Peak(s):  Grizzly Pk A  -  13,988 feet
Garfield Pk A  -  13,780 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2008
Modified:  07/15/2008
Date Climbed:   07/12/2008
Author:  KevinK
 Grizzly loop   

Grizzly Peak 13988/ Garfield Peak 13780
East ridge to South ridge loop - Approximately 7.5m 3300ft

I met up with Matt (Del Sur) Thursday night in Aspen and despite a pretty restless night (after a bear sniffed around my tent I slept with my ice axe) we climbed Castle and Conundrum on Friday. Our original plan was to then go on and try for either the SW ridge of Hagerman or the Snowmass S ridge on Saturday. This plan was quickly scratched as we were stopped about 4-5 miles fron the trailhead by an avalanche over the road.We decided to go for plan B and headed back towards Independence pass. As if the bear the night before hadn't been enough of a sign that we should go climb Grizzly in the first place I then saw two more bears as I drove over the pass (followed by a fox, a rabbit, a porcupine, several deer and one young bull elk). We pulled into a campsite next to the rushing river and quickly headed off to bed.

The next morning as we drove up into the basin below Grizzly we were immediately struck by the beauty of the area. This is definitely a gem of the Sawatch range.


We hiked up easy terrain into the basin until we saw a nice route leading north up to the ridge. As we grunted up the steep slopes we noticed a prominent bump that appeared to anchor the end of Grizzlys south ridge. Since it wasn't too far out of the way and the idea of circling the whole basin sounded appealing we decided to head on up. The route over to the bump was loose and annoying but upon reaching the top we were awarded with this view of the area and our route ahead.

From here we made good time and enjoyed lots of optional scrambling along the ridge top. There is quite a bit of loose rock along this ridge but with a little care it can be a fun and safe scramble.


Soon we reached a point where we could see the real difficulties of our route.

Climbing up through this section was a bit of an adventure. I wanted to stay as close to the ridge as possible and avoid the snow below. This involved a series of class 3 and 4 moves through some steep terrain. As before there were a lot of loose holds and we moved carefully. Matt said something about not wanting to downclimb this section and I assured him that I had already decided not to.

We left the worst of the difficulties and reached the summit ridge. There was some interesting stone up there that reminded me of slickrock.


Soon we were standing on the summit of Grizzly looking down on the long ridge we had just climbed.

After a nice long break we felt refreshed and I convinced Matt that we should head over Garfield peak and then off route down the long ridge along the south side of the basin.

As we reached the top of Garfield and descended towards the next saddle it became apparent that the ridge ridge bump ahead wouldn't be easy.


Beer sounded better than pain at this point so we decided to call it off and scree surf down a well worn track to the basin below instead. The terrain in the basin consisted of a leisurely stroll down nice grassy slopes and a few short glissades. We were back at the truck sipping ice cold Dogfish Head IBA's a short time later.




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Jon Frohlich

07/14/2008 13:37
We actually saw you guys over on that bump from the summit. My partner and I were on the summit around 9:30am. We wondered what 2 people were doing over there. We had come up the normal way and decided not to go to Garfield and headed back down. That must have been your FJ parked next to her Cherokee.

Jon Frohlich

Bumper stickers
07/14/2008 14:32
I‘m thinking I should get a 14ers sticker from Bill and put it right next to the other one on my 4Runner. It will be like dual-citizenship. I‘ll confuse everyone!


Nice day!
10/22/2008 10:35
Dam, Kevin! It looked like you two had a very nice day. Quite an interesting ridge and alt. to doing Grizzley and Garfield. That ridge looks cool.
I love the wildflower and butterfly shots by the way. Seems with all the snowmelt, the Sawatch has had an explosion of colour!
Good report, man!


Great day!
07/20/2010 14:06
It was a beautiful day and a great route. Kiefer and Jon, we‘ll definitely have to meet up for some more hikes this summer.


Chicks with Picks
01/19/2011 03:38
Kevin, now we know who at least one of them was (jk, Jon, we were joking about that bumper sticker all day).
This was a great day. Thanks for writing it up!
Too bad there‘s nothing on the menu for this week...

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