PT 13,550 - 13,550 feet
PT 13,162 B - 13,162 feet
"Triangle Pk" - 13,380 feet
PT 13,550 - 13,550 feet
PT 13,162 B - 13,162 feet
"Triangle Pk" - 13,380 feet
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I woke up at 4:30am on 7/10 and promptly got dressed, got gear together, and set off from the town of Crested Butte on bike at 5am sharp. My plan was to hit these peaks from the Twin Lakes which meant I had to ride down Pearl Pass a good ways.
After 2 hours of riding, I arrived at the Twin Lakes trail head which you must detour off Pearl to the left, and cross a small stream to get there. I ditched the bike behind a rock and set off up the trail. I arrived at the farthest lake, had some food, and set off to do the climb at 8:50am.
My legs already felt terrible after that early morning climb up Pearl, but luckily a lot of elevation gain up 13,550 was a grassy hill.
After you hike up the grassy hill, aim more towards the left to walk up a talus field, where at the top there is a notch in the ridge and you can easily access the mountain that way.
At the notch in the ridge, 13,550 will be to the NE or your right if facing the Conundrum Basin. There is a ledge of taller rocks that you could climb up and continue on the actual West ridge of the peak to gain the summit, but it is much much easier if you go around the rocks towards the South (right) and traverse under them.
Continue climbing under the larger blocks or rock on the South side of the mountain
It's a mix of rocks and grass, but really not too bad to deal with at all. You'll eventually end up at the mountain's South ridge which was visible from the Twin Lakes and had a bunch of towers on it. However, once you get to it, you'll be way above any technical towers or hard sections.
This next pic is when I have just got on the South ridge looking up towards the peak.
It's a quick 3 minute hike to the summit at this point and to be honest, coming from that direction, I would not rate it a class 3 like most people but probably just a class 2+ because of the quantity of rocks. No difficult moves or any exposure actually.
I then got this nice pic of Castle... BEHOLD
After I signed the register, I saw some people had climbed it the day before me which was nice because I was occasionally following their footsteps. I then proceeded to head back towards my starting point at that notch on the ridge from the same way I went up. It took me 15 minutes to get back to there from the summit.
Now I had read things about the traverse to 13,162 being a bit more difficult so I decided keep hiking the West ridge to see what I'd run into.
the first half of it really isn't very bad, however the rock is a bit more loose than the stuff that was on 13,550'
After you keep along the ridge for a bit, you end up traversing on the left side of some large rocks and kind of round a corner where you come to an immediate drop off.
It was at this point where I was like how the hell am I supposed to climb down there? Because I needed to be about 30 feet lower than where I was to continue on the ridge. However, I did find a way around. So, when you are at the drop asking yourself what to do next, back track about 30 feet and make your way down on of the small rock gullies that protrude out the South side of the ridge. Down climb a little bit, and you should be able to naturally make your way back to the West on a ledge that happens to be the same height as the ridge. I had to finesse my way around a little "C" shaped cut out before I was back on the ridge ready to roll.
The top of the whitish rock on the right was where I was at first. Also excuse the finger, I had to make it so the sun wasn't ruining the lighting.
And the ledge to the right was where I made my way around it all before contouring around to where I took the pic from.
I continued hiking West on the ridge and there was a ton of wind which made it very cold and uncomfortable, but luckily there was only one more tricky part. I ended up at a rock slab that I had to climb down which was maybe 10 feet tall, but luckily the rock was pretty solid and using some more flexible moves I got down with no problems.
I kept on and soon I got closer to 13,162
The remaining climb up wasn't very bad, but my legs were just very sore from everything I had done before.
The ridge traverse from the summit of 13,550 to the summit of 13,162 took me exactly an hour on the dot. And got to class 3 in those two places.
Had to whip out the buff because the wind kept trying to throw my hat off a cliff.
Now I had also read descending 13,162 continuing on the West ridge was really gnarly, and that is very true... I looked down and it was ultra steep and an extremely skinny line to be on so I decided to hike back the way I came to a break in the ridge where I would be able to descend some scree down into part of the Twin Lakes basin.
Coming down it was really not too bad and the talus was wayyy more stable than the stuff in Rustler's Gulch I had done earlier in the week. It contained a lot of red/maroon rock.
It was here that I continued west towards a pass-type grassy saddle that would lead me towards Coffeepot Pass over in the next basin. Actually, if you look on CalTopo, Trail #402 (Twin Lakes trail) is shown to go to the exact point I crossed over at. This path was extremely faint though and I ended up hiking straight up more that following the ghost path.
Once I got over the grassy hill and into the basin to the West, I saw Triangle Peak.
The hike over to Coffeepot Pass (which was the base of Triangle) was pretty straight forward and took a ton of hiking over boulders and some snow.
Coffeepot Pass gave me a really cool view into the Conundrum Basin so it was nice seeing all of that closely. I then started my way up beginning at about 12,700 feet. The rock on Triangle was smaller and much looser which was annoying but it wasn't that steep at all.
And there was only one relatively difficult section near the top, it was a very skinny and steep chute but there was very stable rock on each side so it was easy to put your feet on the rock on each side and friction up it.
Made it to the top about 45 minutes later from when I started which was a pretty slow time compared to what it could've been done in, my legs were trashed at this point. The climb was about a class 2 to get up though.
I hiked back down it and made my way back towards the Twin Lakes following more grass rather than talus.
I got to the lakes and was kinda done for the day because I just had the mindset that I had to ride all the way back down Pearl to CB which I knew was far. I did not pack enough food for this trip either and was very lethargic that this point. I just pushed on and from the lakes, ended up back home around 2 hours later.
This was what the route looked like:
Total Trip took 11 hours, and was 45 miles in length.
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