Peak(s):  Jagged Mtn  -  13,824 feet
Date Posted:  08/26/2014
Date Climbed:   08/24/2014
Author:  mikefromcraig
 Jagged Mtn, don't believe the hype  

As the alarm sounded at 4:45 I slowly rolled over and started to imagine the long day ahead... oops, this isn't that kind of report.

So, my partner and I did what seems to be the standard strategy for Jagged, Take the 8:45 train from Durango and get dropped off at Neddleton at 11:15. Hike a little past jagged cabin the first day, camp, summit second day then hike down below Jagged cabin, camp, on the third day catch the train out.

BONUS: You can catch the train on the third day as it is traveling from Silverton to Durango at Needleton at around 3:30 and be in Durango after 6. What I did was catch that same train at 11:15 when it is on the way to Silverton. When it arrives at Silverton around 12:30 take your gear out and walk to the convenience store at the edge of Silverton and hitch a ride to Durango. I got to Durango at 2 and therefore saved over 4 hours!

So, about the hiking/climb, I say this mountain is overhyped because I was put under the impression that, because of its remoteness, the approach is mostly "bushwhacking." This is not true. You never go for more than 30 yards or so without being on a defined trail. The trail is no more obscure than some other centennial thirteeners.

As you are making your way from the saddle to the technical parts of the mountain it's a good idea to locate the colorful slings that make up the belay stations, this way you have a good idea of the route. The actual climbing part of the mountain is pretty straightforward, I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said.

I strongly suggest not doing this climb before August as it would be very difficult with melting snow.

Obviously someone in your group has to be able to free climb class five. And be able to do it when it gets slippery. But with all the belay stations you could have people in your group who can only competently climb class 3+ and you'd be fine (a stronger climber could free climb up and set up top-ropes) but if that was the case you would be on the mountain a while so weather could easily be an issue.

Without getting into why I'm commenting about this, ALWAYS TIE A KNOT AT THE END OF YOUR RAPPELS. There is no benefit to not doing so other than saving 5 seconds. People die every year because they get comfortable rappelling and just rappel off the end of the rope. It's easy to think "well I just pay attention to how much rope I have left and always stop before I get to the end" but that's the exact thing the people who die every year think. It's not that these people who die are somehow forgetful and we are so much smarter than them. People just make mistakes.

 Comments or Questions
Brian C

08/26/2014 21:59
I have to say this is the first time I've seen somebody complain about there not being enough bushwhacking!

I have to admit that I'm one of those people that never/rarely ties knots in the rappel lines. Unless I'm very unsure of the length or nervous about it, I will not as I trend toward the belief that forgetting to untie a knot after it's been pulled out of reach can cause terrible problems and happens on a regular basis. No doubt that rapping off the end would be an end-game in most circumstances, but that situation arises far less than stuck ropes. Extending the rappel for max control, tying a third-hand backup and vigilance should keep anybody from flying off the ends of the line (also knowing how to reascend if needed!). Don't get me wrong, safety is the absolute in my opinion on climbing and tying knots can save lives. But sometimes I think that some risk management strategies can create other problems as well.

Wow! I wrote way more than I thought I would! Sorry. Happen to have any photos of your climb?


True, but...
08/26/2014 22:47
Brian, I wouldn't say I was disappointed, just that I had planned on bushwhacking and was surprised that there was none. Plus, people thinking that there is bushwhacking could actually be harmful because if they get off trail they may just think, ”well, this must be the bushwhacking we were told about, let's just keep going.” as opposed to saying ”No, this isn't right, let's backtrack 50 yards and get back on trail.

Your comment about rappelling is kind of a catch 22. It's true that if you forget to untie the knot when you pull the rope through it will cause problems but if you are that forgetful you should definitely be tying knots at the end! Far better to have to re-climb a section or, at worse, lose a rope than fall off the end rappelling.

I have to admit I don't know exactly what a ”third hand backup” is. The only backup I've done wouldn't really help if you rappelled off the end.

Tie both ropes ends together
08/27/2014 02:09
Rather than tying a knot in each strand, tie both ends together in a single knot. This makes the nightmare scenario that Brian's concerned about much less possible.


08/27/2014 02:43
dhgold, good point. We were using a single 30m rope and rappelling off one strand (sure there's a term for that) so wouldn't have been an option in our case. Didn't want to try and free climb class 5 with my 70m strapped to my back.

I mentioned the issue to the owner of my local climbing gym (about not tying off the end) and his jaw dropped.

08/27/2014 03:24
Any snow on Jagged?


09/04/2014 21:17
Cocamper, I did Jagged from the Sunlight Creek approach last week. There was zero snow anywhere (except the stubborn variety that has hung on since last winter). Nothing that affects the climb in any way. That could certainly change day to day.


Don’t knot each rope end...
08/18/2015 03:12
... rather even up the ends and then tie a Figure–8 knot with both, similar to tying an 8 on a bight. You can’t rap off the end of the rope nor can you pull one end and have the knot jam as you can just pull the other end to pull the knot down. Simple.–eight–on–a–bight–variations/

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