| The Other Side of Redcloud.
September 24, 2011
~13.7 Miles, 5,600 Gain
Trailhead start: Cooper Creek Trailhead Trailhead end: Silver Creek Trailhead
This fellow wandered into camp.
Once I was done with the Half Peak group we made the very short drive to the Cooper Creek Trailhead and to my surprise, there was the 14ers Fall Gathering at the Silver Creek Trailhead. I had no idea the gathering was occurring that same weekend. Now my wife can climb Redcloud and Sunshine with her closest 100 friends. Fortunately, the camping spot at Cooper Creek Trailhead was quiet as we waited for Al.
Fall colors near the trailhead.
Fall colors near the trailhead.
Al showed up around 10 PM, then later, something strange happened. Around 3:30 AM, we were woken up to cries of “Help” by some chick who was lost trying to get to Durango. I explained that she really had two options with a 2WD vehicle and that Cinnamon Pass was a bad idea at night. She ignored my advice and she continued to drive up Cinnamon Pass. She just came from Creede and refused to return since it was too far east. Nevertheless, she explained that she didn't want to drive Red Mountain Pass. I can assure, if she didn't want to drive Red Mountain Pass, she sure in hell didn't want to drive Cinnamon Pass. Whatever. Thanks for waking me up.
I was planning on waking up at 5:00 AM but due to be woken up and a “fine” nights rest we slept in until 6:15 AM. Al, Merlin (Al's dog) and I started up Cooper Creek trail around 6:45 AM while my wife went to join the exodus up Redcloud and Sunshine.
Handies from Cooper Creek.
Cooper Creek trail was in good shape until the trail junction at ~11,560. The trail we took that continued up the valley (right fork) was hard to follow. The trail was essentially non-existent; however, travel was easy through grassy meadows. At ~12,100, we headed northeast up the grassy slopes of “Every.” Our easy introduction was over as we gained elevation quickly. The slopes were grassy until the last 100-200 feet below the south ridge. From there, it was a tedious ascent on loose talus. If one were to climb directly to the “Every”-”Cooper Creek” saddle, it would be a fine grassy hike all the way to the ridge.
Hiking up Cooper Creek gulch. (Photo by Al)
Steep slopes up “Every”
Talus just below the ridge on “Every”
Once gaining the south ridge, it was quick class 2 hike to the summit of “Every” where we arrived at 9:40 AM. Our summit stay was short and we found a climbers trail down the south ridge to the “Every”-”Cooper Creek” saddle. From the saddle, we descended northeast into Owl Gulch aiming for the 13,180-”Cooper Creek” saddle. As we made our way to the 13,180-”Cooper Creek” saddle, we enjoyed watching a large herd of elk. I've seen more elk in two days than I have seen all year.
Al on the summit ridge on “Every”
Uncompahgre from the summit of “Every”
Point 13,180 from the summit of “Every.” It is a long ridge.
The last 100-200 feet to the 13,180-”Cooper Creek” saddle were obnoxious. Nothing like a loose scree ascent. Unfortunately, the ridge from the saddle didn't go directly to 13,180 and we had to bypass some nasty towers. We descended about ~50-100 feet on the east side of the ridge and traversed below the towers. Once we bypassed them, we then regained the ridge.
Descending into Owl Basin.
Descending into Owl Basin. (Photo by Al)
Working our way towards the 13,180-”Cooper Creek” saddle
Al enjoying the scree to the 13180-”Cooper Creek” saddle.
Nasty towers to the start of 13,180. (Photo by Al)
Al skirting the towers on the east side of the ridge.
It was a long ridge to the summit of 13,180. After gaining the ridge, we made our way on easy class 2 terrain to the summit of 13,180. The ridge never seemed to end and there were plenty of false summits to tease us. We arrived on the summit of 13,180 at 11:50 AM. Since we enjoyed the long ridge so much, we decided to take the same ridge back! As if we had a choice.
“Every” from the south ridge of 13,180.
Long ridge up 13180.
Al making his way towards 13,180.
With lots of ups and downs, we returned to the 13,180-”Cooper Creek” saddle and decided we still didn't have an “easy” way to re-climb “Cooper Creek.” There were lots of spires on the ridge back up towards “Cooper Creek.” There were two options. I climbed the ridge as “direct” as I could bypassing most of the cliffs at their bases on loose talus on the east side of the ridge while Al dropped about 200-300 feet and hiked up grassy slopes to regain the west ridge of “Cooper Creek.” Either loose rock or more elevation gain.
“Cooper Creek” from the south ridge of 13,180.
Al making his way to the ridge on “Cooper Creek”
We met up on the east ridge of “Cooper Creek” and from there, made the easy hike to the summit arriving at 2:10 PM. Outstanding views of the neighboring Centennials, Redcloud and Sunshine. This route would be much easier in reverse as all of the scree ascents would be scree descents. Since we had a car shuttle, we decided to save some mileage and descended into Silver Creek gulch. From the summit of “Cooper Creek,” we descended ~200 feet down the southeast ridge and then made a direct line, south, towards Silver Creek.
The final push the ridge to “Cooper Creek.” (Photo by Al)
Al nearing the summit of “Cooper Creek” (Photo by Al)
The summit of “Cooper Creek”
The two unnamed centennials from the summit of “Cooper Creek”
Redcloud from the summit of “Cooper Creek”
“Every” from the summit of “Cooper Creek”
Handies from “Cooper Creek”
Being a scree ski, the descent to Silver Creek was quick and I am not sure I would want to ascend these slopes. Once we hit the Silver Creek trail, travel was enjoyable on such a nice trail. We arrived back at the trailhead 3:50 PM. We mingled among the 14er gathering and then made the long drive home. Perhaps, I should have stayed longer and enjoyed a brew.
Fall colors. (Photo by Al)
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