Rinker Peak
South Slopes
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Trailhead:Willis Gulch
Start:9,300 feet
Summit:13,783 feet
Total Gain:4,550 feet
RT Length:11.50 miles
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:10/2016
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:13 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

15 miles south of Leadville, turn west onto CO 82 (Independence Pass road) and drive approximately 8.5 miles on CO 82 to reach the signed Willis Gulch trailhead on the left.

Route

At the southwest end of the parking area, locate a foot bridge and cross to the south side of Lake Creek - 1. Turn RIGHT off the bridge and walk a few yards before turning LEFT - 2. Walk a bit farther and turn left on the trail for "Big and Little Willis" creeks - 3. Pass between some beaver ponds and follow the trail up a hill to another junction - 4. Stay right for "Big and Little Willis" creeks. On the well-defined trail ( 5), walk another mile to reach a foot bridge and cross to the east side of Willis Creek - 6. Immediately after the bridge, turn right at yet another trail junction - 7. Walk another 0.4 mile and reach a junction for Little and Big Willis Creeks; Stay right for "Big Willis" - 8.

Now on a slightly less-defined trail, hike southwest along Willis Gulch, cross a stream on a weak log bridge ( 9) and walk another 0.5 mile before crossing to north side of Willis Gulch on one more log bridge - 10. Continue southwest along Willis Gulch to reach open terrain, near 11,000' ( 11), pass through some boulder fields ( 12) and keep walking southwest - 13. As you hike higher into the Gulch, you can see Mt. Blaurock and Point 13,302' to the west but Rinker's summit is hidden up to the right. When you reach 11,600', you can finally see Rinker's summit up to your right, but it's not obvious - 14. Follow the trail to 11,700' and stop at the base of a large, grassy slope+gully which rises to your right (north) - 15. The slope provides easy access to the saddle between Rinker and Twin Peaks but it's nearly 1,500' of elevation gain.

Leave the Willis Gulch trail and hike northwest up the slope, which turns into a broad gully - 15. As you hike higher, you'll likely find an old, faint trail which zigzags up much of the gully. Follow this trail until it runs out near 12,400' and then continue up the steepening gully - 16, 17 and 18. Reach the saddle at 13,200' - 19. Turn left and follow Rinker's Class 2 east ridge ( 20, 21 and 22) to reach the summit - 23 and 24.

Notes

None
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Topo

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