Peak(s):  Whitehouse Mtn A  -  13,492 feet
Ridgway, Mt  -  13,468 feet
Date Posted:  08/25/2019
Date Climbed:   08/20/2019
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Don't Think Twice; It's All Right  

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Randy and I had camped at Thistledown Campground last night, which is conveniently located right across from the Weehawken Trailhead that allows access to Whitehouse Mountain (13,492') and Mt. Ridgway (13,468'), two of my three remaining tricentennial peaks.

What's not convenient is the low starting elevation of only 8740'. You might want to consider an approach from the north via Ridgway Hut as suggested by the Climbing Cooneys.

Regardless, Randy and I started hiking up the Weehawken Trail, which quickly begins switchbacking above Weehawken Creek. We made sure to stay left at a trail intersection with the Alpine Mine Trail at about 9920'.

The trail continues farther than is shown on the topo map, eventually fizzling out abruptly near timberline. We headed NW through the remaining trees and climbed steeply up an unnamed creek until we climbed into the basin shown below.

Looking in the direction of the Ridgway - Whitehouse saddle, which is hidden behind the grassy ridge in the middle of the photo

Looking back toward timberline and the drainage we ascended

We headed NW toward the Ridgway - Whitehouse saddle, eventually picking up a climber's trail that ascended the steep scree to the saddle.

Looking toward the Ridgway - Whitehouse saddle. The true summit of Whitehouse Mtn. is not visible

The Ridgway - Whitehouse saddle is the low point just right of the center of the photo

A closer look at the Ridgway - Whitehouse saddle

From the saddle, we had to drop onto the west side of the ridge and then contour below some ridge difficulties before climbing a steep and somewhat rotten gully back to the SW ridge of Whitehouse. Soon we climbed onto a 13,470' false summit.

From the 13,470' false summit, the true summit of Whitehouse Mtn. is visible 3/4 mile to the NE

The hike to the true summit is fairly easy, with only a few minor obstacles along the way.

Roger Linfield, who completed the 13ers on 9/3/2015, has been busy placing summit registers

More signatures than we expected...

Looking SW from the summit of Whitehouse Mtn., with Mt. Ridgway in front of Mt. Sneffels and Cirque Mtn.

We returned to the Ridgway - Whitehouse saddle, where the next order of business was to descend south to about 12,700' before contouring west around a 13,150' ridge point. Eventually, it's possible to climb north onto Mt. Ridgway's east ridge.

The east ridge of Mt. Ridgway

Once on the ridge, it was an easy walk to Mt. Ridgway's summit. Only one more tricentennial peak to go (V 10 [13,475'], near Silverton)...

Whitehouse Mtn. as seen from the summit of Mt Ridgway

Potosi Peak and Teakettle Mtn from the summit of Mt Ridgway

Cirque Mtn. and Mt. Sneffels from the summit of Mt Ridgway

The summit cairn on Mt Ridgway with a view to the north. Note the Tibetan prayer flags

We descended SE into the basin and descended along the same unnamed creek as this morning.

Near where the unnamed creek drops steeply toward timberline and the end of the Weehawken Trail

Plenty of flowers in this basin

We had no trouble finding the Weehawken Trail. As we returned to the trailhead, we noticed lots of smoke in the air that even obscured the sun somewhat. Happily, the smoke would be gone by tomorrow morning.

Blue = ascent route to Whitehouse and Ridgway; red = descent route from Ridgway

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

 Comments or Questions

08/27/2019 11:16
Whitehouse calls to me every time I go see family in Montrose. Thanks for the beta!


I noticed...
08/27/2019 12:47
...almost everyone signing the Whitehouse register is from Montrose, Ouray, Ridgway, or Telluride.


10/04/2020 22:21
This is the way to do this! Although starting low, the bushwhack that you have to endure if you do it from Wilson Creek side makes it worth it to do this from the lower elevation. I did see the new register you had put on Ridgway, not a lot of signatures, infact only two more this year, still on first page.

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