Peak(s):  Lookout Pk  -  13,661 feet
Date Posted:  09/18/2019
Modified:  09/27/2019
Date Climbed:   08/27/2019
Author:  Hoot
 Lookout from Ophir Pass  

Lookout Peak (13,661', Colorado #166)
Dates: 27 August 2019
Climbers: Mark and Hoot
Trailhead: Ophir Pass Road (~0.25 mi mile east of the pass summit)
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: ~2000'
Difficulty: Class 3 scrambling, steep loose talus with some exposure

After climbing US Grant and “V 4” the day before, Mark and I had some delicious barbecue at Thee Pitts Again in Silverton and then car camped for the night low on Ophir Pass Road near US 550. When we got up Tuesday morning it was a cool 36 degrees! My original plan was to somehow connect bicentennial Lookout Peak, a repeat for Mark, with tricentennial Bridal Peak, a new peak for Mark. Based on researching TRs and looking at pictures of the area, I did not find a practical way to connect these two peaks so we resigned ourselves to knocking them out one-by-one from different trailheads.

It only took 15-20 minutes for us to drive up Ophir Pass road from the east to the trailhead at a small pullout about a quarter mile east of the top of the pass. The road was in good shape with only the last half mile or so a bit rough for a 2WD. There was room for about two cars at the trailhead near 11,720’. The trail started just above the road at a gap in the willows.

Mark at the trailhead just above Ophir Pass Road with Lookout above the willows

After only 20 feet, we were through the willows with most of our route to the summit in view ahead of us.

Morning view of Lookout Peak from a little above the Ophir Pass Road trailhead

To our surprise, most of the route from the trailhead to the summit was marked by cairns. Cairns, and even trails, are not all that common on bicentennial peaks, but these less traveled peaks are becoming more popular. We climbed initially on grass and then on talus up into the large basin southeast of Lookout Peak.

The large basin southeast of Lookout Peak

Climbing out of the basin initially looked daunting, but a grass and talus slope up to Lookout’s south ridge provided a relatively easy climb up to the ridge. We followed Lookout’s south ridge, mostly along its crest, to the summit. Once on the ridge we quickly came to some easy class 3 scrambling and put on our helmets.

Initial scrambling along Lookout’s south ridge

Above the scrambling, the ridge got easier until we approached the summit where the going got more difficult.

Class 2 climbing along Lookout’s south ridge

Below the summit, our first significant obstacle was a steep gully filled with very loose talus and lots of air below it. Mark and I climbed the gully one at a time to avoid knocking rock down on the second climber.

Climbing a steep gully with very loose talus

At the top of this gully, I didn’t see the cairns leading up and to the right and I headed left in search of a route up.

We went left of the rock in the center of this photo instead of following the cairned route to the right

After climbing to the left up a short exposed ledge, I came to a route very much to my liking – a nice tight chimney leading steeply up toward the summit. I asked Mark if he had climbed this chimney on his prior climb of Lookout and he said that he was sure he had not. I headed up it! The chimney was difficult class 3 or perhaps easy class 4, but it had solid walls and zero exposure.

The chimney leading toward the summit
Mark climbing in the chimney

Near the top of the chimney we turned right, climbed a bit more up a slot and then popped out not far below the summit!

Mark close to the summit just above the chimney

We reached Lookout Peak’s summit after about an hour and 40 minutes of climbing. As expected for a peak named “Lookout,” the summit provided great views in all directions.

Ophir Pass and the Ice Lake Basin peaks (right of center) to the south
Ridge west to 13ers “T 12,” “Oscars Peak,” San Joaquin Ridge, and Silver Mountain above Ophir
Unfortunately our view of crazy-blue Columbine Lake from the summit was mostly glare, but we made up for that in the afternoon

The view to the east and north did not reveal any reasonable looking routes for continuing on toward Bridal Peak to the north. Good snow on the steep slopes might provide a reasonable path, but navigating around many ridge towers and down or across cliffy slopes looked very unappealing. After enjoying the summit for a while we started back down. One look at the cairned route down the steep loose exposed talus slope and Mark and I dropped back into the top of that wonderful chimney and had fun climbing down it! We largely retraced our ascent route back down although we followed some cairns a bit further east than we ascended below the basin.

Parting shot of Lookout Peak

Mark and I got back to the trailhead around 10:00 am for a short and sweet 3 hour and 20-minute round trip. From there we drove back down Ophir Pass Road for our next objective of the day, tricentennial Bridal Peak.

Topo of our route on Bridal Peak

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

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

09/20/2019 21:28
That's a great peak - and surprisingly short. Cheers!

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