| Dallas Peak from Mill Creek TH
Mountains: Dallas Peak (13,809')
Route: Started at Mill Creek TH and climbed the East Ridge route to summit.
Elevation Gain - 5000' (approx)
Roundtrip Mileage - 10 miles (approx)
Roundtrip Time - 10:30
Joe (doumall) and I left work on Friday afternoon and headed straight for Telluride. We planned to climb Dallas (supposedly the hardest Centennial by its standard route and #100, altitude-wise) on Saturday and Sneffels, from East Dallas Creek on Sunday. We made it to the Mill Creek trailhead at around 9PM. We readied our packs with the usual summer gear apart from helmets and some basic rock gear… 60m rope, slings (Roach recommends a 25 foot sling to rappel off the summit block, but we got by with using what was already there), and a small assortment of nut tools and cams for the summit pitch. We ate dinner and bivvied out in the open with plans for an alpine start.
We woke up at 3:30AM, ate some oatmeal, drank some hot chocolate and busily went back to sleep for another hour. We finally got moving up the Deep Creek Trail by 5:30AM. I must start by saying that the approach to this climb is absolute bu||$&!t. We went on and on and on some more, waaaaaaaay past the base of the mountain and then looped around up to it. We didn't read up on what Roach describes as 'Stan's Shortcut' (Guide to Colorado's 13ers), but it may be worth a consideration if you're thinking about this climb.
We hiked up to a trail junction where the trail splits off into the Jud Wiebe trail. We stayed left, on the Deep Creek Trail and continued up to a meadow at 10,000'. Past this meadow we got our first views of the peak. The trail curves however, had other ideas and wandered off lazily around Mill Creek basin. We got to the Sneffels Highline trail at 6:25AM. At 7:30AM we finally got to the base of the grassy slope leading up to the cliffs on the S.E. Face. We stopped here for a quick food/hydration break.
We worked our way up the grassy slopes up to a section of miserable ball bearing scree layered over hard packed steep dirt alternating with scree-loaded down-sloping rock slabs.
The going was tough. There were several easy Class 3 sections to work around as we ascended the cliff bands at the bottom of the face.
We headed all the way up the scree slope to the base of the face where there were holds that helped us stay upright and continue Eastward and up to the ridge. There was a lot of rock fall and the steepness of the slope makes helmets mandatory on this route.
We headed up staying south below the East Ridge most of the time, often following broken, poorly marked trail segments. Cairns appeared sporadically and were welcome.
Arriving at this point, we took the following route marked in red, traversing around these cliff bands and ascending the slope above them.
Around the cliff bands we found easy Class 3 access to the slope above.
We finally arrived at the base of the summit towers. We ascended a gully to the right of the first tower. What appears impenetrable above and behind the gully actually hides a notch (Class 4, maybe a low 5 maneuver or two to get over and across the notch) that permits access to the North side of the towers. The notch is not very obvious.
The summit pitch is best climbed from the North side. Here's looking at it from over and across the Notch. Once over the notch, you descend down a ramp to the base of the summit pitch.
We used my 25 foot runner to set an anchor for the belay station around a large boulder at the bottom of the summit pitch. Joe did a sweet job leading the pitch, setting two pieces of protection.
I followed and cleaned up the protection. It was a rewarding summit. Here's a look at some familiar names on the register.
We spent a short while on the summit. Joe set up the rappel anchor and we were able to rappel down to the base of the summit tower through the hole visible below my feet (We've a ton more pictures that we're unable to post here because of the 15 picture restriction). The 200 foot rope doubled up went a little past the bottom of the tower from the summit.
From the base of the tower we retraced our steps, descending the scree loaded misery that was the trail. This was comparable to descending the N.W. Face on Little Bear or the N. E. Face on Mt. Wilson… a very taxing descent. We started from the base of the summit tower at a little past 1PM and it took us 3 hours to get back to the trailhead. It was a full day of exciting climbing. We ate a bunch of left over KFC at the car and drove over to the Blue Lakes TH for an attempt on Sneffels the following day.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):