| Misc Sawatch 13ers
August 4, 2011
~11.9 Miles, ~5,500 Gain.
Trailhead: Start New York Creek TH, Finish Tabor Creek TH. (2WD, High Clearance Recommended)
This was the beginning of my 2011 13ener palooza. With marginal afternoon forecasts, I knew I had to get an early start and do somewhat shorter days to be successful. In order to break up the drive to the San Juans, I decided to hit some remaining 13eeners I had along the way. My wife and I drove over Independence Pass and found a good camping spot near the New York Creek TH.
I slept in a bit and started hiking up the New York Creek Trail around 6:15 AM. Shortly thereafter, I intercepted the aqueduct service road which made for faster travel. After passing Brooklyn Creek (~50 yards), I found a cairn that showed the “trail” up Brooklyn Creek. The first few hundred feet of the trail were easy to follow but then the hiking became a bushwhack. Although, the topo shows a trail heading up Brooklyn Gulch, the trail was hard to follow and from what I could tell, was rarely used. From time to time, heading up Brooklyn Gulch I would find the trail and then loose it. I wouldn't recommended this trail as an ascent option.
First view of the peaks from Brooklyn Gulch
West Tellurium from Brooklyn Gulch.
Bushwhacking upwards, I remained on the west side of the creek until ~11,400 where I crossed Brooklyn Creek and then climbed up in the trees to ~11,800. At ~12,000, I circumnavigated Brooklyn Gulch and headed for the West Tellurium-Tellurium saddle. The upper valley was pretty impressive with granite blocks protruding from the surface everywhere.
Once I reached the West Tellurium-Tellurium saddle, I ditched my pack and headed up the southeast, class 2, talus slopes of West Tellurium. Staying on the ridge proper, I found a few short sections of class 3 which could be avoided to the north/right side of the ridge. The talus ended and I walked on grassy slopes to the summit where I arrived at 9:20 AM.
Italian Mountain from the Tellurium-West Tellurium saddle.
Southeast ridge of West Tellurium.
Tellurium from West Tellurium.
Tabor from West Tellurium.
My stay was short and I returned to the West Tellurium-Tellurium saddle. I picked up my pack and started up the class 2 talus west ridge towards Tellurium. To save elevation gain, I tried bypassing 13,230 to the south but it wasn't feasible so I stayed on the ridge (some short sections of class 3). I arrived on the summit of Tellurium at 10:20 AM. Weather was starting to build so I knew I had to hustle towards Tabor.
West ridge of Tellurium. The class 3 can be seen.
Tabor from Tellurium.
To save time, I descended the north rib off of the west ridge of Tellurium. The north ridge proper from the summit appeared to have some sustained class 3 scrambling which I am sure would make a fine ascent but I was descending. I descended to the lake at ~12,480 and then climbed up a junky talus slope to the Tellurium-Tabor saddle. Too bad the weather wasn't going to hold long enough for me to explore the south ridge of Tabor. It looked like Tabor's south ridge may harbor some really good scrambling.
South ridge on Tabor.
From the Tellurium-Tabor saddle, I descended northeast towards Tabor Creek. At ~12,200, I contoured on talus slopes towards Tabor Lake. Once at the lake, I hiked around the east side of the lake and started up a scree slope to the Tabor-13,026 saddle. The weather was looking marginal but doable.
After reaching the Tabor-13,026 saddle, I hiked up the solid class 2 south ridge to Tabor where I arrived at noon. The south ridge was amazing; solid, narrow and fun. My stay was short and I returned back to Tabor Lake. From Tabor Lake, I followed the trail back to the Tabor Creek trailhead where I was picked up. As I was descending the trail, the thunderstorms rolled in.
Great north ridge on Tabor.
The beginning of stormy weather on Tabor; taken on the descent.
I think if I were to repeat these 3 peaks, I would do the trip in the opposite order. Better ascent trail and possibly good climbing on the north ridge of Tellurium.
August 5, 2011
~10.7 Miles, ~4,300 Gain.
Trailhead: South Fork TH end of FS 504 (2WD)
We found a decent camping spot near the trailhead and I started hiking up the South Fork trail at 5:30 AM. I wasn't going to be pressured this time by impending bad weather. Following the South Fork trail was easy but damp as all of the willows and grass were wet from the rain the night prior. At ~10,950 I left the South Fork trail and looked for a spot to cross the river, which was challenging. Although the water volume was small, the water was deep, wide and slow moving. If I wasn't wet before, I certainly was after thrashing around in the willows. In hindsight, I should have crossed at a rocky section just before the valley that contains Deadman Lake at ~10,900.
Now that I was thoroughly wet after crossing the river, I headed up the south edge of a large avalanche debris slope directly across from Deadman Lake. Climbing upwards, I finally reached the north ridge of 13,026. I took a short break on the ridge and then headed south towards the summit which was mostly a grassy hike with some short talus sections. I arrived on the summit of 13,026 at 9:10 AM; it was long haul from the trailhead.
False summit of 13,026.
Williams mountain group from 13,026.
Point 12,801 and 13,003 from 13,026.
Moving onward, I continued north towards 12,801. I couldn't stay on the ridge proper due to large blocks so I dropped below the ridge a few times. The summit block from the south looked intimidating but I was able to climb on easy terrain on the east side of the ridge to the summit where I arrived at 10:10 AM. There was an impressive herd of elk between me and 13,003.
The summit of 12,801 from the south.
13,003 from the summit of 12,801.
13,026 from the summit of 12,801.
The terrain between 12,801 and 13,003 was gentle class 2 terrain and I arrived on the summit of 13,003 at 10:40 AM. To my bewilderment, I met 2 other people on the summit. I was the third signature in the register this year and the two prior to my name were sharing the summit with me. It's very rare to run into people on low 13eners.
After a short break, I headed down the blocky north ridge of 13,003 and at ~12,000 I started an angling traverse downwards towards the gauging station/trailhead. Eventually, I just found an easy grassy slope towards the river. I followed the river until I could find a decent log to cross on and intercepted the South Fork Trail which took me back to my car at 12:30 AM. The storms followed a few hours after I arrived back.
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