Peak(s):  PT 13,070  -  13,070 feet
Pomeroy Mtn A  -  13,151 feet
PT 13,147  -  13,147 feet
Sewanee Pk  -  13,132 feet
Date Posted:  06/23/2020
Date Climbed:   06/05/2020
Author:  supranihilest
 The Things We Do For Climbing  

The Pomeroy group of 13ers are an unusual bunch in that there's numerous roads to access the peaks, but all of the roads are long (with one exception) and very rough (no exceptions). The roads are:

  • Chaffee County Road 240 (from the east) from Maysville to North Fork Reservoir
  • Chaffee County Road 295 (from the northwest) from St. Elmo to Hancock Lake
  • Chaffee County Road 230 (from the southwest) from Monarch to Boss Lake

Whiley and I thought we'd have the easiest time getting all four of these peaks from North Fork Reservoir. We ended up only getting Point 13,070 and Pomeroy Mountain from that side - Sewanee Peak looked like a harder-than-expected technical scramble from Pomeroy - so we drove over to Monarch and only a short distance up CR 230 before getting stopped by downed trees across the road. Not to be deterred, we drove all the way around to St. Elmo and up to Hancock Lake Trailhead, where we were able to finally get good access to Point 13,147 and Sewanee Peak. All in all a good tour of the area, but one we would rather not repeat because it was so time consuming. Thanks to Whiley for doing all of the driving on all of the nasty 4WD roads.

After camping at the Angel of Shavano Trailhead we left my car and took her truck up to North Fork Reservoir. We started just after 7am expecting a "small stats" day - not much mileage or elevation gain - since these peaks were all in close proximity and we started above 11,400 feet. There is a road that goes near Point 13,070, our first objective for the day (we hoped to go counter clockwise and do most of the scrambling up instead of down), but we simply cut through the forest in a straight line from the parking area before meeting up with the road higher up.

20177_01
Point 13,147 and Sewanee Peak behind North Fork Reservoir. The bump on the far right is the end of Sewanee's east ridge.
20177_02
On the road again...

As we hiked Pomeroy and Point 13,070 became visible through the trees.

20177_03
Pomeroy Mountain, with broad south slopes visible on the left, and Point 13,070.

Once the road began curving northwest then west we left it and began hiking towards 13,070. We knew there was a trail that led up to 13,070's east ridge below the summit pitch but there was still a lot of snow there, plus the red rock, as is typical, looked like ball bearing scree. We chose to add a little bit of distance and go up a shallower, grassy slope instead.

20177_04
The grassy slope we went up on the right next to the strip of snow.

Gaining the ridge was an easy affair, though the slope wasn't quite as grassy as it looked from afar. Still, we thought it was a much better way to gain the ridge.

20177_05
Not too steep and almost certainly held together better than the red stuff.
20177_06
I can see Whiley's truck from here!

We gained the ridge, which had a little bit of snow on it. Most of the snow was icy and slippery but could either be skirted on rock or was flat enough to just be walked across. The rock was of the expected death choss variety but there was no scrambling and exposure was minimal. Still, the snow turned this from a super duper easy hike to merely a super easy hike. The horror!

20177_07
Some snow but nothing major.
20177_08
Suncuppy snow along the ridge. Photo: Whiley H.
20177_09
To the top. All talus, the snow was completely avoidable.

It didn't take us very long after gaining the ridge before we were on the summit. Peak one of four for the day, and the next, Pomeroy, looked very interesting.

20177_10
Pomeroy on the right with Point 13,147 and Sewanee Peak on the left. Monumental Peak and "Van Wit" are in the left background.
20177_12
Upper Pomeroy Lake and the oddly shaped Pomeroy Lake with the Sawatch stretching behind.

We began dropping towards the Pomeroy-13,070 saddle and came across the first scrambling of the day on rotten rock that was now orange instead of red.

20177_13
Looking at the ridge as it steepens and narrows.

There was one short down climb into a notch and then a Class 3 bypass around a small, rotten tower before we reached the saddle.

20177_14
I can't tell if this is more rock or more dirt.
20177_15
Whiley scrambling around the tower. Rock quality was poor.

From the saddle the ridge stretched out ahead of us.

