Italian Mountain 13378
Lambertson Peak 13209
Crystal Peak 12777
I drove to the end of the Taylor Park Road and slept in my car. I heard a car drive up at 5:15, I was already awake so I ignored my 5:30 wake up call. Turns out this other person was dhgold and his dog. I started to hike down the road at 5:40, I intercepted a trail number 561 and headed up. I made one wrong turn and ended up at a cool mine. Back on the right trail again I headed to the saddle and up the east ridge of Lamberston. I bypassed 13051 on the south side and climbed grassy slopes to the saddle. From there it was an easy class 2 hike to the summit. Instead of a register I found a bottle of Jim Beam. What a tasty treat.
The traverse to Italian went quickly, I bypassed most of the difficulties on the west side of the ridge. I returned over the summit of Lambertson. Now for a decision, so climb over 13051 and down to Tilton or descend north from Lambertson and explore some mine ruins. My curiosity of a mine building got the best of me so I descended down a grassy ridge to an old mining road in Cement Creek. I met a couple who were climbing Lambertson near an old strip mine. There were discouraging signs stating this was an active mine and blasting still occurred, enter at your own risk. It didn't look like the road had been used in 30 years.
I took a break at the cabin before following the road up to 12415. I barely stopped on this little peak because the wind was howling a bit beyond my comfort level so I made the quick traverse to Crystal. I found a trail which took me down into Taylor Creek and before long I was back at my car.
Mine on Taylor Creek
Taylor Peak 13435
I slept in my car right next to where the Taylor Pass Road leaves the Taylor Park Road. My alarm went off at 5:30 and I was on the trail by 6:00. A quick look in my Jeep trails book told me that there would be a water crossing on this road. About two miles up I jumped a small creek and laughed at this so called water crossing. 30 seconds later I was no longer laughing. If I had actually read the trail description I would have been warned about this section. The creek and the road are in same channel for about 100 yards. Not wanting to freeze my feet this early in the morning I found a reasonable way around. At Taylor Lake I turned left at the road intersection and climbed up past the willows where I made the short climb to the ridge where I was pleasantly surprised to see an old mining road. I followed that through some more willows until it petered out and I was left with open tundra. I followed game trails and old mining trails up over several ridge bumps. The crux of the route is the last 200 feet to the summit. It was on semi stable talus.
Taylor peak from Taylor Lake
Gaining the ridge
Final 200 feet
Downward I went, following the same route, near 13050 I noticed a really good goat trail. So I watched for goats there, it did not take long for some to show up. I sat and watched them for a while as they ran across a steep scree slope. Not ten minutes later did I see a herd of 30 or so bighorn sheep and 70 or so elk in the Cooper Fork basin. I had to watch them for a while.
I pulled myself away from wildlife show and found something amazing, a fossilized battery, This can only mean one thing, ancient aliens visited the first Thanksgiving and gave the Native Americans batteries.
12430 was so close not to climb so I braved the dust and exhaust and climbed this peak. the creek crossing was a welcome sight on the descent.
After 14 miles this feels good