Peak(s):  PT 13,106  -  13,106 feet
PT 13,091  -  13,091 feet
Date Posted:  07/15/2020
Date Climbed:   07/11/2020
Author:  WildWanderer
 Nellie and East Nellie from Nellie Creek  

Nellie Peak – 13,106 and East Nellie Peak – 13,091


20364_01


RT Length: 13.72 miles

Elevation Gain: 3833’


These are two easy peaks from a difficult trailhead.


Wow, the 4WD road to Nellie Creek is much worse than I remember! It’s absolutely 4WD from the turnoff, all 4 miles to the trailhead, with 2 creek crossings. Have I mentioned I love my truck?


20364_02


20364_03


I made it to the trailhead, which was empty. There were a few dispersed campers in the area however, taking shade beneath the trees.


20364_04


The trailhead was also very much in the open, so I turned around and drove a short distance and parked my truck in a narrow parking spot under the trees, just off the road. There were mosquitoes all around, so I ate dinner in the back of my truck, jotted down notes and checked my topo map for tomorrow. I decided to go to the trailhead to take a look around and get a visual for the start of tomorrow’s hike. There was a couple with a dog standing in front of the trail maps when I arrived. Their dog charged at me, barking loudly. The couple seemed surprised and apologized for their dogs behavior. That dog barked all night long.


I walked back to my truck, took care of a branch that had been scratching the roof of the truck like a critter trying to get in, and read for a bit before turning out the light.


If you couldn’t already tell by the tone of this post, from the time got to the trailhead I wasn’t ‘feeling it’. This rarely happens to me, and I was thinking maybe I need a short break from my goals? Or maybe expand them a bit? I love to hike, but today I couldn’t seem to get myself out of bed to start. I blame it on yesterday’s failed attempt on Coxcomb, which put my training into a different perspective.


Also, I was still worried about the injured horse. My mind had a lot to think about and I couldn’t turn it off. I finally started on the trail at 4:15am.


The trail starts at the north end of the parking area and follows a well defined, class 1 trail.


20364_05


20364_06


After hiking for 1 mile I turned right at this sign and switchbacked up the side of the mountain


20364_07


After hiking for 2 miles I made it to the top of the pass


20364_08


It was still dark at this time, and I knew I needed to descend a couple hundred feet. The trail seemingly ended and it took me a while to figure out which way to go, but there is an actual trail here that picks up again after about 50 feet of absence. In the daylight it wouldn’t have been an issue. I finally found it and descended in to the basin. And descended, and descended, and descended. I looked at my altimeter, concerned I’d lost too much elevation. At this point I’d lost 800’, and I could tell I’d need to lose several hundred more before starting to gain elevation again. The sun was starting to rise and I still didn’t have a good visual of the peak I’d intended to climb. I still wasn’t ‘feeling it’ and didn’t like the prospect of gaining 1000’+ at the end of today’s hike after climbing up gullies (I’m not a fan of gullies). I decided to call it and turn around. I headed back up towards the pass. I’d much rather get my elevation gain in the beginning of the hike, rather than at the end. However, I wasn’t done hiking for the day; just changing my plans. When I made it back to the pass I turned and headed east up the side of Unnamed PT 13106 (which I later found out is nicknamed Nellie Point, so that’s how I’ll refer to the peak. Names are better than numbers IMO).


20364_09


This was mostly a tundra hike until the end, when the tundra turned into very large rocks.


20364_10


These rocks were fun to navigate, kind of like a maze with large obstacles to go around. All class 2. My mood improved dramatically and I was excited to be out adventuring.


20364_11


20364_12


There were several large cairns on the long summit. I wasn’t sure which one was the actual summit until I found a summit register inside one of the cairns. It was kind of in the middle of the summit area (which was about a quarter mile long).


20364_13


20364_14


Nellie Peak:

From the summit of Nellie Peak I continued following the long summit northeast. There was still some leftover snow here from winter, which didn’t pose a problem at all.


