Determined to get a long wilderness peak bagging trip in this summer Marc and I headed down to Silverton to catch the train. After a late start of 6:45 we got to the train with just 15 min to spare. After a short ride and hike up a small hill we joined the Colorado trail.
Wemimuche Wilderness Sign
This trail was well maintained and provided for a great wilderness entrance.
First View of Vestal & Arrow Peaks from above the Beaver Pond
After a short stop at the beaver pond (all we saw was ducks and moose) we embarked on the Vestal Creek trail. This trail leads away from the pond then down a very steep hill to the stream, then relentlessly climbs up into the basin. With a light rain and 65lb packs of rope gear food and more gear this could have been the most difficult part of our week.
Climbing up into Vestal Basin on the steep Vestal Creek Trail
We came to the lower meadow at 11,400 just after sunset. After a little searching we found a nice spot in the trees between the lower and upper meadow. A short while later we passed out hard determined to get the Trinities early the next morning.
Sunset View of the Trinities
Vestal Peak from 11,400 in the lower meadow
After hitting the snooze a few times we got up and started our way into the upper meadow.
Trinities at Sunrise
Marc ready to start scrambling
Vestal and Arrow Peaks in the morning sun
Ascending towards the Vestal West Trinity saddle the views were unparalleled.
Stark contrast on Vestal & Arrow from the upper basin E of Vestal lake
Shortly after gaining the saddle the difficulty amped up to class 3 and the Trinity Traverse was begun.
The start of the scrambling on West Trinity
Marc getting some rock breakdancing
The climbing up West Trinity's west ridge was great. Mostly solid with lots of exposure and wonderful views of the San Juans. This climbing went by very quickly and soon the first summit of our trip was claimed.
Marc on the Summit of West Trinity
Trinity Peak from the summit of West Trinity
1 down 4 to go
Successful first summit of the trip
The downclimb from West Trinity was easy class 2+ with not much loose rock. From the Saddle the class 4 climb up Trinity peak requires some route finding, staying exclusively on the South side of the ridge and mostly well below the ridge proper.
Trinity Peak from the West Trinity Trinity saddle
A few scrambling sections and a couple of chimneys lead to grassy ledges or solid rock above.
Either the nice grass ramp
Or the highline class 4 ridge
Contouring around Trinity's towers on the South side
East Trinity from near the Summit of Trinity Peak
The hardest part of the day was climbing around to find the best way up Trinity peak. The route became apparent and logical the further we climbed. But it was of little consequence we didn't need to ever put on rock climbing shoes. Soon the 2nd summit of our Vestal Basin adventure was ours.
Descending the wrong gully on Trinity peak's East side
The descent to the Trinity East Trinity saddle was a bit more loose and in our haste we took the wrong one. It ended up being class 3 and once we were on the other side the easier gully was clearly the better choice. The climb up to East Trinity looks very menacing from Trinity peak but it never exceeds class 3.
The view of the climb up East Trinity Class 3
From the top of East Trinity's gully looking at Trinity Peak
The correct descent gully is to the left where I'm pointing. We descended the Right gully class 3
Jagged Peak Windom Sunlight Spire and Sunlight peak
3rd Summit of the day was ours and the Trinity traverse was mostly completed.
#3 with a good view of Trinity
The downclimb to the basin from East Trinity was at first nice scrambling then we reached the saddle and it became very loose and it also started raining.
View of the hike down from the upper basin
When we were safely down in the basin the thunder clapped to quicken our pace.
Shortly after we got back to camp it started raining heavily and being exhausted from the last two days of elevation gain we got to sleep very early. Wham Ridge awaited us at sunrise!!