Peak(s):  White Dome  -  13,627 feet
One, Pk  -  13,589 feet
Three, Pk  -  13,478 feet
Two, Pk  -  13,475 feet
PT 13,308  -  13,308 feet
PT 13,342  -  13,342 feet
Ute Ridge  -  13,455 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2018
Modified:  02/25/2019
Date Climbed:   08/15/2018
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Beartown Thirteeners  

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. After Part 1 of our climbing trip near Leviathan Creek, Randy and I drove the short distance from the Beartown trailhead to Kite Lake. We set up camp near the lake, but a horde of ATVers arrived who looked like they were ready to party. We relocated to the cairn-marked trailhead for the trail we would take tomorrow to White Dome, Peak One, Peak Three, and Peak Two. Although the ATVers were quieter than expected, we have never regretted moving campsites in the past and didn't this time either.

Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. Because Randy and I expected a long day, we were up early and set out at 4:40 AM. The trail starts on the north side of Kite Lake, near its outlet, and climbs steadily to the Continental Divide. We'd planned to take the trail to Eldorado Lake and then head to the White Dome - Peak One saddle, but conveniently we found a climber's trail that headed toward White Dome's NE ridge.

White Dome's NE ridge in the early morning light

Looking NE toward the Continental Divide from White Dome's NE ridge

Looking east toward Hunchback Mountain from White Dome's NE ridge

It was very hazy/smoky today, which made for a reddish sunrise.

We contoured SW around a 13,378' ridge bump and then moved left into a gully that took us to the ridge after some fun scrambling. Once on the ridge, it was an easy walk to the summit of White Dome (13,627'), where we signed a register left by Mike Garratt.

Looking toward Peak One from the summit of White Dome

View from the summit of White Dome. Smoke from forest fires is making the sky quite hazy.

Mike Garratt was here

Randy and I continued NE on the ridge past the White Dome - Peak One saddle to the summit of Peak One (13,589'), where we found another Mike Garratt summit register. From here, Peaks Three and Two looked rather distant, but we decided to channel our inner Furthermore and go for it.

Looking back at White Dome from Peak One

The Guardian, Mt. Silex, and Storm King Peak (left to right) from Peak One

Peak Three (left) and Peak Two (far right) from Peak One

We descended south on the ridge to a 13,200' saddle, climbed and then contoured past a 13,385' ridge point before following the ridge west toward the 12,660' Peak One - Peak Three saddle. This ridge was a bit tougher than it looked from a distance, which slowed us down a bit. However, nothing exceeded Class 2+.

Peak Three from the Peak One - Peak Three saddle

From the saddle, Randy and I headed almost directly up the rocky slope toward the summit of Peak Three (13,478'). No summit register here. Three peaks down, one to go. Skies were cloudy now but not threatening thunderstorms, so off we went.

Peak One from the summit of Peak Three, with White Dome in the background. Rio Grande Pyramid and The Window are also visible in the distance on the right.

The Guardian and Mt. Silex from Peak Three's summit

The Trinity Peaks from the summit of Peak Three

Eddie on Peak Three's summit, with Vestal Peak and Arrow Peak in the background

Randy on the summit of Peak Three, with The Guardian and Mt. Silex in the background

It was a straightforward north descent to the 12,940' Peak Two - Peak Three saddle. From the saddle, we continued north over a 13,392' ridge point and on to the summit of Peak Two (13,475'). Light rain had been falling since we began descending from Peak Three, and our campsite was now three miles away as the crow flies (and even further as the moose trots). On the plus side, we found our third Mike Garratt summit register of the day.

Randy and I returned south toward the Peak Two - Peak Three saddle and, as soon as we saw a reasonable way down, headed ESE toward a small pond at 11,940'. We went around the south side of the pond and found an easy ramp that allowed us to climb into the basin north of Peak One.

