Peak(s):  Jackson, Mt  -  13,670 feet
PT 13,433  -  13,433 feet
Date Posted:  09/17/2019
Modified:  09/18/2019
Date Climbed:   09/12/2019
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Hit the Road, Jack  

I'm not a big fan of backpacking, but sometimes it's necessary to reach a remote summit. Don't get me wrong; I always enjoy camping in remote areas, but you'll never catch me backpacking the entire Colorado Trail.

In looking at my older son's list of remaining bicentennial peaks, Mt. Jackson stood out because it required the longest backpack (8.5 miles one-way). With a good mid-September weather forecast, Randy and I decided to target Mt. Jackson, at least in part so we'd tackle the longest approach to a bicentennial peak that Randy had left.

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Randy and I arrived at the Cross Creek Trailhead near Minturn in the early afternoon. The weather forecast called for a 30% chance of rain this afternoon, 40% tonight, and then mostly sunny skies the next couple of days. We grabbed our backpacks and headed toward the first landmark: a bridge over Cross Creek after a little over a mile.

The first bridge over Cross Creek

A closer look at the first bridge over Cross Creek

The trail was quite pleasant, with some minor ups and downs but mostly a steady gradual climb.

Nice views along the Cross Creek Trail

The miles went by surprisingly quickly on the Cross Creek Trail

At 9880', we headed across the second bridge over Cross Creek and set up our tent nearby.

The second bridge is in much worse condition than the first bridge, and we wondered how such a large log broke

After cooking dinner and getting our daypacks ready for tomorrow's climb of Mt. Jackson, we headed into the tent for the night. Less than an hour later, rain began and continued for two hours.

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Randy and I were pleased to see clear skies when we got up. We recrossed the bridge (i.e., toward the trailhead) and soon left the trail and began bushwhacking northwest up the hillside.

As it got lighter, we saw that last night's rain had been snow a bit higher up

At 10,800', we began following a climber's trail that contoured southwest to about 11,000', where it reached the drainage from Mt. Jackson's east side. The trail fizzled out, so we bushwhacked northwest above the creek to just below a small lake at 11,660'. We crossed the creek and went around the lake on its south side. Once past the lake, we climbed the cirque on Mt. Jackson's northeast side. The rock was reasonably stable.

We headed up the cirque and intersected the ridge between the snowfield and the ridge bumps to the right of the snowfield

Looking down the cirque from the same location as the previous photo. Last night's snow is visible on the north-facing slopes

Once on the ridge, we turned left (south) and climbed about 300' to the summit of Mt. Jackson (13,670'). Last night's snow had yet to melt along the ridge but was not an impediment.

Climbing south toward Mt. Jackson's summit

I knew that the Mt. Jackson summit register and canister my dad and I left on July 31, 1998 were still there in 2010 thanks to Darin Baker's 9-5-2010 trip report.

Photo appropriated without permission from Darin Baker, but I'm sure he won't mind

Today, however, I was disappointed to find both the canister and register gone from Mt. Jackson's summit.

Randy on Mt. Jackson's summit

The benchmark on Mt. Jackson

We then headed toward Unnamed (UN) 13433, a neighboring tricentennial, where we were surprised to find a CMC register. No one had signed since Otina "bergsteigen" Fox was here on August 20, 2019.

Mt. Jackson from UN 13433's summit. Note the cornice along the ridge between Mt. Jackson and UN 13433

View from the summit of UN 13433

Another view from the summit of UN 13433

In 1998, my dad and I returned to the Mt. Jackson - UN 13433 saddle, worked our way around the snow, and descended from there. Randy and I had already determined that the snow was too steep to descend safely due to the cornice, so we descended UN 13433's east ridge a few hundred feet and then headed directly toward the valley. We had to pick our line carefully to find a break through a cliffy section, but our route worked out well.

Once we reached the valley, a northeast descending contour took us through an interesting passage (that we unfortunately failed to photograph) and deposited us just west of the small lake at 11,660'. From here, we retraced our path from this morning and returned to our campsite. The next morning, we slept in until 8:00 AM before backpacking to the trailhead. We then drove to Minturn for a much-needed and well-deserved lunch at Kirby Cosmo's BBQ, where we celebrated having only two relatively easy backpacking trips left to access Randy's remaining bicentennial peaks.

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

HC Wilderness
09/17/2019 19:55
Thanks for sharing! I need to get back to that area.

Jon Frohlich

09/17/2019 11:57
It wasn't there last year so it disappeared sometime between 2010 and 2018.


As always...
09/18/2019 01:07
... a fine report. I am with you on the backpacking thing. Not my favorite thing to do but as you said - sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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