Peak(s):  Adams A, Mt  -  13,931 feet
PT 13,580 A  -  13,580 feet
PT 13,546  -  13,546 feet
PT 13,153  -  13,153 feet
Post Date:  06/23/2012
Date Climbed:   06/22/2012
Posted By:  piper14er

 Mt. Adams from Horn Creek     

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Trailhead to camp 4.5 miles and 2600 feet, 2 hours +.
Camp to camp - 6.5 miles and 4500 feet, 8 1/2 hours +/- (shown with gpx and map).
Camp to trailhead 4.5 miles (of course), the last few miles really hot and dry, 2 hours +/-.

Mt. Adams ranked 66 of 637 and 13 of 584 (previously summited via standard route Willow Creek).
13580A ranked 201 of 637 and 148 of 584 (tri-centennial by that much).
13546 ranked 221 of 637 and 168 of 584 (tri-centennial).
13153 ranked 522 of 637 and 469 of 584.

I had not seen a report that showed the Horn Creek approach to 13580A so I thought I would add this to the trip reports in the Sangre De Cristo's. There had been however a few reports that went to Mt. Adams with some good winter climbs included.

I really did not want to drive the longer distance to the standard trailhead for these peaks (Willow Creek) on the west side of the Sangres (4 hours) and the fire closure on Highway 50 sealed the deal for an approach from the east (2 hours drive).

I quickly revisited the topo map and the info on the 13ers link for to come up with a plan for getting 13580A. I then decided to throw in 13546 and 13153 for good measure.

Roach in his Thirteener Book notes an approach to Mt. Adams called the SE Face. This is pretty much what the other reports had as their route (with the exception of doggler who traversed from Little Horn). I could see a bit of a different route in the topo map that would get me to the Mt. Adams-13580A saddle.

I left work Thursday afternoon and drove the 2+ hours to the Horn Creek trailhead which is south of Westcliffe, west on Schoofield to the stop sign, south a few miles to the signed road that goes right to the Christian Camp, right again and then past the end of the road to the parking area and restroom.

I threw together my pack and just before 6:30 pm I set off towards Horn Lakes. The trail goes to the right of the restroom, left after a few hundred yards, right at the sign after about a half mile. then left at the first signed trail to Horn Lakes. I was able to get 4.5 miles up the trail and set up camp at 8:30, quickly going to bed. The trailhead is at 9100 feet and I camped at 11700 feet about 0.5 miles below the main lake.

I planned an early start even though it was not a long route it was going to have a lot of up and down. Also I was not sure if it was going to be less or more vertical until I looked at the couloir. The couloir was going to save 700 feet and about 0.5 miles from going up to Mt. Adams. The vertical for the day ended up being about 4500 feet.

I started at about 4:45 am and slowly made my way in the dark up the good trail past the lake. I stocked up on water in a small runoff since there would not be anymore above. I was waiting for a little more light to get a good look at the couloir and the decision was made to head on up.

The early morning light looking back down the Horn Creek basin.

This is a picture of the couloir/gully. I took this picture on the return off of the SE Face of Mt. Adams since it shows up better than the morning shots. It is the one to the right with the snow. It would be about 500-600 feet up to the saddle from the lower end of the snow.

The way up was a mix of slushy snow, mud and loose rock. I had brought along the crampons, which I did not use) and my ice ax, which I did use at the top. The slope as it turned out was not very steep, maybe 35 degrees +/- with the last 30 feet being close to vertical with the snow face.

The couloir/gully.

The top of the couloir/gully.

...looking down...

I don't know if anyone else has gone this way as I did not see any reports of it, although no doubt someone has and it has a name. I think I will name this after the dog just in case no one has, as she enjoyed it a lot. The Billie Jean Slushcapadeoloir.

13580A is just 0.4 miles and 400 feet of Class 2 away from the Mt. Adams-13580A saddle.

13580A ridge.

Summit at 1.8 miles from camp and just before 7:00 am.

Can you find the alien's face?

Challenger, K.C. Kat, Crestones'.

Mt. Adams from 13580A.

13546 and the route ahead.

The wicked ridge from 13580A to 13517 (unranked) with 13541 behind. That is a nasty ridge if you are thinking of heading that way for 13541. Cliffs and loose. You can drop down below and skirt around that but following the ridge would be time consuming in my estimation. Take a partner and a rope.

Since I was winging this route anyway, I decided to try to traverse across the west face of Mt. Adams and save another 700 feet. It worked out but it was a bit touch and go with a few cliffs. I had already passed one set of cliffs where it was necessary to up climb a 10 foot Class 4/5 weakness. This is just past where I also had to toss the dog up about 6 feet to the gully used to make my first escape.

I was thinking this cliff might cause some problems but there is an easier way across than the first band. Sneaking through the vagaries. Can you see the dog in this picture?

The sideslope traverse was a bit steep but could have been worse.

13546 from the Mt. Adams-13546 ridge just above the saddle.


This is looking back at Mt. Adams.


This is a neat view.

The summit of 13546 at 3.3 miles about 8:30 am.


This is 13153 with the backside of Fluted Peak behind.

I downclimbed to the saddle and dropped down to about 12600 feet, traversed across to the Mt. Adams-13153 saddle.

The way to 13153, saddle with peak to the left.

This is looking back at 13546 and the saddle where I descended down the snowfield.

The ride to 13153 is short with about another 400 feet to the summit.

The last few yards to the summit, which is to the right.

The 13153 summit at 4.5 miles and around 10:00 am.

There was but a handful of signatures since 2003.

The remaining rocky slope to Mt. Adams.

Billie and I made the ridge and were looking at Mt. Adams only a few minutes away. The black spot on the left side of this picture is hair of the dog.

...coming near full circle via this picture from Mt. Adams looking at 13580A and beyond.

It was now only 11:45 with the descent to camp in mind. The first gulley to the Mt. Adams-13580A and the traverse across the west face had saved 1400 feet and some time. We were now looking at the ridge to Fluted over unranked 13225 with Little Horn and Horn Peak in the distance for our return trip.

Billie and I made our way down the ridge a ways (not quite as far as Roach's route) and then made a quick and steep exit down an okay gully. We exited before the bottom towards the east and back to the trail, then camp and then to the trailhead. Note Roach's SE face route off the ridge mat be a little easier.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

North ridge Kit Carson     06/24/2012 08:49
That is the best picture (pic 7) of that spine that I've seen. It looks reptilian from your angle. I hope to complete that route someday.


I knew it!     06/24/2012 14:11
Aliens have descended onto and into our mountains! I see it.


”Toss-A-Dog” ...     06/25/2012 13:53
Sounds like a new kind of game. And, it's about time that Billie Jean had a peak named in her honor. 8) Looks like the air quality was pretty good considering. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


good comments     06/25/2012 15:52
BKS that is an impressive chunk of rock, thanks

Darin, that is good that you see it, and it is not just me that sees that alien

Presto when I was driving over from Wetmore and looked at the smoke and haze over all the peaks, I thought it might be bad for breathing, but it turned out to be okay. I barely smelled any smoke. It is lucky for me Billie does not weigh too much although she is pretty good at finding easier ways around the obstacles sometimes than I am.


Nice     06/25/2012 19:43
I must have overlooked this the first time. Nice work Al! Closing in on those Sangres.


Hey cool!     06/28/2012 20:48
Seems like a less crowded way to do them. Plenty of nice scenery, too!


yep     06/28/2012 21:05
just me and the dog

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