Combo: Garfield from Grizzly
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Difficulty:
 Easy Class 3 
Trailhead:McNasser Gulch
Start:11,000 feet
Summit:13,780 feet
Total Gain:3,400 feet
RT Length:7.0 miles
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:10/2016
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:46 reports
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? (WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. All 14er routes are more difficult and more dangerous in winter.

Trailhead

From U.S. 24 south of Leadville, take Colorado 82 west towards Twin Lakes. Drive 14.5 miles on Colorado 82 and turn left at the marked La Plata Peak Trailhead. Just left of the parking area, take Forest Service (FS) road 391 (South Fork Lake Creek Road). Drive 2.7 miles on this road to reach a junction - stay right on FS 391. At 3.2 miles, reach a junction for FS 394. This junction is considered the "lower" trailhead so if you had problems getting this far, park in this area. If you have 4WD and good clearance, turn right on FS 394 and continue 1.1 miles to the upper trailhead where the road is gated at 11,360'.

Route

First, use Grizzly Peak's east ridge route to reach the summit of Grizzly. Looking south to Garfield Peak ( 1), you might think the traverse looks difficult but it really isn't. While there are some easy, Class 3 moves required after you make the Garfield summit, they are brief. Leave the Grizzly summit by taking a few steps back to the west before dropping west below the ridge crest. Hike south on some loose rock ( 2 and 3) to avoid the more-difficult terrain along the ridge crest. After a short distance, regain the ridge - 4. Follow the ridge toward a ~13,650-foot point which sits between Grizzly and Garfield - 5. Without going over the top, follow a trail onto and around Point 13,650 ( 6 and 7) to reach a saddle before Garfield - 8.

Continue to Garfield on a faint trail and take a moment to study the terrain - 9. You could probably go straight up the ridge on Class 3 terrain but if you're looking for the easiest way to the summit, it's around to the right, on Class 2 terrain. Swing right (south) a bit before beginning your ascent of Garfield's upper, south slopes - 10 and 11. Gradually climb left and regain the ridge at a point where you're comfortable. 12 shows a point on the ridge which you could bypass by continuing a bit farther right before gaining the ridge. If you do hit the ridge in this area, simply scramble east along the ridge crest. 0.1 mile before the summit, the ridge becomes much easier, providing an obvious line to the top - 13, 14 and 15.

You could return over Grizzly but most people take a more-direct descent of Garfield's ugly, north slopes. Walk a few feet east from Garfield's summit and locate an easy, Class 3 exit on the RIGHT (south) side of the ridge - 16. Descend this pitch before continuing east and north back to the north side of the ridge - 17. Scramble a bit farther east along the north side of the ridge and descend north on a loose scree slope - 18. Once below the sloppy slope, head northeast out of upper McNasser Gulch ( 19 and 20) and return to your approach by descending into the gulch and intersecting your ascent line, near 12,200'.

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20
Topo

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