Trailhead: Lead King Basin
Elevation Gain: 3,817'
Beta: Furthermore TR & the Nat Geo Map
Not wanting to link a bunch of peaks together like Furthermore did, since Caroline had a time constraint today, we went after the low hanging fruit of a lonesome 13er in the middle of the Elks. I figured it would have great views. No one else seemed interested at the Gathering, their loss.
After a long 1.5 hr 4WD to the Lead King Basin trailhead, we quickly gear up and start moving along the trail with haste. Not sure we can complete this trek fast enough for Caroline's 6pm Boulder meeting, but we'd give it a go!
The colors on the trees were amazing. We were hoping that the lighting would be better later in the day for some of the up valley shots. The first part of the trail after leaving the usual Snowmass West Slopes/S ridge trail was smooth and easy to travel quickly on.
Treasury and Treasure Mtn
Pt 13062 B in distance
Me hiking along, as fast as possible - Photo credit: Caroline
The hardest part of the day would be the ascent and descent using this prominent stream valley. We got into some seriously steep bushwhacking for part of it (as we stayed to the right on the slope above the first part of the stream), but then afterwards, we just followed the dry stream bed up to the grassy mellow slopes above.
Our ascent Gully
Walking up the dry stream bed - Photo Credit: Caroline
Looking back where our stream/gully is
Hagarman in the distance
We were spying a way to traverse higher and up to the saddle with Pt 13,062 B, when we found a trail. This trail took us all the way up to the base of the peak. It looks like animals use it more than humans, but it was a great time saver!
First up close view of Pt 13,062B
We got up to the base of the climb and had to shield our eyes from the sun to try and find our line up to the summit. I wasn't wanting to take the ridge up, as there appeared to be some features along the way. Plus we didn't really have much time for route finding the loose ledges. So we did an ascending traverse on loose but stable soil and talus till we found a gully to take us up to the ridge. On the way up, I stuck to the ledges on the right and did some class 4 moves on solid rock. Plenty of trundling to be done by a future solo climber on this route. Caroline stuck to the gully and used the solid rock on her left for the ascent
Picking the way through the loose stuff
Finding a solid line through the choss
Picking our way up on ledges
Photo Credit: Caroline
Nearing the top of the loose gully
Once up on the ridge, we had one more loose gully to ascend before the fun class 3 ledges of the summit block. Again, staying to the right or left in the gully allowed for one to find solid rock to ascend.
Up on the ridge, looking up at final pitch
Picking a solid line at the side
Scramble near the summit, with Snowmass in background
Topping out on the summit afforded us some amazing views of the near by 14ers. I think this is one of the best and most unique viewing spots of these peaks, and one that isn't visited much, as evident by the very empty summit register starting in '07. The register was soaked, and we did our best to let it dry in the breeze for the time we had on the summit.
Snowmass and Capitol
Treasury and Treasure Mtn
The Maroon Bells
Some other 13ers near Snowmass Village
Pano of the Bells and neighbors
Pano of Snowmass & Capitol Peaks
No fisheye today, just my wide angle lens
A nifty valley below
The way down while easier, also pointed out how loose these gullies were. It was very tough to not trundle rocks. I missed my solid white rocks that I ascended on the way up and went down the looser blocks by the gully. Once below these 2 gullies, it was an easy plunge stepping traversing descent back to the trail at the saddle.
Coming down the solid parts of the gully
Saying goodbye to Pt 13062 B and Maroon
Back at the lower flat trail, we made quick time back to the trailhead, only stopping to take a couple photos of the golden leaves.
Some pretty leaves
The waterfall up to Geneva Lake
A final colorful look back at Pt 13,062 B