Peak(s):  PT 13,795  -  13,795 feet
Date Posted:  09/09/2017
Modified:  11/17/2017
Date Climbed:   08/30/2017
Author:  Hoot
 Pt 13,795 from Grizzly Gulch (summer)  

Unnamed Point 13,795 (13,795', Colorado # 109)
30 August 2017
Climbers: solo
Trailhead: Grizzly Gulch
Distance: 7.42 miles
Elevation gain: ~3400'
Difficulty: difficult Class 2 (steep talus for about 400 feet)
Round trip: 5 hours, 48 minutes

Unnamed Point 13,795 is a Colorado bicentennial peak 1.3 miles east of the 14er Handies Peak. I had planned to climb 13,795 a couple of years ago after climbing two other bicentennials in the area, but ended up leaving it orphaned. Since I was climbing solo, this looked like a relatively easy one to climb and would give me an excuse to drive over Cinnamon Pass on my way to Durango.

From Lake City, I drove up SR 30 to the popular Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch trailhead Tuesday evening. I had forgotten about the whopper drop offs along the edge of this narrow dirt road. I car camped at the trailhead with four other groups of climbers Tuesday night. Wednesday morning after sleeping in and a leisurely breakfast, I started hiking from the Grizzly Gulch trailhead at 7:35 am. I had noticed one other person start up the trail about an hour before I did. As I had heard, this is a really nice trail up into Grizzly Gulch, the large drainage northeast of Handies. I emerged from the trees around 11,700' into the beautiful basin. A little above the trees, the guy who had started out on the trail before me ran down past me at a good clip. He told me that he made it to the summit of Handies. He must have been working on some speed ascent project or just getting in some excellent training. Once out of the trees, I could see a faint trail leading up through a rocky slope to my left. Instead of heading directly to this trail, I continued up the main trail to a large cairn at around 12,000'. After leaving the main trail at this point, I walked across a stream on some rocks and followed a faint trail with occasional cairns up to the small lake at 12,323'.

From near the small lake, my options for climbing up out of this side basin did not look all that promising as the walls looked steep all around. My best option appeared to be the nasty-looking talus slope southeast of the lake from 12,400' up to 13,000'. As I approached this slope, its apparent steepness relented somewhat and I figured that climbing it was the only way I would get up to Point 13,795. I picked a traversing ascent line up the talus which worked pretty well until I got close to the steeper top of the slope. Near the top, the talus was loose and sliding under my feet for about the last 50 feet of climbing. But once I reached the top of that slope near 13,000', the climbing got much easier. After crossing a little more talus, I followed a nice grassy slope up 600 feet to the ridge northwest of the now obvious Point 13,795 summit. From the ridgeline I descended 50 feet to a saddle and then climbed 200 feet in a short distance on the broad ridge to reach Pt 13,795's rocky summit. I reached the summit at 10:45 pm after 3 hours and 10 minutes of hiking.

After enjoying a snack and the great San Juan views from the summit, I headed back down the way I came. Descending the talus slope wasn't fun, but I picked my way down it carefully and didn't have any problems. Around and below the lake I enjoyed the alpine flowers and a few colorful butterflies. Once across the rocky slope just above 12,000', I made a hard right and bee lined it directly down the slope back to the main Grizzly Gulch trail, with an easy crossing of the small creek in the willows. Taking a leisurely pace back down the trail, I returned to the Grizzly Gulch trailhead at 1:23 pm for a 5 hour and 48 minute round trip. Point 13,795 was my 150th ranked bicentennial peak so I'm now halfway done climbing the Colorado bicentennials!

After a late lunch at the trailhead, I continued up SR30 toward Cinnamon Pass. The road to the American Basin turnoff wasn't as bad as I had remembered it. Dry, it was probably passable for a 2WD with decent clearance. Once past the American Basin turnoff, the road got rougher and narrower, putting my 4Runner to good use. With the exception of a section road being worked on by a bull dozer, the road never got particularly rough for a 4WD vehicle. I recall the east side of Engineer Pass being more challenging a few years ago. I enjoyed talking with a bunch of 4WD drivers at the top of the 12,640' Cinnamon Pass. From the pass I could see Wood Mountain and ‚Animas Forks Mountain‚Ě. I believe Point 13,688 was just out of view. I plan to return for these three ranked bicentennials in the next few years. On my way down to Silverton, I make a quick side trip to check out the old Animas Forks town site, but didn't stay long as it was starting to rain. I finally reached pavement in Silverton a little after 4pm. The 35 miles of dirt road from just south of Lake City to Silverton over Cinnamon Pass took me about 3 hours of driving. I think that was a little faster than taking the long the paved route up 149, across 50, and down 550, but probably not by much.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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