20177_16
Looks spicy.

A number of slabby towers stood in our way. I scrambled up the first one, which was surprisingly solid compared to everything else we'd been on so far. Exposure was high here, and the first few moves were a stiff Class 3, perhaps Class 4.

20177_17
Caption Here

When I reached the top of the tower Whiley called me back to the saddle. She hadn't slept at all, being super wired after a close encounter with a mountain lion the day before, and wasn't feeling up to an involved scramble today. She urged me to go on but I wasn't about to leave her behind. We're a team, after all. I returned to the saddle, which conveniently enough was a dirt gully back down to the basin. It was steep and soft (and terribly environmentally unfriendly) but quickly returned us to a place where we could traverse to Pomeroy's south slopes so we wouldn't have to leave the peak behind.

20177_18
This is much steeper than it looks, and while not difficult it's very soft and rotten.

In the basin we made a descending arc underneath the ridge we abandoned, mostly on snow.

20177_19
The snowy ground we crossed to reach Pomeroy's south slopes.

Once out from under all of the towers and cliffs that mark Pomeroy's east face we had an easy ascent on snow, talus, and tundra to Pomeroy's summit.

20177_20
Up and to the right.
20177_22
Mount Aetna, Point 13,147 and Sewanee Peak left and center, with Monumental Peak and "Van Wit" on the right. Note the steep access to Sewanee compared to Pomeroy's gentle ridge.
20177_23
The ridge back to 13,070.

If one were to do Pomeroy by itself this would undoubtedly be the easiest way; all other routes are steep and/or scrambly. Whiley and I didn't like the look of the ridge heading up Sewanee so we decided to go back down and try from the Boss Lake side since we knew there was a route on moderate ground there. First we'd have to find our way back to the truck, and despite numerous roads in the basin this was harder than it should have been. We made it back to an old, closed road and instead of taking it back to the main road we thought we'd just take a direct shot back. This proved to be a marshy, willowy mess, and while Whiley fared better than I did I was wading through ankle deep standing water with willows above my head, which wasn't too fun. If you read this looking for beta, stay well away from the marshy flats, it's ugly in there.

20177_24
Billings Lake near 11,800'.
20177_25
Gross, soggy terrain that sucked to cross.

When we made it back to Whiley's truck we attempted to dry things out a bit and then went to pick up my car. We drove up to Monarch then tried to go up CR 230 to Boss Lake but were shutdown by a downed tree that was suspended less than 6' above the ground, low enough that we couldn't drive under it. Great. Now what?

20177_26
The tree was just barely above my head and I'm only 5' 3" so there's no way we could get Whiley's truck underneath.

We drove to Poncha Springs so Whiley could make a couple of calls and we could figure out our next move. Having done Monumental Peak to "Hancock Peak" last year I knew there was a trail that approached Chalk Creek Pass from the north and would give us access to 13,147 and Sewanee from the west, but didn't know how close we could drive to the pass. The answer is pretty darn close, a couple of miles away at the worst. We drove to St. Elmo, left my car, then took CR 295 south, stopping between the Alpine Tunnel Trailhead and the Hancock Lake Trailhead, since the road had literally become a river at that point. For most of the drive up from St. Elmo it had stormed and we waited at our parking spot for about ten minutes before making a break for it after the storm passed.

20177_27
This is supposed to be a road but it had water running both down and across it.

We continued hiking up the valley towards the pass, which was obvious from a distance.

20177_28
Sewanee Peak on the left, Chalk Creek Pass in the middle, and "Van Wit" on the right.

The trail past the road closure at the trailhead was a mess of mud and running water and required willow bashing and rock hopping to stay dry. To our left Sewanee loomed above Hancock Lake, but we knew there was an easier way up.

20177_29
Sewanee Peak. The red rock on the left is the saddle with Pomeroy Mountain.

A large snow patch near Upper Hancock Lake led, finally, to dry ground, and we switchbacked up to the pass on the Continental Divide Trail,

20177_30
Looking down valley from the pass.

From the pass there was a large but reasonable looking talus slope up to the 13,147/Sewanee saddle, and even a series of convenient grass ledge up the first part.

