Peak(s):  Grizzly Mtn  -  13,708 feet
Cyclone Mtn A  -  13,596 feet
Carbonate Mtn A  -  13,663 feet
"Lo Carb"  -  13,591 feet
Date Posted:  10/06/2019
Modified:  05/28/2020
Date Climbed:   10/03/2019
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Where There's Smoke, There's Fire  

Wednesday, Oct.2, 2019. The Decker fire, located a few miles south of Salida in the northern Sangre de Cristo mountains, began burning due to a lightning strike on Sept. 8. The fire had grown to nearly 6000 acres and inconsiderately threatened to interfere with plans Randy and I made to climb several peaks about 18 miles NW of the fire.

We reviewed tomorrow's weather forecast (sunny with a high near 44 F, with SSW winds at 15 - 20 mph) and, having satisfied ourselves that this wind direction should keep the smoke away from our climbing routes, left home after lunch and drove west on U.S. 24 toward Buena Vista. Along the way, the smoke from the fire was clearly visible.

A view of smoke from the Decker fire, which is about 25 miles south of where Randy took this photo through the sunroof as we headed west on U.S. 24



At Nathrop, we headed west on County Road 162 to Alpine and then up the rugged Baldwin Creek jeep road toward Baldwin Lake. The road is closed to vehicles at 12,000', about 1/4 mile NE of the lake.

The aspens are wearing their fall colors along the Baldwin Creek road

After enduring five miles of rough road, we set up our tent at a convenient campsite just below timberline, about 1/2 mile below Baldwin Lake. Our stove struggled mightily to put out enough heat to cook dinner before it fizzled out altogether. We often take a backup stove but didn't this time. Next time we will.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. We hiked up the jeep road until it ended at Baldwin Lake. After passing the lake on its NW side, we climbed up the long gradual nose of a ridge to a saddle NNW of Grizzly Mountain (not to be confused with the five Colorado 13ers named Grizzly Peak).

Heading toward the ridge north of Grizzly Mountain's summit

Looking down at Baldwin Lake (taken from the same location as the previous photo)

Boulder Mountain (13,528') and the ridge that connects it to Mt. Mamma (13,646'). These peaks can easily be climbed together

The northern flank of Grizzly Mountain

No shortage of rocks between us and Grizzly Mountain's north ridge

Mt. Mamma (left) and Boulder Mountain, with much of Mt. Mamma hidden behind a rib that descends from the Mamma - Grizzly ridge

Looking toward Grizzly Mountain's summit from Grizzly's north ridge

Mt. Mamma (left) and Boulder Mountain as seen from Grizzly's north ridge

Once we reached the ridge, it was a short climb to the summit of Grizzly Mountain (13,708'), where we found a damp CMC summit register.

From Grizzly Mountain's summit, Tabeguache Peak (just right of upper center) rises above the Cronin Peak - Cyclone Mountain ridge

We continued east from Grizzly Mountain along a ridge that meets Cronin Peak's SSW ridge and Cyclone Mountain's north ridge at a fairly level 'triple point' (three-ridge intersection).

Looking down at Baldwin Lake from the east ridge of Grizzly Mountain; our campsite is just below timberline to the right of Lake Baldwin

Looking back (west) at Grizzly Mountain as we neared the 'triple point'

The final section of Grizzly's east ridge involved some fun scrambling as it climbed to the 'triple point.' Obstacles are generally best bypassed on the south side of the ridge.

Cronin Peak and its SSW ridge from the triple point. Cronin Peak was officially named in 2005. Previously, it was informally called "North Carbonate"

Looking south toward "Lo Carb" (13,591') and Cyclone Mountain (13,596') from the fairly level triple point

We headed south on the ridge over unranked "Lo Carb" toward Cyclone Mountain. It was nice to know that the hardest part of the day (Grizzly's east ridge) was behind us.

The view of Cyclone Mountain from near the "Lo Carb" - Cyclone saddle as Randy contemplates the smoke from the Decker fire (far left)

From the summit of Cyclone Mountain, smoke from the Decker fire is visible behind Tabeguache Peak (left) and Carbonate Mountain

Cyclone Mountain did not have a summit register, so we continued on toward Carbonate Mountain, where we found a makeshift summit register as well good views of the Decker fire.

Looking SE from the summit of Carbonate Mountain toward the Decker fire

Unnamed 13712, Tabeguache Peak, and Shavano Peak from Carbonate's summit, with plenty of smoke visible in the background

Mt. Antero and Mt. White from the summit of Carbonate Mountain

Cronin Peak and Mt. Antero from Carbonate Mountain's summit

Looking north along the ridge toward Grizzly Mtn., Cyclone Mtn., and "Lo Carb" from Carbonate Mountain's summit

Taylor Mountain (13,651') and Mt. Aetna (13,745') from Carbonate Mountain's summit

Unnamed 13712 (left) looks like a subpeak of Tabeguache Peak from the summit of Carbonate Mountain

After enjoying the views, we headed back over Cyclone Mountain and "Lo Carb" and then toward the Grizzly Mountain - Cronin Peak saddle. Before reaching the saddle, we descended NNW toward the outlet of Baldwin Lake.

From the 'triple point' near the saddle on the ridge, we descended via the obvious rib until we reached Baldwin Lake's outlet. Grizzly Mtn. is to the right

Baldwin Lake with Grizzly Mountain's north ridge behind it

Once we reached the road, it was a short hike back to our campsite. The reward for enduring the Baldwin Creek jeep road was dinner at Moonlight Pizza in Salida as part of our continuing pizza tour of Colorado. Surprisingly, smoke from the Decker fire was barely noticeable in Salida.

Blue = ascent route from Baldwin Lake; red = descent route

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Beautiful Trees!
10/07/2019 11:55
Looks like you had fun!

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