Peak(s):  American Pk  -  13,806 feet
Jones Mtn A  -  13,860 feet
Date Posted:  02/14/2017
Modified:  02/16/2017
Date Climbed:   02/10/2017
Author:  Dad Mike
 American & Jones from Cataract Gulch  

Time...5am - 2:45pm
Distance...14.2 miles
Elevation Gain...5595 feet
Trailhead...Cataract Gulch TH
Route...Road to Cuba Gulch, SE Ridge on American, Traverse to Jones

I think there may be a shorter way to access Jones in winter from Silverton, but I had no interest in driving all the way out there. I used this approach to climb Handies (via Boulder Gulch) a couple years ago and decided to give it a shot.

The road from Lake City to Sherman was half dry and half snow-packed. It does get a little slick towards the end, but it shouldn't be an issue for most vehicles. I slept under a full moon and headed out at 5am. My goal was to be back to the jeep at 3pm so I could be home before my 2 little cairns went to bed. Here they are practicing for Capitol.

There was a faint ski track on the road to Cuba Gulch, but it wasn't much help and ended after a mile or so. It is 2.5 miles to the Boulder Gulch turnoff and 3.5 miles to the Cuba Gulch TH.

From Cuba, I straight-lined the notorious Snare Stairs. I definitely prefer the snow-covered version.

Sun starting to come up over a fire-breathing Half Peak


Upper North Snare...American and Jones come into view

The sun came in and out all day making for some incredible lighting conditions. Here the SE ridge of American is highlighted. I made my way to the saddle on the right side of the ridge and then ascended the right skyline to the start of the ridge.

Oh...and there's Half Peak again.

Route up and over American and Jones. The American ridge is not very difficult...just a few ups and downs to negotiate from the summit of American to the saddle with Jones.


Here's the money shot of Jones. Such a great looking peak from this angle. There are a couple, short, class 3 sections on this ridge that look more difficult from a distance than they are up close.

Looking down on the first crux...

And up on the second...

Mountain porn from the summit of Jones.




Summits for Shylah

I did some quick math and decided I would need to pass on Niagara if I wanted to be home by 7:30pm. For the descent, I continued down Jones' South Ridge until I found an un-corniced edge and was able to link up a few glissades between rock islands. Then I put it in cruise control and soaked in the views of Half Peak on the way back to Cuba Gulch.

Looking in the direction of Cataract Gulch

Anyone know the Little Blue children's books? I'm thinking of writing a new version...Little Blue Gets Shot and Left for Dead.

Strava route map

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

 Comments or Questions

02/14/2017 17:32
if that trench will only be there on Sunday.... then I'm golden.

Congrats on a few more Cents.


02/14/2017 18:12
Looks like the kids enjoy high ridge hikes too!

Some excellent shots, Mike! Thanks for sharing!


nice work Mike!
02/14/2017 20:35
Good to see you brought the kids along on this one. This place looks a lot different than it did in October. Well done!


Very nice...
02/15/2017 08:37
... as always.


What's not to like?
02/15/2017 12:29
When there's an opening photo of two cute kids, climbing like their Mad Dad and Dani have done well raising those kids! I can't wait to be able to hike a peak with the Silvestro's someday!

Dad Mike

02/16/2017 08:53
yikes...I assume you will be going for Handies. I'll pm you a picture in a minute

Brooke & Ben love to hike and always want to hear about my trips when I get home. If I could take them with me I would. Until then we will keep practicing for the knife edge on Cap.


Little Blue
02/16/2017 11:46
Hah! Maybe with an ending like that I'd only have to read it once. Thanks for all the great TRs.


Good route choice
02/17/2017 07:57
Having done these set of peaks from both sides and biking up and down those helluva blast snare stairs, to get home to kiss your two little cairns shows priorities and the reference also makes me laugh. What you are doing here with the winter Centennials is soon to be unprecedented. Keep going strong Mike! Little ones like me are sitting and reading your stories. I really like your maps at the end of the TR's.


02/21/2017 23:50
Looks like most aspects are just caked in snow. I haven't been down to the area this winter yet, so it's great to see.

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