June 23, 2013
~11.5 Miles, ~6,600 Gain
TH: End of Miller Mesa Road (FS 852). TH for Burn Hut and the Dallas Divide trail. (High Clearance required, ~6-6.5 hours from Denver)
Max difficulty: Class 3
Driving from Telluride was quick. Thanks to John Kirk for providing me with the route map to combine these 5 peaks. At first, I thought I was going to have to do all of these peaks as 2 long day ordeals. I woke up and started my southbound bushwhack from my parking spot at 5:10 AM. Bushwhacking wasn't terrible as I made my way towards “Corbett's” north ridge bypassing Point 11,172 on the west.
View of “Corbett's” northeast ridge
Once out of treeline, I got my first view of “Corbett.” For the most part, the ridge looked pretty straight-forward. Near ~12,600, I had to do a short section of class 3 scrambling through a minor cliff band. Climbing up the final summit massive from the northern false summit wasn't feasible so I skirted the summit cliff band to the east on a loose ledge system until I found easier climbing up the summit massive. The further south I skirted, the easier the climbing.
View looking north.
“Corbett's” NE ridge.
Looking down “Corbett's” NE Ridge.
Short class 3 section on “Corbett's” NE Rdige.
View of Sneffels.
True summit of “Corbett” with Whitehouse in the background.
I arrived on the summit of “Corbett” at 7:40 AM. My next objective, “Angel Knob,” appeared far away and so low. From the summit of “Corbett,” I hiked south-southeast directly towards “Angel Knob.” A large cliff band blocks easy access to the basin between “Corbett” and “Angel Knob” but I easily bypassed the cliff band through a steep loose talus gully.
Whitehouse from the summit of “Corbett”
“Angel Knob” from the summit of “Corbett”
Talus gully off of “Corbett”
Another view of the talus gully off of “Corbett”
From the bottom of the loose talus gully, I traversed towards the “Angel Knob”-Whitehouse saddle. Saving some gain, I skirted high on some loose talus slopes. As I hiked closer to the saddle, the terrain became more grassy and enjoyable.
Potosi and Teakettle from the Whitehouse-”Angel Knob” saddle.
The west ridge up “Angel Knob” wasn't easy. I ascended up a class 3 gully and the higher I ascended in the gully the looser the rock became. Carefully, I made my way up the gully to easier more stable terrain where I arrived on the summit at 8:50 AM. Due to the loose rock in the gully, I was not looking forward to the descent.
Looking up the chossy class 3 gully on “Angel Knob”
Looking down the chossy class 3 gully on “Angel Knob”
Whitehouse from the summit of “Angel Knob”
Returning to the “Angel Knob”-Whitehouse saddle, I took a quick break before starting up an east facing gully that would lead me to the gentle south slopes of Whitehouse. After a short snow climb, I reached the top of the gully and made the short hike to the summit of Whitehouse where I arrived at 10:00 AM.
Broad slopes of Whitehouse.
Ridgeway looked close so I continued down Whitehouse's west ridge. To reach the Whitehouse-Ridgeway saddle, I descended a steep talus gully on the right/north side of the ridge. A large cliff band at the saddle prevents easy access to Ridgeway's east ridge so I descended south around Point 13,150.
More talus climbing and I reached Ridgeway's class 2 east ridge. I arrived on the summit of Ridgeway at 11:15 AM. The views of Mt. Sneffels and Teakettle were stunning. From John's beta, I knew that the crux of the day was going to be my descent off of Ridgeway's northwest ridge.
Looking up at Ridgeway's east ridge.
Sneffels from the summit of Ridgeway.
"Reconnoiter” from the summit of Ridgeway.
Starting down the ridge wasn't too bad until I reached a large cliff before the saddle. I headed north/right off of the ridge into a somewhat exposed mud/choss chute. Descending this mud/choss was tedious and somewhat scary but did not exceed Class 3. A fall would have been bad. From the bottom of the mud/choss gully, I traversed to the upper/southern Ridgeway-”Reconnoiter” saddle and again, the ice axe came out due to a lingering snow field.
Another view of the mud/choss gully of Ridgeway's northwest ridge.
From the upper/southern Ridgeway-”Reconnoiter” saddle, I bypassed a bump in the ridge on grassy slopes to the left which led me to the lower actual Ridgeway-”Reconnoiter” saddle. A wide grassy ledge system from the saddle allowed me to traverse northwest below the large cliff bands of “Reconnoiter's” summit massive. Once I was on the west side of the peak, I found a class 2 talus gully which led me to the summit where I arrived at 12:30 PM. I'm not sure where I would get a better view of Sneffels.
"Reconnoiter” as I approach the saddle.
Talus gully up the west side of "Reconnoiter”
Sneffels from the summit of "Reconnoiter”
Teakettle from the summit "Reconnoiter”
I returned to the lower saddle and then climbed back up the upper saddle since the gully leading north looked easier and had more snow to glissade down. It appears a small cliff band in the lower saddle might prevent access to the basin below. The descent to ~11,000 was quick and then the bushwhacking began. Traversing back to the car was no small feat as the bushwhacking never ended. Slow and tiring, I eventually reached the car at 3:20 PM. A fine combo with a memorable, one for the books, bushwhack finish.
That would make a fine snow climb
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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