20177_31
Sewanee on the left and 13,147 on the right. 13,147's summit is hidden along a ridge that extends farther back.
20177_32
The grassy ledges we switchbacked up to reach pure talus.

This slope wasn't all that bad as far as stability or steepness went, and we were treated to increasingly rugged and mouthwatering views of Point 13,147 as we climbed.

20177_33
Looking like there might be some hidden fun!
20177_34
Sewanee from the saddle. Not quite as exciting, unfortunately. Pomeroy and 13,070 are visible in mid-ground on the right.

From the saddle Point 13,147 would prove to be the highlight of the day.

20177_35
You go, 13,147!
20177_36
That lichen though!

At first we thought the tower visible from the pass was the summit, and we began making our way up to it. The scrambling took is on the east side (North Fork Reservoir) of the ridge and went at Class 2+, perhaps Easy Class 3 in a few spots, on generally solid rock.

20177_37
Getting the goods. Photo: Whiley H.

As we got higher we realized the tower was not actually the summit. For that we'd have to go a little further along the ridge. The scrambling lasted until the ridge curved southeast, then became purely Class 2 talus.

20177_38
The real summit.
20177_39
What is even going on with the clouds?

Along the way we passed several wretched looking gullies down to Island Lake, one of which must have been the gully SnowAlien climbed in her report for these peaks.

20177_40
Pretty gross, but perhaps better with snow.

After a short stretch of talus hopping along the ridge we ran into a small dip and then the final summit pitch. The dark skies really helped make this peak look and feel a lot wilder, and thus more fun, than blues skies would have.

20177_41
Looking moody, my friend. Photo: Whiley H.

We clamored up the talus and I signed the register before we beat a hasty retreat. There was still one peak left and we wanted to tag it before our friend Dark Roiling Stormcloud blew its top.

20177_42
Taylor Peak and Mount Aetna. Conceivably one could add these two peaks to the day if they really wanted.
20177_43
The rest of our day! Sewanee, Pomeroy, and 13,070. With all the red rock of the area it's no surprise there's so many mines and prospects nearby.

Reversing our route back to the saddle was super speedy, and we were almost to Sewanee already!

20177_44
Three down, one to go.

From the saddle Sewanee was more of more of the same. Whiley stayed on the crest of the ridge and I attempted to traverse the flank and found rather loose rock. This seems like a common occurrence - Whiley on the solid ridge crest, me bumbling about foolishly below - so be more like Whiley. She knows what's up. Getting up Sewanee required some more Class 2+ but nothing as hard as what we found on 13,147.

20177_45
Nice Sawatch granite. Photo: Whiley H
20177_46
Up we go.
20177_47
A fun couple of peaks! Photo: Whiley H.
20177_49
From whence we came.
20177_48
Also from whence we came... hmm... Photo: Whiley H.

All in all the traverse between peaks had barely taken 35 minutes. We returned to the saddle then traversed back down the talus field to the grassy ledges and eventually the pass.

20177_50
Glad to be done with these four!

Descending from the pass back to the trail meant the same soggy nonsense we'd come up before, but faster and with less concern for getting wet, which somehow translated to getting less wet. Go figure.

20177_51
Oh come on!
20177_52
Really?! Why yes, I would like some trail with my river, thanks. Photo: Whiley H.

We returned to Whiley's truck without issue sometime after 7pm, then drove into Buena Vista and ate at Jade Garden, one of the few places in the town that's open late(r). Whiley and I split after dinner, with me making my way over to Cottonwood Pass for an ill-fated attempt on Turner Peak (it turns out freezing rain at 5:30am isn't very conducive to climbing) and her meeting fellow 14ers.com member and 13er maniac Garrett. Point 13,147 was both our favorites, but perhaps the scramble up Pomeroy would have beaten this out. We'll just have to return and find out sometime! This was a bit of a ridiculous day but what the heck, these are the things we'll do for climbing.


