Info on the approach to Kennedy and Aztec Mountain?

Colorado 13er peak questions, condition requests and other info.
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Info on the approach to Kennedy and Aztec Mountain?

Postby chinookhead » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:25 am

Hi.......I'll hopefully be climbing Kennedy and Aztec in the 2nd week of July. I plan on hiking up the Lime Mesa Trail and then setting up a base camp at Ruby Lake and then the following hiking up Kennedy and then Aztec. What are the best or easiest approaches to either of these mountains? I can't seem to find much info on these mountains.

It looks like in order to climb Kennedy from Ruby Lake, I should just follow the ridge to the east of Kennedy up to the summit. Next, I am not sure about the best approach to Aztec from this point. It looks like I'd be able to follow the ridge between Kennedy and Aztec up to the Summit, but it looks like this ridge may get a bit narrow (towers?). Instead, I could drop back into the valley north of Aztec and follow one of the gullies back up to the summit. I'd like to try to keep it below class 4. I'd love to hear about anyone's experience with either of these mountains and your advice to how to approach these mountains?

Eph 25, just did this hike and he had no trouble with Kennedy, but he says that he bailed on the approach to Aztec at the false summit when it got too "rough". Also, any advice on equipment that I may need would be helpful (crampons etc.). This topic was basically discussed here, but there was not much said about Aztec:
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Re: Info on the approach to Kennedy and Aztec Mountain?

Postby Floyd » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:48 am

I climbed Aztec from Chicago Basin last summer - well, I was actually coming from a climb of McCauley above Hazel Lake. I can't speak to Lime Mesa, but I became all too familiar with the terrain on the east side. The south side of Aztec is more or less a big pile of loose class 2 with some fun mixed in if you look hard enough.

The approach from the east (Pt. 13,190) is all class 2. The ridge itself holds some towers/complications, but they are all easily bypassed if you drop off to the south where it's all, albeit loose, class 2. Lower (12,300-12,500 range), the mesa flattens out and it would make for faster travel. I found a short but fun class 3-4 gully just SE of the summit to ascend and then descended easy class 2 to the SW of the summit (the way you'd be coming from).

I may have some useful pictures at home but let me know if you need them. I can say with a good amount of confidence that if you're comfortable with class 4, you won't have any problems summitting Aztec/Kennedy and likely won't find anything more than class 2 rubble. There are some incredible views into Chicago Basin from up there.

I'm very interested in that Lime Mesa/Ruby Lake area and those 12ers so any info gathering and a trip report would be very much appreciated if you have the chance. Have fun!
"Athletes express themselves physically, this is their art. As an athlete, exhausting oneself on the field or or on the track or on the trail or on the mountain brings calm and satisfaction. Thrashing about… our expression." - Steve Gleason
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Re: Info on the approach to Kennedy and Aztec Mountain?

Postby mattpayne11 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:59 pm

I climbed a peak right next to Aztec two years ago, was hoping to hit Aztec but ran out of gas in the legs / time. It should be pretty easy to approach from Silver Mesa / Endlich Mesa. That's how we did it. More here:
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Re: Info on the approach to Kennedy and Aztec Mountain?

Postby Eph 2 5 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:40 pm

I climbed Kennedy and most of Aztec this past weekend. I'm halfway through a trip report that I'll probably finish tomorrow that gives some info. on the Lime Mesa approach.
If I were going to climb these peaks from Ruby Lake, I'd head south from the lake up to the ridge and then approach them from the southwest. Kennedy was easy from the south via it's west ridge. From Kennedy's true, east summit I downclimbed some short sections of steep terrain that I'd call difficult class 2 without much exposure. From the Kennedy/Aztec saddle it was an easy class 2 stroll to it's western, false summit. The picture below shows the view from there. I bailed out at this point because it looked slightly rough and time consuming and I wanted to try to climb Overlook Point (to the west of Ruby Lake). I also didn't think the view would be that much better from the true summit. It was spectacular at the false summit. That being said, someone on a previous post mentioned there are only a couple of short class 3 sections on Aztec's west ridge approach.
I might be misunderstanding you, but regarding approaching it from the north, the gullies on the north side look steep and loose. See the picture below for one I thought had potential. Furthermore approached Aztec from Chicago Basin via a gully to the east of Aztec (see his trip report on Aztec).
I think you'd have a much easier time approaching these peaks from the south and hiking the ridge between Kennedy and Aztec.
These peaks have some of the best views I've seen. Have a great time!
gully between Aztec and Kennedy.JPG
Gully from north between Aztec and Kennedy
gully between Aztec and Kennedy.JPG (325.76 KiB) Viewed 128 times
aztec from the west.JPG
Aztec from the western, false summit
aztec from the west.JPG (313.69 KiB) Viewed 128 times

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