Approximately 20.2 miles and 12,800 vertical feet. (A disclaimer on the gpx - I had to do a few edits due to dead batteries, lost satellites and a some wandering around atc camp before turning it off but it should be okay as a guide).
I had four (4) Centennial Peaks to go and this was one way to knock off three (3) of the four. I can't say it it is the best way to get these peaks but it is a way.
No-Name was No-Fun and North Pigeon was a Turkey.
The loop includes two passes, three creek trails and a saddle. Yes I did hike past at least a few other 13er's enroute (Peak Twelve for instance) that will have to wait until another time.
Boarded the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Train Friday morning at 9:15 am from Durango. We were dropped off at 12:00 noon at the Needleton Bridge.
Scott crossing the Needleton Bridge.
Take an immediate left at the end of the bridge and head north towards Pigeon Creek.
Past the rusty rail cart.
Follow the trail through private property and just 20-30 feet before you reach Pigeon Creek you will see the old gate laying down on your right. Cross Pigeon Creek and head into “Camper’s Meadow”. Go past the downed tree to the north and leave the main trail. You will follow a faint trail to the left (north-slightly northwest) as it leaves the meadow and 100 feet or so north of the downed tree. The trail is faint but does get you to the next meadow called “Hunter’s Meadow”.
Continue north out of this meadow along the Animas Trail. The trail is there and will gain elevation above the train tracks and leads you up and past the water tank. This is the “infamous “Watertank Hill”. There is a trail to follow to the top of the hill. You will see the water tank.
Note: Okay, here is where it would be appropriate to let you know that this is an arduous approach to a remote peak. You get off the train at noon. You are now hiking during the hottest part of the day. You have a heavy pack if you are staying more than a few days.
The drop down “Watertank Hill” is steep and loose. It is not really too bad unless your pack decides to knock you down. Dry is okay, wet will be problematic.
Once at the bottom of this quick downclimb you are heading north with the Animas to your left. The trail may or may not be there for you and is generally faint at best. You will cross Ruby Creek en-route to No-Name Creek. The distance from the train to No-Name Creek is approximately 2.3 miles. It is bushwhacking and route finding. If you have a trail and look up you probably have lost it.
Once at No-Name Creek you will have to try to find a good crossing that won’t leave you climbing a 25 foot high rocky embankment on its north side. It looks as though closer to the Animas may be better?
Up to now you have not gained any elevation. Once across the creek gain a few hundred feet up to a level area where you could camp. I did not see any pipes. The trail heads east now and follows No-Name. There is a trail to follow although at a few places it is faint.
I did not get too many pictures along the way as I was concentrating on hauling myself and way too heavy pack up the trail.
After a hot and sometimes steep hike you reach Jagged Cabin at 6.1 miles and 10,740 feet. This is where we camped. The trail will lead you up to a hilltop where you can look ahead.
Jagged Cabin and Outward Bound campers.
There are hardy souls who go higher to camp but between the train and hike to here that was enough for one day.
The next morning we packed up and headed across the basin to another camp spot at the base of the No-Name Ruby Creek Pass drainage at 6.8 miles and 10,760 feet on the north side of No-Name Creek. We pitched tents and extra gear before heading up the 3100 feet and 2.6 miles to Jagged.
Morning start from Jagged Cabin.
The trail moves faintly along and you head up steep hills, then level out, up steep hills, then level out. We walked past a faint trail and cairn in the morning that was the trail…
Cairn and turnoff we found on the downclimb. See gpx track at N37-38-47 W107-36-20
…and continued a few hundred yards farther up to No-Name Creek. Once we neared the creek we turned left and hiked up the steep hill left of the creek up to 11,800 feet.
The meadow below and before Jagged at 11,800 feet
The trail was hit and misses as is normal the entire way. We skirted around the north side of the meadow and bogs as best as we could. We reached the small lake at 12,180 and hiked around the north side towards Jagged Pass.
Follow a faint trail up a grassy ridge to the cliffs. Turn right and skirt along the rocks and head for the pass, which is the rightmost saddle. We took the left one and then had some Class 3 scrambling across the ridge back to the south and the correct saddle. We found cairns on the downclimb.
Jagged Mountain from the correct Jagged Pass saddle.
Following the trail to Jagged.
There was no need for axes, no snow in our path. We proceeded to the first crux. Route finding is a priority.
Climbing into the first crux.
Climbing above first crux.
Looking down the first crux.
Up the grassy ledges.
We moved left along the snow filled couloir…
…and up to here.
We climbed to our right and followed cairns and trail to the second crux. The larger rock in the center with black lines.
From the base of the rock we moved around to the right and up here. Scott climbing up.
Okay, so far so good. We headed along the trail and climbed up towards the third crux.
Warning: Do not continue past this point. There are cairns and there is a trail that continues over and up to what looks like a nice v-notch. This will take you to a “jag” but you will not be able to traverse back to the summit. We ran into another climber who had just tried that and described his little adventure.
Looking down at Scott on the third crux and fellow climber behind him.
… Jagged to be continued in Part 2 (yes I know there is a way to upload more than 30 pictures but I have not tried it)…
…Pigeon and Turret to be continued in Part 3…
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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