| SW Gully
Mark and Terry S. and I were staying with gracious host sgladback in Crested Butte over the Labor Day weekend, 2006, using his condo there as a basecamp for some climbs in the area.
On Labor Day, Mark and I headed out early in the morning for Precarious Peak, 13,380 feet. As I recall, sgladback had already climbed it and needed to get back to Pueblo. Terry, being smarter than us boys, had declined to join us on this attempt. We drove north from Crested Butte up the East River, past Gothic to the Rustler Gulch road, where we turned and drove about two miles to the parking area at about 10,000 ft. where we met a closed gate. The road up Rustler Gulch isn't bad but you will need a 4WD.
Hiking up the old road to where Rustler Gulch makes its turn from north to east/southeast, we got our first view of Precarious.
The first image is Precarious Peak, from where the road turns from heading north to the east on Rustlers Gulch
On this road at about 11,300 there is a trail that veers left slightly off it, where it begins to descend towards the creek. The trail climbs the NE part of the basin,heading east, then turns south and crosses the northern fork of the creek about 11,600. We lost the trail there, but it didn't matter as we could see the route we wanted to attempt on Precarious.
The 2nd image is the steep, loose gully on the SW side of the peak.
From a trip report on FourteenerWorld.com by Teresa Gergen, we thought we wanted to go up a gully on the SW wide of the peak. From our vantage point it looked like it would work although it appeared to be steep and loose.
As I remember, it took us about 2 hours to ascend this gully, and it was indeed very loose, lots of various sized rocks that would move or slide when we stepped on them. We climbed on opposite sides or took turns ascending, stopping when in a secure place to let the other one climb without concern of rolling rocks.
Almost at the very top of the gully we spotted a cairn or two that led out and up to our right, towards the summit ridge. We followed those and eventually made our way to the west ridge, and climbed it, mostly on the south side.
Just as we expected to summit, we found ourselves on a sub-peak, with a huge vertical cleft between us and the continuing summit ridge. It looked to me like a dead-end. But Mark found a difficult route down the north side of the ridge to just below the bottom of the notch, where we were able to continue east, and begin climbing back to the summit ridge. Once back on the ridge it was much easier climbing on up to the top.
We descended the same way, and both of us fell down at least a dozen times each as we descended the gully, because of rocks shifting and sliding beneath us. None of these were sudden falls however, and neither of us were hurt.
The 3rd image is Mark near the top of the gully.
The 4th image is looking all the way down the steep, loose gully. Lots of loose rocks of various sizes. We lost the trail in the area of the upper right part of the photo.
We had an absolutely cloudless sky all day and commented on the hike out that we wished we had several more to spend climbing in that area.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):