Electric Peak A, De Anza Peak A, Gibbs Peak A, Mt Marcy, "Silver Peak", Pt 13490, Pt 13122, Mt Owen
Trailhead: Cotton Creek
Elevation Gain: 11,073'
Difficulty: class 3
I pull into the parking lot a little after 9pm, to find another vehicle parked. Hmm odd. I get out to get into the back of my truck to sleep, the other vehicle is still running. Hmm odder! I wake up a little after 1am, sit up grab my hiking clothing - Hmmm the other vehicles occupants are awake and getting ready. Very odd, must be some crazy backpackers or something. I start up the trail about 20-30 minutes after this other couple. The trail is pretty well defined, except when there is a stream crossing - then it's a puzzle whether to go upstream or downstream to cross. I make pretty decent time up to the trail split where I will head up to the Electric - De Anza saddle. I've heard periodic voices and occasional headlamp flashes, so I know the other couple is around somewhere.
After the trail split, the trail deteriorates. It apparently has been "improved" to include 10,000 switchbacks adding on, oh roughly 3 EXTRA miles! WTF! But as it's 4am, and my brain is still not awake yet, when the trail starts heading in the wrong direction - east AND downhill - I go back to where my map (Trails Illustrated) tells me the trail is. I follow that instead, since I don't know where that other trail goes! (Apparently it is just a really really long switchback) So my way ends up being a bit of a bushwack till I get back to the trail. Oh well. My NEW TI map is apparently outdated already. Another old trail confuses as well. So my gpx file shows some of that confusion, as apparently the makers of the 10,000 switchbacks, can't be considerate enough to make the intersections obvious enough at 5am! Oh well, I know where I'm going - and that's up, so I get where I need to go despite the new trail.
On the first upper switchback, I catch up to this mysterious couple. After the greeting, we ask each other, so what are you doing? Oh, Electric to Owen. Hmmm, interesting. I'm doing Electric to Owen! How is that possible that 2 separate groups have the same crazy idea, on the same day? Then comes the, you must be "someone" on 14ers.com. So then the real introductions happen. It so turns out that I've run into Boggy B and his gal Kylie! Wow, 2 13er types on the same 13ers on the same day... Mind Blown! (Won't be only time today) They have this goal to do 10,000' vertical gain in a day. Well so do I! Plus I had a friend say, I bet you could do all 8 of those Sangre Peaks in a day (she was planning a 3 day backpack to do them). And so I think to myself after drawing out the route - Challenge Accepted! So we chat together through most of the 10,000 switchbacks, until they take a break and I keep going. We both ran our own pace for the first half of the loop, as it was going to be a long day, and we had only just met.
On the first summit, Electric Peak, we get our view of the day ahead with all the peaks scattered to the south of us. Good views of the descent options on Owen as well. The first half of the ridge run will be easy tundra class 2 hiking. The second half will involve some class 3 and some narrow rocky ridges. The out and back on Gibbs is better than anticipated on the map. So when I arrive on Mt Marcy's summit, I take a longer break, to rest up for the ridge to come. Plus it's the name of the highest peak in NY, so I have to spend a bit more time on this summit! The ridge up to "Silver Peak" was more interesting than I thought it would be, if you stay ridge proper.
First peak of the day: Electric
Looking at peak #2 De Anza
Mt Owen, last peak of day. Looking so far away!
Ridge to Gibbs
Looking back at De Anza and Electric
Ridge to Marcy
Preview of 13,490 scramble
Ridge up Silver Peak
Some fun optional slabs
As I was doing my usual summit routine on Silver, Boggy B and Kylie show up on the summit. Sweet! The next section is the scramble, and it would be nice to have another set of eyes on the route finding. Plus it's way more fun to photograph scrambling with other people in the photos! We both decide that taking it ridge proper would be the best (most fun) route. If you don't like to scramble, there is a grassy slope to the south (left) to take. The only required class 3 is just below the summit, where you see the overhanging block. Here you would go to the north (right) of the block on an obvious grassy crack just off ridge proper. I ascended that way to be able to describe the difficulty (easy class 3), as well as to take photos of my partners, since the views were great.
Overall, staying ridge proper was the most fun way to go, and has a little bit of everything for this scrambling deprived ridge loop. (As you may have guessed by nearly a third of my photos being dedicated to this fun section)
Looking over to 13,490
Start of the optional fun on 13,490
Looking at the optional class 3 on the ridge proper!
Scouting the upper section. Mandatory class 3 just to right of ridge proper.
Boggy and Kylie scramble up ridge
Kylie starting up the slabs
Required class 3 section
Kylie in sillouette with Peak of the Clouds behind
Boggy blurs the lines between scrambling and free soloing!
On the summit of 13,490 I see what lies ahead. 2 more peaks, lots of rough rocky ridge to go. Very glad to have partners at this point as motivation and energy is tanking a bit for me. So after a short snack break, we make our way over to 13,122. More scrambling awaits on the ridge proper, if you like. It's not as fun as up 13,490 but it'll do!
Ridge to 13,122
Looking back at 13,490
Ridge to Owen - that's a ways!
As we approach the ridge junction to Owen, a magical thing happens.... According to Boggy's GPS, we will be at the 10K mark. Mini celebration ensues. Then we start the long ridge over to Owen. We wonder if we could make 11K if we just hit all the bumps along the ridgeline... so we stay ridge proper. We want this Trip Report to go to Eleven! We're exhausted, we're getting really really silly. Brain is starting to come up with weird connections. Odd songs begin to be sung. This is the fun part of exhaustion. I'm personally eagerly awaiting the pink bunny rabbits hopping across the trail.
Starting the ridge to Mt Owen
And then it happens..... we turn around and see a DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!111!!11!!1!!!
Double Rainbow! What does it mean??????
Then, the even more amazing happens... an eagle flies INTO that double rainbow! KAPOWWW!!!! Mind seriously blown!
Bald Eagle flies into Rainbow - MIND BLOWN!
Now what? I guess we better continue on to Mt Owen, and descend before this gets any more intense!
A knife endge section - if you stay ridge proper
Crestone group in the sun
3 very exhausted 13er hikers Photo by Boggy
Dropping the ridge off of Owen
So now it's just ~4 miles back to the vehicles. So we pound down the slope, put on our headlamps for the lower bushwack and stream crossing to get back to the trail. Oh the glorious trail!!!! Couple stream crossings to go, and done! What a day to meet internet compatriots and complete the same crazy goal together! Well met, Boggy B, well met!
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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