Peak(s):  Rio Grande Pyramid  -  13,821 feet
"Fools Pyramid"  -  13,278 feet
Date Posted:  10/14/2010
Date Climbed:   10/09/2010
Author:  piper14er
 Rio Grande Pryamid - East Slopes  

Rio Grande Pyramid
PT 13,278
20.2 miles
5100 vertical feet

Drove down Friday morning and packed up to camp Friday afternoon, looking for the summit on Saturday. I believe that in the summer this would not be too bad a day to try for a one-day attempt. The trail is very good all the way to the saddle. Very nice area and great views.

You start at the Rio Grande Reservoir trailhead, 20.5 miles west of Creede on FS 520 11 miles or so to the Thirty Mile Campground. The trailhead starts from the parking area and follows the Weminuche Trail. The trail starts at 9300 feet and the standard trail is via the East Slopes.

The Weminuche Trail, which is the trail you want, starts south of the parking area where the trail heads to the right of the signboard/register. The Big Squaw Trail goes straight past the signboard.

Trail from parking area.

Go right past dogs.

High road and Rio Grande Reservoir.

Weminuche Wilderness.


Babbling brook.

Trail and still fall weather at 10,200 feet.

Weminuche Creek and valley looking towards Pine River.

Past the third major creek crossing (there are a few small creeks too) about 100 feet there is a mound of stones with a fallen post. This is where you turn west and begin some steeper parts of the trail. This is the Opal Lake Trail. It is not marked. There is a camp spot back at the creek just west of the trail where a half log aids in the crossing. The creek is only 10-12 feet wide at this time of year.

The trail at 11,400 looking south.

The fall weather is gradually changing to more winter like. Snow on the trail continues from here and up.

The first look at the "Window" and Rio Grande Pyramid at 11,740 feet.

The "Window".

Icicles and Rio Grande Pyramid.

The trail.

A "dragon's tail".

This pond is where I camped at 12,000 feet. Looks nice in the afternoon sun.

The pond the next morning. The temperature really dropped and it felt very wintery.

Alpenglow in the frigid morning air.

I followed the Opal Lake Trail west from my camp spot for about 0.8 miles to a right hand turn up the slopes on a "spur" trail.

This is on the saddle between Rio Grande Pyramid and PT 13,278. I went a little too far up on the saddle and was looking at this ridge to get over. The old toes were pretty cold at this point and I placed some toe warmers in the boots. Heavier gloves and a hat too.

Side slope looking at PT 13,278.

The "Window" again.

Heading up the ridge.

Summit. Approximately 2 and a half hours from camp for the 2 miles and 1800 feet.

San Juan majesty.



A view of Rio Grande from PT. 13,278. It took about an hour and a quarter from Rio Grande to Pt. 13,287.


It took 4 hours to get from the parking to my camp spot. A warning that between 11,740 and 12,000 feet there were a lot of downed trees fallen across the trail. A lot of zigging and sagging, over and under.

After summiting Rio Grande Pyramid it took about five and a half hours to get to PT. 13,278, back to camp and then pack out.

Definitely getting to be winter up high. The pond iced up over night. The rascally dogs kept pushing me off the sleeping pad and burrowing under the sleeping bag.

Last Centennial for the year, if so a grand(e) last one? Four to go (Dallas, Pigeon, Turret and Jagged).

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

10/14/2010 14:34
Awesome pics, looks beautiful. I think I had a nice view of the area from the top of Mt. Oxford! The first part of the trail looks really nice this time of year. The snow? Not so much.

Jon Frohlich

Looks cold...
10/14/2010 14:45
We did it in July last year. I remember the downed trees well. The post was still standing when we were there. If you look carefully it says 'Skyline Trail' in faded letters. We camped right across from it near the creek. Beautiful place. I wouldn't mind going back.


Very nice ...
10/14/2010 14:50
Love this area ... have spent so much time there. (insert sighing smiley face) Isn't that view from Rio Grande just awesome! Some beautiful photos. I remember that balanced rock from when we climbed 13,278. 8) Good to see Gwen again (who's her new friend ... I don't recall seeing that one before). Congrats on only 4 to go on the top 100. Thanks for posting. Take care and happy trails!


10/14/2010 14:58
Knocking down the Centennials!


10/14/2010 15:36
The other kelpie is Merlin.

A very nice area that I will need to get back to sometime.

Definitely need to acclimate to the cold a bit slower than overnight.

Hey I need help on a few Centennials left - Furthermore.


Great Time for the Pyramid
10/14/2010 16:53
Was down there about this time last year. Didn't bring the pooch though, all that hunting traffic scared me off. Nice Trip.


Fall classic
10/15/2010 01:32
I agree with Floyd, looks like a great time of year for this peak! I haven't done it yet, but plan to next year and will definitely shoot for a late Sept./early Oct. attempt. Always thought about doing it in a day, but I think that area looks like a nice place to linger for a couple of days.

Nice report, gorgeous photos. Thanks for posting, and congrats on the fine progress you're making on the Centennials.

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