Peak(s):  Taylor Mtn A  -  13,651 feet
Date Posted:  05/07/2020
Date Climbed:   12/18/2019
Author:  supranihilest
 This Trip Report Sponsored by TaylorMade Golf Company  

Gimme that fat sponsorship check, TaylorMade, or I will sue! Don't make me do it! No? I don't play golf and this isn't even a golf website? Oh... Oops, fine then.

Taylor Mountain A is an easy peak off of Monarch Pass with year-round access. There are roads that go under it and most of the way up it, and even in winter Monarch Snowmobile Tours provides semi-public parking and packs part of the road up the peak, reducing the difficulty of the ascent. It still requires quite a bit of bushwhacking and probably a lot of trail breaking regardless, owing to a lack of foot traffic. If one is really feeling spry an additional 13er, Mount Aetna, can be added as an out-and-back. I just wanted an easy day so I stuck with only Taylor, and I also wanted to save Mount Aetna for the spring when the Grand couloir on Aetna's south side was safer.

After a poor night's sleep in my car in the snowmobile shop parking lot I left at about 6:15am. It was still dark and I hadn't seen any evidence of other people around. I put my snowshoes on right at the car and walked behind the snowmobile office on the road that all the snowmobilers took. It switchbacks up Taylor Gulch and never quite reaches the crest of the south ridge, which is where I was heading.

Nicely tracked road in the morning.

Along the way I passed what I had thought was a cabin on account of being lit up, but it was some kind of gas pipeline.

The Pipeline House.
Dead end 4WD road.

The road was cruiser and I eventually reached a switchback where I left the road at around 10,600 feet. I could have taken the road up to about 11,400 feet but it would have been a lot more distance, and I wanted to see how the snow quality was. As it turns out, being mid-December, it was awful.

Where I left the road and went straight into the trees.

I was postholing on every step up to my knees, and I had this kind of garbage snow to go all the way to treeline or higher, depending on whether it extended above the trees.


The forest was beautifully draped in snow and started off mellow and grew steeper as I ascended.

Pleasant but deep snowshoeing.
The ridge was broad but route finding was easy, just go up.

I reached treeline tired. This was my first snowshoe of the season and breaking trail alone was exhausting. The wind kicked up without the shelter of the trees to block it, but the snow above treeline was more solid, forming thick pillows and shallow slabs that were easier to walk on than their below treeline counterparts.

Such a pretty ridge, and all for me.
Taylor Mountain making its first appearance.

I stuck to the line of pillowy snow as I ascended, knowing that steeper terrain lurked just beyond the margins.

Nice tracks down the ridge with Mount Peck (12,208'), the flat mountain near the top, as a reference point. Mount Ouray is farther left off the frame.

The snow as I neared the end of the sparse trees formed small and somewhat reactive slabs, but they didn't propagate much and the snow underneath was rather supportive.

Low enough angle not to be too concerning, but I didn't much like this.

When the trees finally ended the ridge became easier, as the snow was no longer either soft or brittle, though the winds were screaming across the ridge. It sounded like a jet engine.

Somehow this scraggly tree grew in this unforgiving place.
More easy ridge up Taylor. The summit is still far beyond this point.
The road as it nears Lily Mine far up Taylor Gulch.
Down it goes with Mount Ouray looming in the background.

As I got higher I realized that Taylor, despite not having any technical difficulty, would prove more challenging just due to its size. As the ridge swept upward the summit eventually came into view farther along than I originally expected.

Starting to dry out and still a long way off.

I kept my snowshoes on as I walked through rocks galore, since I was too lazy to take them off where they weren't needed, and would have been too lazy to put them back on where they were. There's a small amount of unavoidable avalanche terrain ringing the mountain a few hundred below the summit, but other than that the remaining distance to the summit went quickly.

This is like the 50th photo of terrain that looks identical on this ridge.
Final bit to the top.

Winds on top were somehow slightly more calm, say a Lear Jet instead of an F-16.

Mount Aetna from Taylor Mountain.
Closer look at the ridge to Aetna. The snow hides the details, but the ridge goes at Class 2.
Shavano group.
Grizzly Mountain on the left, Cronin Peak practically glowing in center, and Mount Antero on the right.
Sangre de Cristo, Poncha Pass, Mount Ouray, and Antora Peak.

I considered going over to Aetna but knew I had obligations with friends in the evening, and that I shouldn't push my time. I began my descent and hoped it would go faster than my ascent which I felt was rather slow due to the snow.

Looking down from the summit.

The initial wind blasted and rocky section off the summit went slowly - snowshoes on talus and all that - but once I was back on pure snow things sped up considerably.

Ziggin' and zaggin' down from the top of the potential avalanche area that wraps around below the summit.
Nearing the straightaway.
Time to zoom.

The remaining descent to the road, including through the forest, sailed right by. The snow in the trees, being deep and soft, was perfect for just plowing through without much care.

Neat old mine building.
My tracks, left, from earlier in the day. I decided to snowshoe straight down to my left to the highway to see if that was any different, but it wasn't really worth the detour.

It didn't seem like I was going that fast, but it took me three hours less to get back to my car than it did to ascend, which is a significant difference for such a short hike. Upon arriving at my car I found the snowmobile shop parking lot packed and tons of people milling about ready to get their snowmobile on. Yeehaw! I packed up, went home and got myself clean, and got beers with friends. Taylor was a nice wintry warmup and one I would recommend with good snow conditions.


Climbers: Ben Feinstein (myself)
Trailhead: Boss Lake (2WD)/Monarch Snowmobile Tours parking lot
Total distance: 8.05 miles
Total elevation gain: 4,043 feet
Total time: 6:31:59
Peaks: One ranked thirteener

  • Taylor Mountain A, 13,651'


Starting Location Ending Location Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
Boss Lake Trailhead (2WD) Taylor Mountain A 4:44:47 4:44:47 7:15
Taylor Mountain A Boss Lake Trailhead (2WD) 1:39:57 6:31:59 Trip End

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

05/08/2020 15:18
Looks like you had a very fun day! Nice pics - as always.


Fun day
05/08/2020 16:15
It was a fun day indeed. Every day in the mountains is a fun day! Thanks for reading, Jay.

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