Peak(s):  PT 13,550  -  13,550 feet
PT 13,162 B  -  13,162 feet
"Triangle Pk"  -  13,380 feet
Date Posted:  07/11/2016
Date Climbed:   07/10/2016
Author:  Acorn22
 More Elk UNs   

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.

Grassy slope up from lakes

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.

Climb up into that notch to get the ridge

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.

Go right of these rocks and it's much easier

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.

Keep heading up but on this easier stuff

This next pic is when I have just got on the South ridge looking up towards the peak.

At the South ridge, little dirt pack trail to the right as you can see

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

Admiring Castle

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.

West ridge from the notch I came up from

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'

Some of the rock you must deal with

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.

Looking down the drop

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.

Looking up from where I was

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.

The ledge I came around on, just don't fall into that gully as you cross over

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.

The slabs you have to downclimb, could possibly be avoided more towards the left of the pic?

I kept on and soon I got closer to 13,162

Looking up towards 13,162

The remaining climb up wasn't very bad, but my legs were just very sore from everything I had done before.

Nearing the top

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.

Checking out 13,550, Castleabra, and Castle

Had to whip out the buff because the wind kept trying to throw my hat off a cliff.

Typical solo peak shot

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.

Checking out the talus I would descend on from the peak

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.

Looking back up at the ridge after coming down the rocks

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.

Just over the crest into the basin to the West, looking at Triangle

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

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.

Triangle Peak rocks

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.

The chute

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.

Back nearing the Twin Lakes, staying more on grass

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:

A relative version of my route, the loop on the ridge was near that drop and me going towards the North on the ridge was the rock slab I came down

Total Trip took 11 hours, and was 45 miles in length.

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

Comments or Questions

   Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.