| Misc Telluride 13eeners
August 8, 2011
~5.8 Miles, ~3,400 Gain.
Trailhead: Swamp Canyon turn off of Ophir Pass Road (2WD, High Clearance Recommended)
Could I really be this lucky? Sleeping in felt good and my wife and I made the casual drive to Ophir from the Elks. With crystal clear skies I started hiking up the old closed Swamp Canyon road at 3:00 PM. The road was easy to follow but I completely missed the trail turn off to the upper basin just north of “V 3.” There was a large cairn marking the junction (found on the way down) which I somehow missed.
I figured out my mistake and cut directly west, upward, to regain the trail which I did at ~11,000. Delightfully, the trail was excellent as it took me into the upper basin located at ~11,500. As with most trails, it ended and I ended up walking up grassy slopes on the south side of the basin to climb to the 12,348-”V3” saddle. Only about the last 100-200 feet to the saddle had scree.
South Lookout Peak from Swamp Canyon
V3 from Swamp Canyon.
From the 12,348-”V3” saddle, I headed north up some “stable” talus aiming for the mellow west slopes of “V3.” Once on the west slopes I aimed for a steep gully that would take me to the summit ridge. The next 300-500 feet to the gully really sucked. Compact, dried, San Juan mud rock made things hard. The climbing, although not very steep, was very challenging. I think this section would be much easier after a rain storm as it would soften the mud, actually making suitable foot holds.
V3 from the 13,348-V3 saddle.
West slopes of V3
Route up V3
Reaching the gully was demanding. Once I reached the gully, there were a few very short class 3 moves to bypass a short cliff in the gully which then took to the north ridge of “V3.” At first, the summit block didn't look climbable but as I approached closer I was able to follow a ledge on the east side of the peak which allowed me to climb the south end of the block (class 2). I arrived on the summit at 5:15 PM. Amazing views of the Ice Basin peaks and of US Grant.
Shot class 3 section on V3
Summit block on V3
Traverse on the east side of the summit block on V3.
Grant from V3
Apparently, there is a way to US Grant from “V3” but I was unable to find it when I tried to combine “V3” with Grant. The ridge between the two still looked very difficult and there still didn't appear to be a good way to combine the two peaks. I retraced my steps back down the gully and took my time down the San Juan dried mud slope. It was more difficult to descend than ascend. Working my way back to the basin north of “V3,” I found the trail and arrived back at my car at 6:00 PM and then enjoyed some fine brews at Smugglers in Telluride.
August 9, 2011
~8.8 Miles, ~4,400 Gain.
Trailhead: The top of Bridalveil falls (High clearance recommended)
Without a doubt this could be done as a day trip but due to construction on the road where there were road closures until 10:30 AM and the lack of good camping near Telluride, we decided to make this a short backpack. Our stay wouldn't be long. We loaded our packs up and made a short mile hike up the valley until we found a decent camping spot.
I woke up at 7:00 AM and continued my hike into Bridalveil Basin following an old road. Around ~12,200, I left the trail and headed towards the Wasatch-La Junta saddle. The wildflowers in the basin were just about as good as the flowers in Yankee Boy Basin. Once I arrived at the saddle, I took a short break and started up the obnoxious talus northeast ridge on Wasatch and once above Point 12,815, the travel became much more enjoyable as the rock “stablized.”
Morning light in Bridalveil Basin.
Waterfalls in Bridalveil Basin.
Wasatch was much more docile than some of the other 13eeners I have climbed in the area; I arrived on the summit at 9:20 AM. Looking across the valley, I admired an old favorite, Three Needles. Returning to the Wasatch-La Junta saddle, I started up the more enjoyable north slopes of La Junta where there appeared to be some sort of trail. I arrived on the summit of La Junta at 10:00 AM and continued north towards my last summit, 13,145.
First view of Wasatch.
La Junta from the north ridge of Wasatch.
Ice Basin group from Wasatch.
Sneffels from Wasatch.
La Junta from Wasatch.
Point 13,145 from La Junta.
Wasatch from La Junta.
The north ridge of La Junta wasn't as straightforward as the south ridge as I had to bypass a small cliff on the west side of the ridge. Wandering closer to 13,145, there didn't appear to be an easy descent into Jackass Basin but scouted a grassy rib about 100 feet above the saddle that descended east of of the south ridge of 13,145.
North ridge on La Junta from 13,145.
Grassy slopes were enjoyable to the summit 13,145 where I arrived at 10:30 AM. The summit had some unique views of Telluride and of Sneffels. From the summit, I returned to the grassy rib and had a steep descent into the less traveled Jackass Basin.
Silver Lake Basin from 13,145.
Neat Hoodoos in Jackass Basin.
With a little scouting on the northeast side of Jackass Basin, I found an old cabin and the trail that would lead me back to the road in Bridalveil Basin. I could tell that the trail wasn't traveled much. Eventually, I intercepted the trail leading into Silver Lake Basin which appeared to be much more heavily traveled, even running into people. The trail junction is just below a large cliff band and would be hard to find ascending up the trail.
Looking back up Jackass Basin.
Descent down Bridalveil Basin.
I returned to camp, packed up, and hiked back to the car where we encountered many people hiking into Bridalveil Basin. We returned to the car just a little after 12:15 PM. The exodus of people visiting Bridalveil Falls was rather disappointing, not to mention that some of them were complete assholes.
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