Peak(s):  Clinton Pk  -  13,857 feet
Traver Pk  -  13,852 feet
McNamee Pk  -  13,780 feet
Date Posted:  09/16/2015
Date Climbed:   09/05/2015
Author:  rob runkle
 Clinton, McNamee and Traver Peaks   


Early in August 2015, I was sitting at my desk working. I decided that I wanted to try to go back to Colorado one more time, and see if I could climb a couple centennial 13ers. This is probably the quickest trip I've ever planned. Once I got approval from the wife, I was online, I booked frequent flyer tickets, a rental car, and created a plan. I decided I was going to try to climb during Labor Day weekend 2015. I would go to Colorado for four days and see how many 13ers I could climb. When the trip finally came, I got off work late on Friday, drove to the airport, and waited for my flight. Unfortunately, thunderstorms in Ohio grounded my flight for an additional two hours. My flight finally left Cincinnati at 10:15 PM. When I arrived in Colorado, I picked up a couple for groceries and drove to the trail head. By time I got myself into my sleeping bag it was 3 am in the morning.

The next morning I got up around 6 am and hit the trail around 6:45. The first peaks that I would attempt would be Clinton and Traver Peaks. The first portion of the trail is very easy, pretty much just a mining road. Although it rained a little bit around 6 am in the morning, the skies were currently mostly clear, just a little bit of clouds. I hiked up into the basin at a pretty good pace. Eventually, after a few miles, the mining road ends at the lake.
At the end of the Mining Road - at the lake

From this point I was looking at my GPS and trying to figure out which direction to go. I chose to go pretty much hard left, straight up towards the slopes of what I believe to be Clinton Peak. This is the first point at which I really had to climb hard. I climbed up the slopes. I climbed up the rocks and basically tried to circumnavigate the base Clinton, clockwise. I pretty much knew where I was headed but didn't know exactly which route/gully I would take in order to ascend Clinton. At this point I had seen a couple other climbers, and I was trying to gain on them. I figured if I could catch up with some other climbers, as a group, we could make sure we're on the right path. I guess I was wrong. I caught up to the other climbers just as Clinton Peak started to come into to view. The other climbers were heading up at steep, nasty, loose gully. The gully looked like the right route to me as well. We were all wrong. We had no idea we were off route, so, we just kept stubbornly moving forward, ascending the loose gully.
The loose nasty up climb (picture doesn't do it justice)

Each of us took a slightly different path, but all of us at one point or another ventured into some amount of class 3 terrain, with some low class 4 moves. Ultimately, all three of us managed to gain the ridge. This was probably the loosest crap I'd done in years. It wasn't particularly dangerous. Although rocks were falling down, as long as we didn't get underneath each other, there really wasn't much risk of getting hit by a rock. But, for the first day of climbing, it was exhausting. I should've known we were off route, but I haven't done a lot of centennial 13ers that were not directly connected to 14ers. So I had not been on a lot of centennials without clear trails. Once we gained the ridge, it was a pretty easy boulder walk to the summit. Or, so we thought... It took me just under 3 hours to get to this point from the trail head. We spent 15 minutes at the summit.
Pano of Clinton, McNamee and Traver from False Summit

At this point the clouds were pretty low and we could barely see the other peaks. But eventually we got a break in the clouds and we realized that there were three OTHER peaks. I was planing on climbing Clinton, McNamee and Traver. But, since we were looking at three clear peaks, we were asking ourselves, "what peak are we currently on?" It turned out that we were on a false summit, just before Clinton. If we had gained the ridge at the correct point, we would have never summited this sub peak. At the next peak, we could clearly see a summit marker. The summit marker was about a half mile away, and we were sure this marker was Clinton Peak. Meanwhile I'd been trying to convince my new climbing partners to traverse McNamee and Traver with me. They weren't one hundred percent convinced to do it, but now that we had missed Clinton they were glad they had not already gone down without getting the true summit. My summit partners were Eric and Blake. Ultimately they decided to go ahead and go with me to Traver. It was good to have partners to be walking with. I really needed someone to help me keep a decent pace.
Selfie on Clinton Peak

McNamee and Traver from Clinton

Me on McNamee with Traver in the background

Pano of Clinton and Traver from McNamee

Junk on McNamee

We made it over to Clinton in about 6 minutes. We didn't stay long, since we had already taken a 15 minute break on the wrong summit. It took, us about 15 minutes to get from Clinton to McNamee Peak. McNamee is another 13er. It is named but unranked. There was a bunch of mining junk on McNamee, which was pretty cool. The traverse over to Traver Peak took us another 15 minutes. We spent 10 minutes on Traver Peak. The skies were looking pretty good, but we are all getting pretty tired. It had been a long day, on this ridge. I think the major reason we were tired was because of the difficult ascent up to Clinton Peak. The route off of Trevor was pretty basic. We basically just followed the ridge of Trevor until we could see the lake, then targeted the lake, went across the basin, until we intersected with the mining road. When we got back onto the main trail, we ran into Eric and Blake's camping partners. We all continue to walk down the road.
Wrong route up Clinton (red) and Correct Route (green)

Eventually I left my hiking partners at their campsite and continued back towards the car. Overall it ended up being a pretty good day. I think if I'd gotten on the correct route for the ascent it would've been a very easy day. Total round trip was around 10.6 miles (3700 ft gain) and it took me about six hours. Descent from Traver took me around 2 hours. I was exhausted but I was hoping the next couple days would be a little easier, or at least I would feel a little stronger.

To Clinton false summit 2:50 hr:min
On Clinton false summit 15 minutes
To Clinton summit 6 minutes
On Clinton summit 2 minutes
To McNamee summit 16 minutes
On McNamee summit 8 minutes
To Traver summit 16 minutes
On Traver summit 10 minutes
Back to TH 2 hours
TOTAL 6 hours

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

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

No Wheeler Peak?
09/16/2015 12:00
Nice ridgerun Dude, but if you would have climbed Wheeler 1st, Clinton would have been no problem! That sure was a whirlwind tour for you last week!

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