| Baldwin Lake Bi-Centennial 13ers
Grizzly Mountain (13,708‘) - 142nd highest
Point 13646 (13,646‘) - 173rd highest
Mount Mamma (13,553‘) - Unranked
Appx 3800‘ (including false summits) and 10 miles RT
from "trailhead" at 10,840‘
Saturday night I drove up the Baldwin Gulch Jeep Trail to the 10,840‘ split which serves as the typical upper trailhead for the area. I had dinner next to the beautiful meadow in the shadow of Cronin Peak with several small insects that had more interest in me than I did in them (note to self: Bug Spray!).
Sunday I woke up and hit the trail around 6am and started the hike up to Baldwin Lake, which rests just about treeline at 12,047‘. Along the way I passed some 4-wheelers campsites and saw a herd of 7 elk running along the meadows on the other side of the creek. It took about an hour to hike the road, where views of Grizzly at the head of the basin led me on. The views of Grizzly from the lake are great:
From here the best route around the lake is to cross the creek on good rocks just below the willows that inhabit the outlet. Then contour around the lake‘s south side on grassy slopes through the willows. These are the smallest willows in Colorado, barely to the knees and with plenty of passages through them. I have to say it was the most enjoyable willow experience I ever had, if such a thing as "enjoyable" can be said about willows. Behind the lake is a nice grass bench which marks the base of the Northeast Slopes route on Grizzly.
The terrain gradually steepens as the initially grassy slopes start to turn to talus around 13,000‘. Here the steeper talus slopes are a little loose, particulary where there are extensive dirt patches. There is a large cornice that holds well into July at the top of this face, and the best exit is to contour below it to the left, towards the true summit.
After the snow patch ended I picked up the ridge crest and followed it to Grizzly‘s lofty summit. Despite several nearby higher peaks, there is nothing taller to your west and the views that way are spectacular. Too bad it was a little hazy or the northern San Juans surely would be in view
From here the fun begins, its 1.7 miles to PT 13646 with a few false summits along the way. The ridge is gentle class 2 to start out with and stays relatively flat. The crest of the ridge is sort of like a catwalk, and the exposure to the right (east) is unbelievable. There is about a 600‘ sheer face in that direction and you can really feel the air beneath your feet!
After this section the ridge descends to a saddle with unranked PT 13405. This saddle is actually the lowpoint on the traverse at about 13,100‘. Unfortunately for PT 13405 the connecting saddle with PT 13646 is not low enough for this to count as a ranked summit. From PT 13405‘s rounded talus summit, the remaining route is clearly visible
The route up to PT 13646 was surprising, due to snow below the ridge crest I opted to stay on the crest where a knife-like section presented itself. The drop to the snow on the right was only 20 or 30 feet, but the left was slabby and steep. There were good cracks to use and only 1 or 2 class 3 moves necessary, mostly it was just difficult second class.
From the summit I decided to head over to named Mt Mamma. There is only 53‘ of rise on the connecting ridge, and the summit is really non-descript and not too interesting. But it is named on the Saint Elmo quad and not too far away.
At this time I decided to just head down, Boulder Mountain looked tempting but the descent back to the road from Boulder did not look good (steep loose talus no doubt). It will be there some other time!
I dropped down the southeast slopes of PT 13646 to an old mine, that was in really good shape
Here an old mining road heads back down and rejoins with the Baldwin Lake Road all the way back to the car. Along the road there was this great view of Antero framed by the trees on axis with the road:
All in all it was a successful climb, although not totally event free. I actually tripped over a boulder and dislocated my ring finger when I caught myself. I popped it back in place, buddy taped it to the middle finger and was fine. I stopped in the urgent care clinic when I got home and x-rays were negative. I only add this as a reminder to watch yourself and pay attention even on what seems like benign terrain. I let my mind wander and didn‘t notice the block and tripped right over it!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):