3 N ridge
6) Grassy tundra walk over to 13,340A
7) Scree scree more scree sketchy scramble 13,222B scree
8) Hike out grass/trail down Porphyry Basin to the junction
9) Don overnight packs and re-hike the MFC trail to a suitable camp around 11,450 ft.
10) Dream little tiger dreams
11) Wake up bright/dark and early, grassy ramps to 13,377 and 13,206.
12) Enjoy the sunrise. If it were not for sunrises and sunsets, I would likely never have picked up hiking and pursued a promising professional football linebacker career instead
13) Climb wishlist-for-three-years-running Coxcomb
14) Extend an already overly long list with trivial items
15) Slog around to Redcliff
16) Follow the Coxcomb trail down to the MFC trail and pack out

Worked perfectly. Minus rain. And scree.

The extents of my digi-mapping skills (unless you pay me monies and I GIS-wizard for you):

Day 1:

A 4:30 start allows us to just break treeline when the magic happens. Yes, yes, magic isn't real and SCIENCE and whatnot.

But sometimes, I think I believe.




At the pass, Heisshorn looms behind a gentle hill. By all accounts, that doesn't match the description and up we continue. Ah. Here we are.

Heisshorn is only class 3 with reasonable options and exposure. Mostly ridge proper with occasional drops of no more than 15 ft to the left/east. But don't let me sand bag it. Careful attention to the route is required and the wrong hold might be a widow maker. It's still the San Juans, after all.

The summit takes 4 hrs from the car, with some of that time spent dropping overnight gear. As a side note, combining Heisshorn with the nearby UN via the traverse appears 5.hard with big blocky choss.

We carefully downclimb the ridge and contour through the grassy hills to El Punto's W gully, skirting a sea of baaaaing sheep en route.

This is only the vanguard.


El Punto

Wetterhorn and Heisshorn

UN13377, Heisshorn, UN13206, Coxcomb, and Redcliff

We debate skirting hoodoos on El Punto's south ridge vs contouring below them. Either option appears miserable and we chose to skirt. It is miserable.

We take the prominent W gully that leads to a shoulder just north of the summit. This is followed by the loosest class 3 scramble of the day to a notch in the summit tower. An exposed scramble over to the unique and airy summit is required; careful of the small cars waiting to careen down the slope.

Upper route follows the gully beneath the perch


The down climb is a slow one-at-a-time-I-wouldn't-touch-that sort of affair. We skid down the gully and hook a right/north to continue on to 13,340A. Grassy slopes, sheep-views, and a minor cliff band to scramble down via an east side bypass.

And... uhh... I'll just leave this here for D_Baker's amusement.

13,340A has nice views, unsurprisingly. And a cool north face.

The summit register is quite familiar.

13,222B Doesn't look all that much higher than its northern neighbors, nor does it look particularly appealing. But it is a 13er and thus it must be climbed. We descend 13,304 towards the east and scree traverse across the connecting ridge until we hit the saddle north of 13,222. This, too, is miserable.

Climb 13,222's class 3+ N ridge via right/west bypasses and gullies. It isn't as bad as it looks.

We lounge on the summit, downclimb, enjoy a scree ski, and pick up the trail down the basin (N side of creek). Intermittent conversation with a couple bow hunters sees us back to our overnight cache and we grunt up the trail to a nice campsite at 11,450.
Tents are up just as the rain begins and the night is filled with its usual wonders - howling coyotes, bugling elk, thundering of the Foehn.

And rain. Relentless rain.

Perhaps Coxcomb isn't in the cards. Ahh well. If it is not, the prospect of yet another return and attempt suddenly doesn't seem so bad. But the Colorado weather is no longer a total stranger to us and our hopes remain high as we start the morning's climb under clouded prospects.

Hoping to hike 13,377 in the dark via the saddle with the other UN, we pick our way through talus by headlamp on a moonless night. In the dark, we don't realize grass ramps abound just below our tedious lurching. This costs us a bit of time, but we still make the summit, utilizing left/north side scree bypasses on the ridge (c2) by magic time.

And this one's no disappointment.



From 13,377, we contour west around and up 13,206. The Unnamed peaks' sole, and rather regal, purpose seems to be providing views of the surrounds: Coxcomb, Redcliff, Fortress, Precipice, Dunsinane, Turret Ridge, Heisshorn, El Punto, Wetterhorn, Uncompaghre, Dragon's Back, Wildhorse, Blackwall, and Matterhorn. A hard list of names. And beautiful, each and all.

From here, Coxcomb looms. The price of passage being the six peaks done thus far for the trip's genesis.

An ascending traverse left/south takes us to the southern slopes and a social trail eases the way to the gully splitting Coxcomb's formidable cliffs.

Not a single cairn is observed, lending to initial route confusion, but we're quickly back on track. The route begins as brief 4th class, followed by extended 3rd class, and capped by a few stretches of stiff 4th and possibly 5.0. The moves require stemming and chimneying: counter-pressure techniques that might seem foreign.



Stiff 4th - 5.0



The upper ridge is reached. Slender thoughts.

We reach the notch and it is surprisingly short. Perhaps 20-25 ft. A single 30 m is more than sufficient for both the rappel and a top rope on the return. The webbing looks good, but safety's always nice. Boggy rappels first with a backup, Kylie goes second with both a backup and a fireman ready, and I bring up the rear. Despite the aversion, they'll make good canyoneers someday.


The climb out of the notch towards the summit proper goes at exposed 3rd via the left/west. Perhaps a 4th class move to start. Quickly, the summit is reached. This one might be worth a repeat.