Peak Two from the basin below the Peak One-White Dome saddle

By now, the rain had stopped and the rocks were drying off quickly, which was nice as we still had to climb back to the White Dome - Peak One saddle.

Looking west toward Peak Three (left) and Peak Two from near the Peak One - White Dome saddle. Our route from Peak Two took us just south (left) of the pond visible in the center of the photo.

Once at the saddle, we descended north and then east past Eldorado Lake until we picked up the trail to the Continental Divide. It was nice to have all downhill on a nice trail from the Continental Divide to our campsite.

The Eldorado Lake Trail goes to the Continental Divide (the ridge in the distance).

A look back at White Dome as we hiked toward Kite Lake
Blue = ascent route; red = descent/return route

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Initially, we planned to backpack to Vestal Creek today for climbs of the Trinities, Electric Peak, and Graystone Peak, but yesterday was tiring enough that Randy and I decided on a different plan for today: Unnamed (UN) 13,308, UN 13,342, and Ute Ridge (13,455').

We broke camp and drove a couple of miles to the trailhead for Trail No. 787 (according to the sign) or Trail No. 869 (according to some maps). The trail climbed steadily uphill, with a fair amount of downed timber along the way, until we reached treeline. From here, we continued SSE toward the UN 13,308 - UN 13,342 saddle until it became too tempting to simply head up the slope toward UN 13,308's east ridge.

UN 13,342 and UN 13,308 from the Ute Ridge Trail

The north ridge of UN 13,308 from the Ute Ridge Trail. We climbed the grass and scree at the left side of the photo to reach the ridge.

We reached the ridge at about 13,000' and headed west to the summit of UN 13,308. We were the second group in 2018 to sign the summit register left by John and Alyson Kirk. The other two climbers were from Michigan, and one of them had also signed in 2017.

View from the summit of UN 13,308

Ute Ridge (far left) and UN 13,342 from the summit of UN 13,308

Looking down toward Starvation Gulch from the summit of UN 13,308

Randy and I headed east to the 12,702' saddle between UN 13,308 and UN 13,342 before scrambling up the ridge toward UN 13,342's summit. We had to bypass some ridge difficulties on the south (climber's right). The Mike Garratt summit register from July 2016 only had nine signatures before us, and none from 2018.

View from the summit of UN 13,342 looking toward Ute Ridge

View of Rio Grande Pyramid from the summit of UN 13,342

Another view from the summit of UN 13,342

From UN 13,342's summit, we descended SE to a 13,140' saddle before heading ENE to the 12,616' Ute Ridge - UN 13,342 saddle.

Looking back at UN 13,342

From the saddle, we headed NE up the ridge, finding some fun scrambling near the top of Ute Ridge. No summit register, however.

View from the summit of Ute Ridge

Another view from the summit of Ute Ridge

And another view from the summit of Ute Ridge

Starvation Gulch from the summit of Ute Ridge

Interesting rock formations along Ute Ridge's SW ridge

More interesting rock formations along Ute Ridge's SW ridge

UN 13,342 from the descent route from Ute Ridge's SW ridge

After returning to the saddle between Ute Ridge and UN 13,342, we descended NW across the upper reaches of Starvation Gulch. The area was covered with numerous game trails in good condition that allowed us to return quickly to this morning's trail north of UN 13,308.

UN 13,308 from Starvation Gulch

Starvation Gulch

Ute Ridge from the upper reaches of Starvation Gulch

Once back on the trail, we were in cruise control mode back to our car. A fairly early return gave us plenty of time to drive back to Silverton for showers and then delicious pizza at Avalanche Brewing Company (part of our ongoing pizza tour of Colorado).

Next up on our trip is a tour of the Island Lake peaks (V4, U.S. Grant Peak, and V2). To read, click on Part 3

Blue = ascent route; red = descent/return route

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

Some good miles!
08/24/2018 10:39
Wow, you're getting some good miles out there. nice job


09/11/2018 13:25
Thanks, nyker. We both had new boots and needed to put them to use!

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