Peak(s):  "V 10"  -  13,475 feet
Date Posted:  08/25/2019
Modified:  08/26/2019
Date Climbed:   08/22/2019
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Memories Make Us Rich  

Tuesday, June 30, 1970. A nine-year old boy made an attempt to summit his first 13er, Mummy Mountain (13,425'), from a campsite at Lawn Lake. He had just gotten his left arm out of a cast (due to a misadventure involving repeatedly jumping off the roof of a friend's garage) and therefore hadn't been swimming or running for nearly two months. Having just arrived in Rocky Mountain National Park the prior day from Texas, he ran out of gas at about 12,000' -- a failed attempt. His dad continued to Mummy's summit and was the seventh person of 1970 to sign the summit register.

Wednesday, July 1, 1970. Fairchild Mountain (13,502') was today's goal, and this time both father and son reached the summit, where a RMNP map served as a makeshift summit register. This was the boy's first 13er and, although he didn't know it at the time, also was his first tricentennial peak.

Yes, I was that nine-year old boy who was unknowingly embarking on a journey to climb the 300 highest Colorado peaks - the "tricentennials." A little over 49 years later...

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Randy and I drove 22 miles south of Silverton to the Purgatory ski area and then 15.3 miles on progressively worse roads to the end of Forest Service Road 579. I underestimated how long the drive would take, so it was almost dark when we set up camp after backpacking a couple of miles to a lake at 11,560' about a mile SE of Grizzly Peak B (13,738'). Our goal for tomorrow: V 10 (13,475').

Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. After bypassing a swampy area, Randy and I headed north, staying far above Cascade Creek in an ultimately fruitless effort to avoid the dense willows. At least the willows were dry, but progress was slow. Eventually, we angled NNW up the grassy slopes toward a couple of small tarns just above 11,800'.

Lots of flowers on the slopes to the tarns

One of several waterfalls

We still need to climb to the upper basin east of V 10 via the slopes to the left

Slabs and grass on the way to the upper basin east of V 10

Grizzly Peak B (left) and part of V 10 are visible as we get close to the upper basin

We headed WSW into the upper basin east of V 10, aided by hiking up four or five snowfields in the drainage that made for better footing than the abundant loose rock.

Finally, a better view of V 10 from higher up

The snow made for faster travel in the upper basin east of V 10 (Photo taken on the descent)

Now for the fun part: climbing the loose rock to V 10's east ridge

The loose rock seems to go on forever

A steep climb toward V 10's east ridge brought us to where we might be able to climb to the ridge, but the steepness and exceedingly loose rock (think Elk Range, only worse) caused us to back off and look for a better way up. A bit further to our left (east), we found a weakness that others had exploited to gain the ridge.

Our route to the ridge is just left of center (Photo taken on the descent)

Obstacles between us and the summit could be bypassed on the south (left) side of the ridge, but extreme care was needed. Did I mention that the rock was loose?

The summit ridge required bypassing a number of obstacles

V 10's summit is within our reach

Almost there as the weather gets worse

Hail began falling as we maneuvered along the ridge, but we were not going to be denied and soon were on V 10's summit where we found a CMC summit register placed by Roger Linfield on 9/16/2014. A celebratory summit photo followed.

Only 15 signatures in the past five years, including Kevin Baker on his next-to-last 13er. Can you believe someone wrote "I hate loose rock"? Sacrilege!

Randy and Eddie celebrate on V 10's summit as the wind tries to tear the flag from our hands

We returned along the ridge and descended the seemingly endless loose rock to the basin.

Looking back at the ridge as we descended

A creek disappears beneath the rocks with V 10 in the background

Another waterfall

Rain began as we headed toward Cascade Creek, and the miserable willow bashing of this morning was even more miserable this afternoon as the willows got wet.

After returning to our campsite, we backpacked to the trailhead, having decided to climb Grizzly Peak B another time. Still, the rain (and willows) didn't dampen our enthusiasm for reaching a seldom-visited summit, and V 10 seemed like the perfect peak for completion of the tricentennial peaks.