20364_15


While on the ridge I scared a Ptarmigan mother and her chicks (they scared me too, as I didn’t notice them until the mother squawked). Immediately the chicks dispersed and the mother pretended to be injured, leading me away from her babies. I kept telling the mother I didn’t want anything to do with her or her chicks, but unfortunately she was leading me exactly in the direction I needed to go. She did a wonderful, if unnecessary, job leading me away from her babies. When she felt I was far enough away she flew back in their direction, chirping to gather them all together again.


20364_16


Ptarmigan:

From the summit ridge I could see East Nellie Point, but getting there isn’t as easy as it initially looked.


20364_17


I followed the ridge almost to the saddle and then turned and headed east, losing 600’ of elevation. Luckily this part of the hike was mostly on rolling tundra and wasn’t too taxing.


20364_18


Once at the bottom I was able to avoid the small pond/creek and ascend the hillside towards East Nellie PT.


20364_19


This was still rolling tundra, and there were even game trails in the area (and tons of elk tracks). At the top of the tundra hill I had about a quarter mile of tundra to walk through to the final summit push (if you could call it that).


20364_20


20364_21


The final push to the summit was rocky and there was no trail, but it was straightforward


20364_22


There was a large cairn just before the summit


20364_23


The actual point of this summit was difficult to tell as well. Once again I knew I was at the summit when I found the summit register stashed inside a cairn


20364_24


20364_25


20364_26


Summit Photo:


20364_27


East Nellie Point:

Here are some photos from the hike back down. I decided to make this an out and back hike, retracing the steps I took to get here from Nellie Point.


20364_28


The tundra can be vast. Luckily, I could keep Uncompaghre Peak in my view most of the time, and just kept heading towards that 14er.


20364_29


I also had a good view of Silver Mountain (my original choice for a summit today). With this view I could see there was still snow at the top of the access gully, so it had been a good idea for me not to attempt that peak today because the snow was unavoidable and I’d left my ice axe in my truck (I had my crampons). I was feeling better about my choices.


20364_30


I hiked down to the valley and then back up to the ridge


20364_31


I followed the ridge back to Nellie Point


20364_32


20364_33


20364_34


And back down to the pass


20364_35


And the class 1 trail that leads you back to the trailhead


20364_36


20364_37


20364_38


20364_39


The trailhead now had several vehicles


20364_40


Also, I came to the conclusion it’s impossible to get a bad photo of Uncompaghre


20364_41


I made it back to my truck at 11:15am, making this a 13.72 mile hike with 3833’ of elevation gain in 7 hours. Obviously, I made this hike more difficult and added more elevation than needed, but in the end I was happy with today’s hiking change of plans. In fact, I wished I’d have made the choice to change routes earlier. Any day above treeline is a good day. The 4WD road was easier to navigate driving down than it was driving up.


Here’s a topo map of my route


20364_42





Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42


 Comments or Questions
angry

Coxcomb
07/15/2020 12:53
I only used a belay at the entry for less than 2ft and freed the chimney without any problem with my pack on. Contemplated taking the pack off and handing it up but since we had the rope, we used it for that short bit. The rest of the route felt super easy. I would think you'd be able to get to the summit with no problem if you passed that section. Happy to chat with you about it.


WildWanderer

Thanks!
07/15/2020 12:57
Yes, that's why I was so frustrated with myself I think I just tired and had psyched myself out mentally by that point. My arms were shot from filling up the chimney stacking rocks. None of the photos I had matched up nicely with what I could see in front of me, and I kept imagining worst case scenarios if I got stuck/was in the wrong area/ couldn't find a place to set an anchor, etc. so I decided to call it. I know now I was in the correct area, so I just need to try it again (with more stemming practice and confidence). I'd love to chat with you about it (at the next happy hour?).


angry

HH
07/15/2020 14:21
bring the pb whiskey!


d_baker

Silver access
07/15/2020 17:21
The snow at the saddle can easily be bypassed on the climber's right. We descended that a couple of weeks ago and stayed on dry ground from saddle down to valley floor.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.




© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.