Point 13,070/Pomeroy Mountain Statistics

Trailhead: North Fork Reservoir
Total distance: 6.49 miles
Total elevation gain: 2,730 feet
Total time: 4:10:24
Peaks: Two ranked thirteeners

  • Point 13,070
  • Pomeroy Mountain, 13,151'

Splits:

Starting Location Ending Location Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
North Fork Reservoir Point 13,070 1:16:27 1:16:27 8:04
Point 13,070 Pomeroy Mountain 1:34:01 2:58:32 6:00
Pomeroy Mountain North Fork Reservoir 1:05:52 4:10:24 Segment End


Point 13,147/Sewanee Peak Statistics

Trailhead: Hancock Lake
Total distance: 6.15 miles
Total elevation gain: 2,079 feet
Total time: 3:44:39
Peaks: One ranked thirteener, one unranked thirteener

  • Point 13,147
  • Sewanee Peak, 13,132'

Splits:

Starting Location Ending Location Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
Hancock Lake Trailhead Point 13,147 1:44:42 1:44:42 3:28
Point 13,147 Sewanee Peak 0:36:10 2:24:20 7:10
Sewanee Peak Hancock Lake Trailhead 1:13:09 3:44:39 Segment End


Full Day Statistics

Climbers: Ben Feinstein (myself), Whiley H.
Total distance: 12.64 miles
Total elevation gain: 4,809 feet
Total time: 7:55:03
Peaks: Three ranked thirteeners, one unranked thirteener

  • Point 13,070
  • Pomeroy Mountain, 13,151'
  • Point 13,147
  • Sewanee Peak, 13,132'

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




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52


 Comments or Questions
d_baker

Cougar story
06/23/2020 18:03
That's what I want to hear about...or would this request be better placed on your XXX report??

Interesting looking area of the Sawatch. Thanks for your continued contributions to the site!


whileyh

Mountain brotha from another motha
06/23/2020 20:16
Sorrrrrrrrrryyyyy - I still think you should have gone for the scramble... My perception was doing crazy things and my mind and body were not lined up right man (not that they ever are). I just didnât trust who was controlling the body and couldnât do much more then class 2... those rushing chemicals did some weird stuff. Hey at least my mental mapping still works when my brain donât ha ha, no wet feet for me ;)


whileyh

Cougar
06/23/2020 21:37
XXX version: I came across a feisty cougar and she came onto me really hard but I declined her advances and ran away scared.

Real version: I have been trying to get a new ranked summit every day and that has often made for little research on obscure peaks ... while I was frolicking my way up Quartz Dome in a beautiful aspen grove filled with vivid purple wildflowers, right as the aspens transitioned to dense evergreens a HUGE adult mountain lion jumped from a tree above me and ran out in front of me less than 50 ft away. I have seen many signs of mountain lions on my outings and have even seen some before from a car or a safer distance afar. I have never seen one this BIG or this CLOSE. Adrenaline called the shots after that and I think I have the new FKT for fastest off-trail run, covering a mile and making it back to the open desert shrubbery in less than 4 minutes all while blasting obnoxious music, getting my knife ready in hand, blowing my rape whistle, and cussing like a madman.


supranihilest

Atta girl
06/23/2020 21:52
Hell yeah, show that coug who's BAWSE! Shoulda gotten the other one's number for me though. Next time!

@Darin: It's my pleasure. (That's perhaps also a bit too XXX.) This site is a great resource and I appreciate other's reports, so writing my own is my way of giving back.


d_baker

Stop, drop, & roll
06/24/2020 06:33
Isn't that what you're supposed to do when you see a mountain lion? ;)
No wait, that's if you catch on fire after blazing away from one...

It's weird, the things that are said about what to do when you see wildlife and how we react when the adrenaline starts pumping.
I was recently doing a hike with Valerie near Mt Manitou when a young bear ran across the trail in front of me, not sure if it was a cub but it was young, and the first thought I had was, "where's Mama?" and the next thought was turn around and run! (But this guy doesn't run...)
I did turn around and starting walking quickly back toward Valerie, just saying, "bear bear bear" hahaha...we didn't see Mama, but there were two bears, and the other ran in the opposite direction from the one that crossed the trail.

Anyway, enough babbling.

That's a freaky scary encounter Whiley, but did you keep your streak alive and still get your ranked peak?!


SnowAlien

yet another trip report
06/24/2020 10:39
on how to avoid some of the best scrambling in the Sawatch! Yikes
p.s. all your reports are awful. I definitely shouldn't look at them


supranihilest

Piss off
06/24/2020 10:36
Oh no, someone did something different from you! The horror!

