Route: Pigeon Peak Southwest Slopes via North Pigeon Creek
Date: Sept. 25, 2013
Trip stats: Day trip, 28.2 miles RT, 9,800 ft. elevation gain, 17 hours car-to-car
Note: Winter conditions on the North and Northwest face of Pigeon Peak with 1"-7" of snow and some ice covering rocks and ledges. Some low-fifth class moves will be almost certainly required to avoid sketchy/slippery sections. Ice axe and crampons/micro-spikes come in handy, trekking poles might also help, especially on the descent.
Purgatory/North Pigeon Creek Approach
First view of Pigeon Peak (left of center) from the Animas River Trail
The bridge over Needle Creek south of Needleton
The turn onto Ruby Creek Trail (shown in red) as you hike on the Animas River Trail. The Animas River Trail continues straight north.
The "Columbine" tree at the intersection of the Ruby Creek Trail and the North Pigeon Creek "trail".
Snow in the North Pigeon Creek drainage.
Ascending talus slope on the way to the upper North Pigeon Creek drainage.
West side of Pigeon Peak as seen from the slopes above the upper meadow.
The Southwest Slopes Route Climb
Looking up the basin between NW and W ridges of Pigeon Peak. The goal is to get to the upper part of the broad gully on the right.
A closer view of the steep NW side of Pigeon.
Looking down into the North Pigeon Creek drainage with West Needle Mountains seen in the background (right).
Granite slabs and grassy ledges in the upper basin.
Winter conditions on the N/NW side of Pigeon Peak.
Picture taken on the descent with approximate route I took. It starts west of the standard route and joins it below the summit tower.
The snow on the rocks and ledges is 1"-7" deep and is not well consolidated.
The upper NW ridge of Pigeon seen from the North Face.
Looking down one of the low-fifth class sections.
Joining the upper standard route.
Panoramic view of Needle Mountains taken from the shelf on the Pigeon's North Ridge.
At the base of the summit pitch. The standard route follows the snow-filled gully.
Pigeon Peak summit panorama.
A view toward Jagged Mountain. Monitor Peak and Peak Thirteen are seen in the foreground (center and left).
Needles with Turret Needles in the foreground. Background (left-to-right): Sunlight, Sunlight Spire, Windom, N. Eolus, Eolus.
A view toward Turret Peak.
Summit view W-NW. West Needle Mountains are seen in the foreground, and Wilson Group is in the background.
Looking back at the West Face of Pigeon Peak.