Peak(s):  Red Mtn C  -  13,229 feet
Hoosier Ridge  -  13,352 feet
Red Pk A  -  13,215 feet
Date Posted:  10/09/2016
Date Climbed:   10/08/2016
Author:  rajz06
 The Scenic Route to the Redheads   

Starting Point: Hoosier Pass: ~11,520'
Peaks Climbed in order of ascent: Red Mountain C (13,229'), Hoosier Ridge (13,352'), Red Peak A (13,215')
Route: South ridge ascent of Hoosier Ridge and ridge traverse to Red Mtn C and Red Peak A
RT Distance: ~12.2 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: ~3,880 feet (per Google Maps)
Group: Solo

It doesn't happen often on a hike that the main peak of interest is not the highest point of the route. Red Mt. C was on my sights today and, if conditions allowed, I would visit Red Peak A; the former is a ranked peak while the latter isn't but neither is the high point on the ridge since that distinction goes to Hoosier Ridge.

Hoosier Ridge from Hoosier Pass

August and September are the most prolific months of the 13er season for me but alas, that was not meant to be this year. A torn meniscus in my left knee put me largely out of commission through prime hiking season. This was the same leg that suffered a foot injury followed by a hyper-extended ankle, and the knee injury dealt the final decisive blow.

The views to my back were more enticing!

My research on this hike was late and clearly inadequate, as the best approach to both of the Red peaks is not the southwest route from Hoosier Pass but from the northeast, starting at Boreas Pass. The southwest approach makes for a long hike and, as I would soon discover, an endless traverse over mind-numbing ridge humps.

This bushwhack would not be needed if you took the detour

As I was preparing for my hike the night before, my wife was concerned that I was premature in resuming my hiking season.

Wife: Are you sure you're ready for a long hike? I thought the physical therapist said the recovery would take many months.

Me: Only way to know if I'm ready for a serious hike is to do a serious hike...

Wife: And what if you find out halfway into the hike that you're not?

Me (tongue in cheek): But that's why I have you!

Climbing the grassy lower slope

Peaks come into view

Speed, usually my trusted ally, would not be on my side today, and not because of the terrain which varied from wet talus and tundra to shallow snow fields. As I made my way up the lower slope, my main goal was to keep my footing stable; a twisted ankle or irritated knee would bring my resurrection venture to a quick and painful end! I aimed for the bump on the ridge, the first of many to come...

First bump du jour

My knee started out stiff much as it did on my first trail run the weekend before, but thankfully loosened up as I made my way up the gentle slope.

Tenmile and Mosquito ranges

To the southeast, gentle giant, Silverheels, brought back fond memories of a fall outing from three years ago.

Silverheels - The Gentle Giant

If all I wanted to do was to gaze at these peaks, I would've called it a day at this very station. But I had a few peaks to climb and several bumps en route that would make me earn every step.

Lincoln et alia

Surveying the ridge bumps

Looking back at my tracks descending the bump

Not all the tracks in the snow were mine. Someone had evidently taken this very route recently, suggesting that these low 13ers were starting to gain in popularity. Oh my!

Tracks courtesy of another hiker

Nonetheless, I didn't encounter a soul today. The weather was mild, and even the winds that normally scour this ridge were somewhat subdued today. My plan was to skirt as many of the bumps as possible. And judging by the looks of it, there would be a lot of skirting!

Looking back as I skirt the bump

Many more bumps to come

Skirting another bump to the left

Nearly every bump had a significant cairn adorning the summit. The bump in the next shot barely registers on the elevation profile map, but it had its obligatory cairn!

Every bump needs a cairn!

I knew I would have a couple of opportunities to summit Hoosier Ridge, so I decided to skirt the peak to hiker's left.

The last bump is Hoosier Ridge

Looking back at the route

I stayed about 200 vertical feet below the ridge crest as I aimed for Red Mountain, its name probably coming from the streaks of reddish colored rock on its slopes.

Eyening Red Mountain C

It too had its share of bumps but I was getting quite good at bypassing these!

Bumps are the order of the day!

Skirt, skirt, skirt

The views of the Tenmile range were the reward for the effort of gaining this summit. Sore knees were forgotten as I took in the imposing east face of Quandary and the jagged ridge from Drift Peak to Wheeler Mountain rising high above Blue Lakes.

The Tenmile range

Quandary may be the monarch of this range but none can match the awe-inspiring appearance of Pacific Peak. Yet another memorable outing from last season had taken me to the summit of the two peaks named after the two largest oceans.

Majestic Pacific

My musings eventually came to an end as there would be miles to go before I slept. I still had to summit Hoosier Ridge and then Red Peak A. Not to mention the reascent of Hoosier Ridge.

Off to Hoosier Ridge we go...

I took a more direct line descending Red Mountain's southeast face. From the saddle, Hoosier Ridge rises ~500 vertical feet and I felt every one of it on a pitch that lasted about twenty minutes but felt like an eternity. Chalk it up to lack of acclimatization to these altitudes and a general drop in conditioning; it's difficult to train with just one good leg!

Looking down at my tracks

This was one cairn I was glad to see.

Cairn on Hoosier Ridge

Upon reaching the summit of Hoosier Ridge, I was momentarily disoriented and started descending south retracing my ascent route. In my defense, I was just following the next highest bump and it didn't lead to Red Peak! I then realized my folly and set my sights on the third "peak" of the day. This was the only one that had the word "peak" in its name but also least resembled a peak.

I'm looking at Red Peak, but where is it?

That didn't mean it couldn't use a visitor today. It may not have been ranked, but the red rocks along the broad ridge made for a striking sight. Indeed, every mountain has its charm!

Ah, there's the hidden treasure of Red Peak!

After soaking in more of the surrounding views from Red Peak's summit, I decided to head back to Hoosier ridge, enjoying the descent down the painted rocks.

Descending the red rocks

And the ascent up to Hoosier Ridge...for the second time.

Eyeing Hoosier Ridge one more time

Talus ascent up Hoosier

This is where I would normally look forward to the descent but I knew there would be no such treat, at least not until I had dispatched the half dozen or so bumps on the ridge. But ultimately, isn't every peak exactly that - just another bump? They also serve, who only stand and go bumpity bumpity bump...

Is that enough bumps for ya?

Yours Truly

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

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 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Comments or Questions

Once again...
10/10/2016 08:18
... you document your journey in a stellar manner. Like you, I thought the bumps got REALLY old - especially on the return trip. And also like you, I know my orthopedic surgeon better than I would like to. Glad you are on the mend and I hope we can see more reports from you soon!


I was wondering...
10/10/2016 10:32
...why you've been rather quiet this summer. Glad to see you're out and about once again! Cool red rocks! And nice little trip.

   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.