Elevation Gain: 3,924'
3 Amigos: Caroline, Vicki and me
Time: ~9 hrs
The 3 amigos came from 3 different directions, to meet up by Cottonwood Lake, to make our way up to our chosen campsite. I wanted to get to the intersection of the 2 mining roads that we would be taking up and down the basin for our loop. Thankfully the road is in pretty good shape, and our 4X4's had no problem. Though finding a level parking space was a bit more problematic.
After a slightly tilted sleep, we were up well before first light and walking up the first mining road up to its end, near the ridge saddle. Soon after making the ridge, we were greeting by one of the best sunrises any of us had ever seen. The smoke may have made seeing distant peaks nigh impossible, but the sunrise was made spectacular by it.
Red clouds over Princeton
Ridge up to Emma Burr
After we finally managed to start moving uphill again after taking tons of photos, we found that the final summit pitch was a bit more exciting than originally planned. The ridge proper went class 3, while staying to the right (north) was more like class 2+. A nice finish to a rather great peak.
Caroline (and Vicki) along ridge
Last class 3 pitch up peak
Vicki contemplating a beautiful view - Photo Credit: Vicki's camera/Caroline
On the summit, we couldn't help but notice how difficult it was to see even nearby peaks. Or just how awesome this peak was, or the day we would be having. It would be the longest we stayed on a summit all day.
3 Amigos in silhouette
Summit Fisheye - Photo Credit: Caroline
From there, it was a fairly long ridge walk to the next peak, Mt Kreutzer. We didn't linger too long on that summit, since the clouds around us didn't look great for staying dry in the near future.
Ridge to north, off of Emma Burr
Looking back up at Emma Burr
The ridge ahead from Kreutzer
Emma Burr from Kreutzer
By the time we got to Chalk Rock Mountain, the sun had burned off all the morning clouds, and any threat of rain had evaporated (at least until later).
Ridge from Chalk Rock to Jones
After another short summit break, we don our helmets and make our way to some fun scrambling on the ridge. There are some minor spots with some exposure, but nothing too bad. Many of the class 3 areas can be avoided, if you wish too.
Looking down the start of the ridge
Vicki and Caroline on the ridge
Vicki strutting her stuff on the catwalk, yeah on the catwalk
The last section of the ridge is a bit more tricky to stay ridge proper. The first section of the crux looks like loose sharp boulders precariously perched over the abyss. So we all decided to drop down to the right (south) just before this section and traverse around. The higher ledge system doesn't look continuous either, so we went down to the talus slope. Once around that first blocky section, I scampered back up the ridge to see if it went. I figured it would be good to work on my route finding skills for future trips where it might be necessary (cue foreshadowing music).
The ridge widened up here, and the route finding wasn't too bad, just wondering if it dropped back down too precipitously afterwards to where Caroline and Vicki were coming up to ridge proper again. So I continued on to find out, no problem! Over all, it was a fun ridge section to scramble!
Approaching the crux of the ridge
You can try to negotiate the blocky loose ridge, or drop down and the the right (south)
Some class 3/4 to regain ridge
Looking down the ridge after the end of the difficulties
Me on the last part of the class 3 ridge - Photo Credit: Vicki
Oh look, Caroline has spotted a group of hot firefighters! - Photo Credit: Vicki
After the scrambling, we had just one more ridge bump to go before the grassy walk up to the final summit of the day
A view back up the ridge to Chalk Rock
Caroline and Vicki next to a steep drop-off
Arriving on the last peak of the day, it was nice to be done with all the elevation gain. A solid day of hiking with 2 solid gals!
View to Gladstone Ridge and Yale
Start of the ridge run
Dropping off of Jones, with Chalk Rock in background