Support 14ers.com
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  North Arapaho Pk  -  13,502 feet
South Arapaho Pk  -  13,397 feet
"Old Baldy"  -  13,038 feet
 Post Date:  08/30/2011 Modified: 08/13/2013
 Date Climbed:   08/27/2011
 Posted By:  bergsteigen
 Additional Members:   crossfitter

 Playing in my backyard: The Arapaho Traverse     


North Arapaho, South Arapaho & "Old Baldy"


Route: standard
Mileage: 10.6
Elevation Gain: 3,912'
Partners without cameras: Darrin (kansas), Kris (crossfitter) & Kelli

North Arapaho has been taunting me for over a decade now. It's a peak that I see nearly every day. Three years ago I was on the summit of South Arapaho, but as I was solo and still new to class 3, I didn't complete the traverse. Finally, this past weekend, it was time for the taunting to end.

The morning broke cool and fresh as we geared up at the mostly empty trailhead. I lead a relaxed pace up the very familiar trail from the 4th of July trailhead. The many switchbacks ease you up the traverse around the slopes of "Old Baldy" on your right. We arrived at my favorite overlook point just as the first rays of sunlight were trickling in. I never tire of this view of Jasper and Neva. Though it does remind me that I need to plan my trip to Neva sometime during snow climbing season...

Image
Alpenglow on Jasper & Neva

Image
Boulder sunrise

Image
Sunrise


After making the turn away from the Arapaho Pass trail, we find a boulder than apparently needs to be climbed, and climbed again.

Image
Scramble practice

Image
More practice...


After I tear the monkeys away from the boulder, we finish the trek up to the saddle, where a nice view awaits us.

Image
Approaching the saddle

Image
View from the saddle


From the saddle, there are multiple trails that wind along the jagged ridge to the summit of South Arapaho. Usually it is best to follow the trail closest to the ridge proper, though there is one major false summit on the way up.

Image
Kris being a monkey

Image
Kelli striking a pose

Image
Pano from S Arapaho


After a short break on the first summit, we make our way towards the ridge traverse. The first half of the 0.6mi traverse is relatively simple. You can even remain ridge proper if you like. Darrin and Kris stayed ridge proper in photo #12 and Kelli and I dropped down along a well beaten dirt path the skirts this first class 3 section to the west (climbers left). There is an orange arrow pointing towards the trail.

Image
Starting the traverse, ridge proper

Image
Boys go ridge proper, gals follow the route as it wraps around to the left


Halfway through, is the famous slab. We all thought it goes class 4, as most of the holds have been worn smooth by all the hands and shoes treading up and down it. The exposure is limited, especially if you go up the middle of the slab.

Image
The class 4 slab

Image
Image
Image

Once beyond the slab there is a lot of smooth rock to traverse ridge proper or just slightly to the west of. In one section we stayed ridge proper and had a class 4 descent of blocky slabs. Looking back (photo #19) the class 3 option wrapped around the ledges to the west.

Image
Image
Optional class 4 section

Image
Looking back on the optional class 4. Class 3 wrapps around on the lower ledge


The last crux is finding the SW gully splits North Arapaho's summit block. The key is to go back up to the ridge proper and look for the giant intimidating blocks that tower over and guard the gully. From there it's a scramble up a loose scree gully to the more stable class 3 section above.

Image
Looking for the final crux: SW gully. Note it is not the one on the left

Image
Giant blocks guard North Arapaho's summit

Image
Beyond the big blocks, follow the gully to the wide summit


The summit cairn dominates the landscape and we took a nice break enjoying the well earned summit! This was only Kelli's second peak (the first being Huron) and her first class 3/4 as well.

The views from North Arapaho to the north were just spectacular, and everything I hoped they would be after the long wait to see them.

Image
Happy scramblers

Image
The rough west face of Navajo infront of Longs Peak

Image
View of the northern IPW never gets old!

Image
The cliffy nature of the N Arapaho summit. Looking back at South Arapaho


We couldn't stay too long on the summit, as puffy clouds were starting to build, and I had a date with "Old Baldy" to attend to. We made quick work of the scrambling sections in reverse, and opted for the class 4 section again. As scrambling up class 4 is much more fun! Only issue we had was a CMC group had set up a rope on the slab crux with 5 people waiting in the queue. Thankfully the trip leader allowed us to pass by first, and we all zipped down the slab quickly and efficiently.

Image
Darrin oblivious to the exposure, strides along

Image
CMC group - or the Hilary Step


As no one else in my group had the desire or motivation to go hike "Old Baldy", I zipped on ahead once we were through the route finding section of the ridge traverse, and made quick work over to "Old Baldy". On the summit I couldn't resist a quick nap on the summit, as I knew my group was slowly making their way down to the saddle to enjoy some snow cave - frosty beverages. Personally, the view from the third summit of the day was worth the couple minute delay in frosty drinks!

Image
A nap with a view

Image
The view worthy of taking the extra steps up Old Baldy





Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (7)
Doctor No


Nice shots!     2011-08-30 12:34:14
I always enjoy the IPW - I certainly don't get up there often enough.


USAKeller


SWEET!     2011-08-30 13:02:34
Now I'm jealous Glad you got the traverse and Old Baldy too! Great TR and photos as usual!


metalmountain


Awesome!     2011-08-30 13:51:37
That traverse is tons of fun, and that slab ”crux” is nothing as bad as how some descriptions make it out to be. The views of the Boulder watershed from up there are quite beautiful as well.


12ersRule


Serious progress on the Front Range 13ers     2013-07-29 12:29:11
Pretty soon, all there will be left is a bowl of forbidden fruit.


Monster5


Agreed on the Old Baldy views     2011-08-31 10:06:41
Definitely worth the quick trip up! I sat up there for awhile trying to figure out where the summit was exactly, though.

Congrats on a fun climb!


bergsteigen


Thanks everyone!     2011-09-01 10:32:22
Caroline - You'll need to get up there eventually for these

metalmountain - the slab wasn't bad at all. Though it did turn one guy that was ”following/ghosting us” around!

49ersRule - I'm not even half-way through the Front Range... Plus plenty of other ranges to get to before I have to deal with those!

Monster5 - I decided to walk that summit ridge awhile to make sure!


a94buff


great report     2011-09-27 16:33:41
thanks a bunch, this is a great report and super helpful.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.