It's almost like you can't read, Natalie. That's the real yikes. My friend, and I emphasize what a friend Whiley is to me, didn't want to do the scrambling. That's fine, period. No questions asked. So not only did I say "that's OK, let's try a different way" instead of "you suck, yikes" but we still got the peaks.

Don't have anything nice to say? Keep it to yourself. No wonder you can't keep a consistent climbing partner.


whileyh

I'm sure it is some fine scrambling
06/24/2020 10:21
But this TR also shows new beta and how to keep these safely at C2. Ben is definitely not at fault for bailing on the ridge. That was allllll meeeeee. Some days you just wake up afraid of the world, or just never actually fall asleep to begin with. I did what I needed to on this day.


Trotter

good beta
06/24/2020 10:29
Those peaks need more info. Don't let the haters get you down


supranihilest

Beta
06/24/2020 10:42
Thanks, Trotter. These peaks needed some alternate routes for those who can't or won't do the scrambles or loose gullies, and here it is! A bit unintentional, sure, but it is what it is. Haters can hate all they want, it only makes them look bad.


d_baker

Hahaha!!
06/24/2020 12:42
hahaha haha ha.
Oh my. What banter there is to find here!


SnowAlien

Del
06/24/2020 13:08
meh


supranihilest

:)
06/24/2020 13:13
(:


supranihilest

This has been fun
06/24/2020 13:15
Tata.


whileyh

And on that note...
06/24/2020 17:13
Darin: yes I got a couple 12ers later that day. I also ended up going back with good company to get my Quartz Dome redemption a few days after the cougar incident.
I think Iâm at 89 consecutive days with at least 1 new ranked summit, according to LoJ (this site has only served to make me a bigger mountain monster than I was before logging my peaks on it).
I still try to get as many as I can each day, while also getting as much mileage & vert for what the peaks are worth.... so Iâm not that efficient ha


SephTR
On par
06/27/2020 04:03
With YouTube comment sections


supranihilest

You're a YouTube
06/27/2020 08:49
@SephTR: yeah, this is what happens when people get riled up over something someone else doesn't do. Not sure if you saw the others before they got deleted but there were some real doozies. Meh.


TakeMeToYourSummit

297 Road...
06/30/2020 10:20
...is definitely rough! But it was a fun offroading start for a friend & I a couple summers ago. We camped below treeline (the top section of the road to the lake looked very "damaging" as well). Now this is where it gets interesting... Because if you didn't get to scramble up the north ridge of 13,070 - tHeN yOu DiD nOt AcTuAlLy ClImB tHeSe MoUnTaInS!!!!111111!!1!!!111!

Totally kidding, but hey - raging at people on the internet is some peoples favorite thing. Strange world that we live in...


supranihilest

Almost back to 20, this is 19!
06/30/2020 17:27
I'm not sure Natalie's point was that I didn't climb the peaks, but just that I suck at climbing. She's not wrong. I am indeed not a very good climber (at least in my opinion), just an extremely prolific one. I did say I was going to come back (it's the second to last sentence of the report) since I am very curious, so I'll get to experience the "joy" of 297 all over again, plus actually have fun scrambling the ridge.


TakeMeToYourSummit

No...
06/30/2020 21:06
...it wasn't her point - it was mine! Well... at least my evil twin's opinion! FYI the 297 is the road from the north... if you end up repeating it - I would actually recommend that route. The north ridge of 070 did have some good scrambling! Not everything in my comment was asshatery!


supranihilest

Magic number
06/30/2020 21:20
Now we're at 21! We did it!

I maintain an "internal" list of routes that people recommend, are considered classics, didn't make sense to do the first time, weren't in season (couloirs especially), etc., so I've added 13,070's north ridge to it. Thanks for the suggestion, Brad! I shall dub it "Asshat Ridge" upon my eventual climb of it.


IHikeLikeAGirl

Very much appreciate the C2 option
10/12/2020 11:12
Thank you for this TR. Provided some much needed information for those of us who "can" scramble on loose, C3/4, exposed terrain, but prefer to avoid it. Maybe 1 less trip to the ER for me?



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