Mount Owen 13,340
May 27, 2013
~15.9 Miles, ~7,500 Gain
TH: Wild Cherry Creek (~3-3.5 hours from Denver) High Clearance Recommended.
Max difficulty: Minor class 3.
Considering the snowy slush fests from last week, I was eager to find something with minimal snow. The western side of the Sangres is always a safe option so I left Denver Sunday afternoon and made the 3 hour drive to the Wild Cherry Creek trailhead.
Setting my alarm for 5:15 AM I was hiking by 5:50 AM up the easy to follow trail up Wild Cherry Creek. As I stopped to take a break about 2 miles up canyon, I noticed some wood ticks had found their way onto my clothing. One thing I really hate are ticks; MoF'ing Parasites.
Nearing 10,600, I noticed some snow on the northern slopes so I left the wonderful trail and started my steep ascent/easy bushwhack to gain 12,860's northwest ridge. Once out of treeline, 12,860's northwest ridge was an easy class 2 hike to the summit where I arrived at 9:25 AM. Some minor cliff bands on the ridge crest were bypassed on the north side of the ridge.
First good view of Owen.
Point 10,995 from low on 12,860
The north-northeast ridge of 12,860.
Looking down 12,860's north-northeast ridge.
Point 13,122 from 12,860.
Outstanding weather and views were soaked in before I started toward my next objective; Point 13,122. I descended Point 12,860's southeast ridge and within a few hundred feet from descending off of the summit, I encountered a short somewhat exposed cat walk. Most of the climbing on the ridge crest was class 2 with some minor sections of class 3.
Catwalk on 12,860's southeast ridge.
Looking back on the catwalk.
Once I reached the point 12,860-13,122 saddle, 13,122's southwest ridge was a class 2, grassy stroll to the summit where I arrived at 10:30 AM. Not feeling great, I pressed on. Maybe that 13 mile hill run the day prior was a bad idea.
Final summit section to 13,122.
View of the Crestones, to the south, from 13,122.
Point 13,490 from the summit of 13,122.
Heading eastward, class 2, I reached the 13,122-13,490 saddle and then ascended 13,490's west ridge. The short out and back for 13,490 proved to be some work as snow still crested the ridge and travel wasn't as fast as I would have preferred. I reached the summit of 13,490 at 11:45 AM.
Owen from the summit of 13,490.
Reaching the 13,490-Owen saddle, I wasn't too excited about the long traverse to Owen. Feeling out of whack, I found a spot out of the wind and took a 40 minute dirt nap. Once I woke up, I felt much better and the traverse on Owen's long southeast ridge didn't seem as daunting.
Long southeast ridge on Owen.
The false summits of Point 13,034 and Point 13,077 were bypassed on the west side of the ridge. Most of the travel on the ridge was grassy or solid rock with a few sections of loose talus. The talus sections could be avoided if one decided the ascend up and over 13,034 and 13,077.
I reached the summit of Owen at 2:10 PM. The wind had picked up so my stay on the summit was short. Descending Owen's west ridge was a pleasant, grassy class 2 hike. Who doesn't love 10ers? This chap does, so I headed towards Point 10,995. To my surprise, the bushwhacking was minimal to the summit of 10,995 where I arrived at 3:55 PM. I returned to the 10,995-Owen saddle and from the saddle, I descended south towards the Wild Cherry Creek trail. All I could think about bushwhacking back to the trail was ticks. Travel was quick once I intercepted the Wild Cherry creek trail and I returned to my car at 5:00 PM did a thorough tick inspection, came up clean and started the long drive home pleasantly satisfied.
Final section on Owen.
Looking south from the summit of Owen. 13,122 and 13,490 can be seen.
Point 13,122 and 12,860 from the summit of Owen.
View back down Wild Cherry Creek from the summit of Owen.
Gentle west ridge on Owen.
Owen from Point 10,995.
Flowers! Descending off of 10,995.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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