Peak(s):  Monumental Pk  -  13,369 feet
PT 13,147  -  13,147 feet
Sewanee Pk  -  13,132 feet
Vulcan Mountain - 12973
Clover Mountain - 12955
Bald Mountain - 12856
Banana Mountain - 12339
Date Posted:  06/30/2014
Date Climbed:   06/24/2014
Author:  mennoguy
 A Trek Around the Middle Fork  

Monumental Peak 13369
Unnamed 13147
Sewanee Peak 13132 unranked
Vulcan Mountain 12973 unranked
Clover Mountain 12955 unranked
Bald Mountain 12856
Banana Mountain 12339

Trailhead Monarch Lodge
~14 miles 5800 feet
Max difficulty 2+

There are no trip reports on 14ers on 13147, I found one on LOJ. 13147 had been on my radar for some time because it would bring me closer to finishing the southern Sawatch and I had two previous botched attempts. The first was on my prior trip to Monumental, I could see the weather would not hold that day so I decided to go for Van Wirt instead. My second botched attempt was during the fall of that year when I climbed Taylor and Aetna, it was windy and 13147 looked far away. Today there would be no turning back, no failed attempts. I would climb perhaps the best collection of named peaks in the Sawatch. That was the other allure of this ridge romp, the names. Where else can you climb a banana and a Vulcan?

I did some reconnoissance from the Monarch ski area to preview snow conditions the day before, it looked pretty dry. So I decided to give it a go.

At 6:00 I left the trailhead and made the quick hike up FR 230. As I neared the boss lake trailhead I smelled bacon, and it was strong. At the trailhead I saw some Colorado Trail volunteers waking up to work on a rerouted section of the CT. I reached the end of the road at 7:15 and proceeded up the trail for 20 minutes. I crossed a major side creek and left the trail at 11,300 for the lush forest. My hope was to find a game trail to guide me to tree line, as luck would have it one appeared. I made quick progress to a bench at 12,200 where I took a break for nourishment.


My chair is destroyed

Oct 2011 at the chair


From there the route is fairly obvious. Go up the mixed slope of Talus and Tundra to the 12,650 foot saddle. There are bits and pieces of a trail to assist progress. I made it to the saddle at 8:45, great I'm making good time. Forward progress slowed to a crawl on the ridge, though not technically hard, enough of the boulders were of the teeter totter sort that can leave one with a concussion. It took me another 30 minutes to reach the summit.

View east from the saddle

Starting up the ridge

Looking down at the lower ridge

The remaining ridge

Summit block


I stayed for a short time before making the quick out and back from Sewanee. It was about a 45 minute side trip on the same type of terrain. The descent to Chalk Creek Pass was not terribly pleasant. From there I made quick work of the ridge to Monumental where I took a short water break at 10:50. Only one more difficult section before easy grass. The south ridge of Monumental is mostly stable talus, which by this point in the traverse I was getting tired of, so I was glad to be back on grass. I summited Vulcan at 11:20 and wasted no time climbing Clover.


overview of the route from Vulcan



The only unavoidable snow of the day occurred between Vulcan and Clover, it made for a short 100 foot glissade I topped out on Clover at 11:40, progress sure is faster on grass. I scared some bighorn near the summit, they went tearing down the slope, I wish I could move that fast. Mining activity in this area was heavy. I examined the Clover mine before traversing towards Bald. I intercepted the CDT 300 feet below the summit and ate lunch on this flat summit at 12:20.

Clover Mine


Looking back from Bald

Boss Lake

The Garfield quad is wrong in its placement of the CDT, it traverse the north slopes of Bald as illustrated on the trails illustrated 130 map. The quad shows it going to the saddle with Banana. I boogied down to Banana and touched the summit and talus hopped down to Boss Lake. The trail miles went fast and I arrived back at my car at 2:15.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

Nice Report!
07/01/2014 16:35
Thanks for the report. I've been thinking about this same hike for some time. I too was planning on doing 13,147 and instead turned north to Van wirt, etc. Did you park down at the highway or at the Boss Lake TH?

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