Peak(s):  Winfield Pk  -  13,077 feet
Virginia Pk  -  13,088 feet
"West Virginia"  -  13,140 feet
"Sheep Rock Mtn"  -  13,255 feet
PT 13,235  -  13,235 feet
PT 13,253  -  13,253 feet
PT 13,253 South  -  13,253 feet
Granite Mountain, 12,848 (unranked)
Date Posted:  07/03/2020
Modified:  07/04/2020
Date Climbed:   06/27/2020
Author:  bmcqueen
 Winfield to Granite Loop  

Winfield to Granite Loop

I had originally planned to zip down to Chicago Basin for the weekend to get my last summer grid spot - that pesky North Eolus that I ignored my first time in the basin back in July 2003. I hadn't done those peaks in June, so I would also get new grid spots on the other three for my efforts from Purgatory. When decision time came, the weather for Saturday, which needed to be a big day, just didn't look promising enough to justify the long drive there and back Friday and Sunday. Instead, I opted for the better weather forecast in the Sawatch and decided to get some new 13ers instead.

20284_17
A look at most of the loop just after sunrise.

I had read supranihilest's trip report on the Virginia group, which described a less than pleasant early morning creek crossing along with a couple of exposed moves on loose rock at the end of the loop to get back to the Continental Divide Trail at the saddle near Lake Ann. I decided to modify my route slightly for those couple unpleasantries.

Saturday June 27, 2020

Stats
Solo
13.87 miles per my In-Reach
11:28 car to car
~5,000 vertical feet

I decided to camp up the Winfield Road a bit past the cemetery, just before the Continental Divide Trail. Scouting out the map and the bushwhack up to Winfield Peak, I was going to need to cross the creek. I wandered up to the CDT Friday night from camp, thinking there would probably be a bridge. Sure enough, a nice bridge, so I would not start my morning with cold wet feet.

20284_02
CDT bridge across the creek near my camp.

I left camp at 3:34 AM since there was a chance of thunderstorms about 2:00 PM and crossed the bridge in the dark. The early bushwhack wasn't terrible as I aimed for the road. I followed it for a bit, but it clearly didn't get much use and kept vanishing in the growth. I finally just headed uphill again to get out of the trees.

20284_05
Looking up towards Winfield Peak once out of the trees and on the ridge (road is visible just below the saddle).

Given that it was a summer Saturday, it was no surprise to see a line of headlights driving up the 390 road towards the Missouri Gulch or Huron THs.

20284_04
Headlights off in the distance on the 390 Road.
20284_14
Almost to Winfield Peak with Virginia (center) and the Apostles on the left.

I was on top of Winfield 2:31 after starting, then zipped over to Virginia at the 2:51 mark. Sunrise from Winfield was lovely.

20284_16
From Winfield.
20284_61
Looking towards Virginia

From Virginia, I headed west to none other than "West Virginia" and climbed up to its much smaller summit (3:46 elapsed). Most of the peaks on the loop had old summit registers - always fun to see familiar names. I added mine, then continued moving along.

20284_20
Off to "West Virginia"

"Sheep Rock" was up next (4:26 elapsed) then the UNs - 13,235, 13,253 and 13,253 (south). The ridges between these peaks are all very straight forward, so forgive me for not offering much in the way of beta. Pretty much - from one summit, descend to the saddle, ascend to the next summit and repeat.

20284_22
Apostles in the distance and Granite in the foreground.

I was 5:23 in at 13,235, 6:57 in at 13,253 and 7:12 in at 13,253 (south). I looked longingly at the Apostles all day, knowing that I would be on West Apostle in the morning (see Joel's report on that).

20284_28
Grizzly Peak E off in the distance. I briefly considered a side trip, but opted to save it for another day.
20284_29
Jenkins and the Elk Range to the northwest.
20284_36
Taylor Park Reservoir to the southwest.

As I headed around the loop, I was thinking about the icky descent down the tail end of the loop and also eyeing a 12er in the center called Granite Mountain. The ridge to Granite goes from 13,253 and looked broken/loose, but doable. I took one more look from 13,253, then went over to 13,253 (south) to finish the 13ers, then returned to 13,253 to descend the ridge towards Granite.

20284_43
Almost to 13,253 and 13,253 (south).


20284_48
Lake Ann barely visible below the Apostles.

I stayed mostly ridge proper where the rock was more solid. For the most part, I would say Class 2+ with maybe an easy class 3 move here and there. There are a LOT of ups and downs on the ridge to Granite though - a bit annoyingly so. I hoped maybe I was at least getting a ranked 12er (it's not).


20284_49
Looking at the long, chossy ridge to Granite Mountain.
20284_57
Looking across at the Apostles from the Granite Ridge. It would be easy to bail straight into the basin from here.


20284_58
More ups and downs en route to Granite with Huron behind.


I summited Granite at the 8:57 elapsed time mark, then descended back to the south and east to return to the CDT. Once again - not a terrible bushwhack. A couple with a child carrier seemed a little surprised to look behind them on the trail and find someone there where there hadn't been before. After a quick hello, I continued down the CDT back towards civilization (ok, so the closest thing would be the Huron TH). I actually decided I wasn't ready for that much civilization after not seeing another soul on my loop, so I decided to stay on the CDT as it cut back west just before the Huron TH. I find the "Hope Pass" sign somewhat odd since the sign points west and Hope Pass is north and east, but I knew the trail would take me right back to my campsite. Two more nice bridges, a water refill from the stream and I was cruising on easy, mostly flat terrain the last couple miles back to camp. I was back at camp about 3:00 PM, ready to relax and refuel before doing West Apostle Sunday with Joel and Staci Q.

20284_59
Ah, tomorrow's project...

Very mellow loop overall that is certainly doable with a decent forecast. Thanks for reading.


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
CaptCO

Wow what a route
07/03/2020 17:19
Iâll have to try this sometime. Thanks for the great write-up. Any camp sites seen along the way? Assuming so from the write-up. Nice job


Bombay2Boulder

Memories
07/04/2020 08:51
Great trip report. I did this last fall before the first big snowstorm of the season, brings back sweet memories.



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