Kudos/acknowledgement to the following:

My dad, Larry Mack, who taught me the love of the outdoors and was my climbing partner on all 100 centennials, 190 of the bicentennials, and 209 of the 300 highest Colorado peaks;

My son, Randy Mack, who accompanied me on 17 tricentennial peaks, including my final four, over the past two years. He also took all of the photos for our trip last week;

My son, David Mack, who climbed 87 centennials with Randy and me and is an NCS Level II Climbing Instructor who sets up the most bulletproof belay/rappel anchors imaginable;

Bob Martin, who always responded to my letters with crucial encouragement and remains an inspiration to AARP-eligible climbers like me;

Dave "CarpeDM" Mattingly, Natalie "SnowAlien" Moran, and Amy "blazintoes" Gray-Smith, who climbed Peak Fifteen with Randy and me;

Derek "Furthermore" Wolfe, whose trip reports on obscure 13ers have been quite helpful;

Tim Cooney, who reached out to me a few years ago and became a friend and also runs a very nice website ( with great beta on the 13ers;

Bill Middlebrook, who provides this website to climbers at no cost. TYBM!;

John Kirk, who runs an incredibly comprehensive mountaineering website (;

Vic Ketchman, who provided an appropriate title for this trip report; and

My wife and best friend, Judy Mack, who has selflessly supported my mountaineering adventures over the past 27 years. Thank you!

Route from the end of Forest Road 579 to V 10. An easier (less-willowy) route would be via the V 9 - Rolling Mtn. saddle from the Lake Hope trailhead

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 21

 Comments or Questions

Incredible run...
08/25/2019 06:05
Amazing, Eddie. Your reports are always great and congrats on this run. What's next?


Congrats, Eddie!
08/25/2019 07:01
Nice stuff, and like Jay comments, incredible run! Best of luck on your next run!


08/25/2019 09:42
Way to go, Eddie! I always enjoy your reports. Whats next, quadricentennials?

08/26/2019 06:13
Great story...I just wish the wind had ripped that stupid packers flag out of your hands! Just kidding, but that would have been some Colorado karma. Go Broncos!

Good work!
08/26/2019 07:48
I climbed this with my brother a number of years ago. We came from the south, Tin Cup Basin, over the Grizzly pass and down to almost exactly your route. This included the same weakness of the east ridge you discovered. Our climb was unique in that 200 feet below and about 75 yards below the summit on our descent, the summit was hit with a lightning strike. I suffered a mild ground current shock to my R hand. Then the hail hit as we sat on our packs, completely exposed. This peak is one of two in Colorado I never want to climb again, the other Sharkstooth in the La Platas. Just too much rotten rock!! Alls well that ends well; glad you made it through in good shape, keep on keeping on!

Chicago Transplant

08/26/2019 08:56
Nice job Eddie! Some of my least favorite choss piles have been in the 201-300 range, way to tough it out! Now you have to change your screen name to Mtnman300


Congrats, Eddie!
08/26/2019 09:56
Great report! Agree with Chicago Transplant: way to tough it out; I'm having enough trouble toughing out the bicent choss piles. And that is why I'll probably never climb V10.

Oh, and I recognize every name in that summit register except one. (I love Greg's comment in it. Hilarious!)

Good luck to Randy on the rest of the bicents!


08/27/2019 10:58
Jay: Thanks as always. Next up: continuing to work on my grid (decades, not months) on Longs Peak. I'm probably done with lists but will continue to help my son on his bicentennials.
Doug: Thanks. I appreciate it.
Rob: Nah, I still have 77 unclimbed quads, which is more than I feel like chasing.
Boomer: My wife is a Leave No Trace trainer, so I'm sure I would have been in trouble if I'd left a trace.
John: V 10 isn't high on my repeat list, but more due to the willows on our approach than the rotten rock. After your experience, I'm not shocked (pun intended) you don't want to go back.
Mike: V 3 had great views from the summit, but getting there was the biggest slog I can remember. I see you only have 23 13ers left; good luck on finishing soon.
Dave: The tri choss piles definitely test one's determination and four-letter vocabulary. Randy & I laughed at Greg's comment as well. Randy has 34 bicentennials left but all are Class 2 or 3 because we've done the harder ones together already. I hope you can get Clinton Peak soon for your cent. finisher.

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