The clouds are building and our day isn't done, so we depart. The crux climb out of the notch on top rope goes at 5.2 with a single move of ~5.4. Since we had two 30 meter ropes, and since rappelling is fun, we opted to rappel the upper chimneys (65-70 ft), utilizing one of a few stations with good webbing. We selected a clean line with an easy pull descender's left/east of the ascent chimneys.

Naturally, Kylie shows us how it's done.



Rappelling the chimneys. Boggy backs the webbing up for us and goes last.


Boggy's line proves he's a future canyoneer:

A quick rest and the decision's made to drop low into a few basins, contouring around Coxcomb to the east via the Coxcomb trail and grassy slopes in order to reach Redcliff via the Coxcomb/Redcliff saddle. A few hundred more feet of gain overall, but significantly easier than contouring high on talus. At least we have views while we grunt out the class 1/2.


Boggy found the leavings of somebody's good time on the summit of Redcliff. The hardest part is figuring out how to hold it (No, this really is not his)


We descend Redcliff via the initial talus and grassy slopes back to the Coxcomb trail. Our tent is at the junction between the Coxcomb and MFC trails, which is convenient for packing out. At this point, I learned my first lesson in the Curious Pace of Kylie Hockenberry. She actually gets faster as a trip wears on, rather than the usual slower. Boggy and I basically jog trying to keep up, to the amusement of passing hunters.

All in all, the Cimarron Range is not the scramble destination of the Gore, nor does it have the snow lines of the Elks, the sweeping summits of the Weminuche, or the splendor of the Indian Peaks. But it does have an inherent and unique beauty of its own.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

 Comments or Questions

Porn Stars
09/12/2013 10:12
You uh....really hung it out there! Surrounded by some of the best mountain porn in the CO industry.
Boggy B(ig) will likely receive some calls. Although some may run away screaming.

Clever writing, once again Monster.
Great report, and fun to read.

I did that 13,206' as a sunset hike one year. Spectacular! You all have great style, keep it up!


09/12/2013 13:34
wait what's with the mt. powell summit register??? Hopefully no one forgot a sleeping bag or grew too much chest hair. Nice pics, makes me want to go down there and climb those (even though they're not as tall/cool as some of the 14ers down there).


09/12/2013 13:41
Awesome trip. Pic #13 is magical indeed!

Really nice.
09/12/2013 15:05
Pics, prose, and place--looks like a great trip and worth further investigation.

Brian Thomas

what a trip report should be
09/12/2013 15:51
Informative, entertaining, well written and photographed, a perfect balance of documenting the route and displaying your badassity (no sarcasm intended here). Bravo!


Sweet TR, thanks for writing it!
09/12/2013 16:00
To think you were considering not writing a are victim of your own success! Monster5 TR are becoming mandatory!

The Jedi is right about Pic #13. You might want to watermark it or something. Amazing!!!


09/12/2013 16:11
Heisshorn and Punto look and sound about as gnarly as I've been led to believe... the summit of the latter looks like it's staring you down ready to eat you alive in photo #10.

Stunning photos. Great action shots. And I dig the plaid shorts on Abe, they are very photogenic and obviously perfect for stemming.

Whenever you feel like repeating Coxcomb, give me and Papi a call...


Bar set high
09/12/2013 16:24
You guys are nuts. I love it. That's a ton of mileage and some insane climbing. Very well done

I loved pictures #13, #19, and #21


Heck yeah, Ryan!
09/12/2013 16:41
Definitely the way a TR should be. Congrats on all those summits. The Cimarron Range is still on my to-do list. Coxcomb looks lkek a lot of fun.

Boggy B

Killing the Batman
09/12/2013 19:14
was really the crux of the whole trip. I was a little nervous about the ”El Punto” photo-shoot but Ryan is easy to work with.


Must be NICE
09/12/2013 19:15
Going to the Cimarrons without a bunch of IPA-addled fools.
Great report, man. 5'6” rules!


09/12/2013 21:42
Just another day in the outdoors for you guys
Awesome trip ,photos and trip report!
You know how to get the most out of a weekend.


09/13/2013 01:09
ryan this is awesome! nice job

also reminds me of drier days...

AND 74 pics... YES!


great account
09/13/2013 19:18
Nice recap of a tutorial on how to spend a weekend in the northern San Juan Ryan. Glad my TR could be of some use. That junction you guys camped at is a sweet spot. I guess Heisshorn isn't as suicidal as I made it out to be in the grand scheme of things, but if it were more popular - there would be lots of fatalities. Drops 15 feet to the left and 1500 feet to the right. Fing exposed choss piles.

I think you nailed the Cimarron in the last paragraph


Great stuff!
09/16/2013 00:01
Image #13 is incredible. Coxcomb is one fun peak, looks like you guys did it up right. Cheers!


Thanks for the comments!
09/17/2013 15:57
Much appreciated.

Not entirely sure why there's a Gore Range guide up there. Seems like it could be put to better use elsewhere.

Pic 13 (good-lookin' Heisshorn sunrise) and the others mentioned are mostly Boggy's and some Kylie's.

The IPA-addled fools trip was actually pretty cool and the company was great. Dunsinane (the part we made it up) and Courthouse (one of my favorite peaks) would have been neglected orphans were it not for that trip.

Wooderson - I'd be honored to do Coxcomb with you and Papi just about whenever. Maybe not this weekend. But any other time.


Excellent report
09/18/2013 17:44
Thanks, Ryan, for the informative and humorous write up with the spectacular pictures. I am bummed I wasn't able to go along and if I can get to this next summer, I'll be consulting this report for itinerary and beta. (Like you, the middle Cimmarron will have then been on my radar for three years.)


04/02/2015 19:45
Umm, glad you've decided to write this up. The place looks magical. Nice map too!

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