| 1 down, 9 to go...
Mt. Royal (10,502')
Mt. Victoria (11,785')
Peak 1 (12,805')
The 10 major peaks of the Tenmile Range march southward toward their terminus at the high point of Quandary Peak. I had read an extremely awe-inspiring trip report detailing a traverse of all 10 peaks in one fell swoop, but (being old and broken-down) decided on a more realistic course of action.
Peak 1 and Tenmile Peak (chosen to be the namesake peak for unknown reasons) are the imposing sentinels at the northern tip of the range. I figured that this duo would make for a challenging day hike without an excessive amount of driving.
Peak 1 (and Tenmile Peak, barely sneaking a glance over it's shoulder) standing guardian over the town of Frisco.
I started off from the parking lot on Main Street, just east of I-70. The Mt. Royal TH is very obvious about 1/2 mile south on the Vail/Breck bikepath.
The Mt. Royal trail is fairly popular with hikers and runners, which explains it's excellent condition. It gets steep pretty quickly, but is a nice introduction to the hike (and the further steepness ahead). There are several junctions within the first mile - I always stayed to the right while heading for the ridge. Not sure where the other trails lead to.
At about 10,200', this junction presents itself. I turned to the right to head up to the saddle and Mt. Royal. Continuing straight would lead directly to the ridge south of the saddle.
Once at the saddle, I followed the trail to the right. Shortly afterward, the trail became pretty indistinct, so I just talus-hopped along the ridge until reaching the high point of Mt. Royal. Up-'n '-over I went, descending a bit and reascending the boulders until I reached the overlook at the absolutely farthest north end of the ridge.
Nifty view of Frisco and Lake Dillon:
Buffalo Mountain (right) and the southern Gores:
I headed back south and over Mt. Royal again until I reached the saddle and this giganticairn:
At this point, I considered heading back down to the trail junction and back up the other leg of the trail to the ridge. But I instead decided to head directly south on the ridge, where I quickly picked up one of the myriad social trails. It eventually rejoined the main trail and steeply ascended the ridge.
I had thought that the ridge would be mostly off-trail, and was surprised that there was a strong climber's trail for quite a distance. The hiking was very pleasant, surrounded by a nice mix of tundra and talus once out of treeline. The ridge drops off steeply on both sides, but just enough to be interesting and not at all problematic.
Shortly after treeline, Mt. Victoria is gained. It's nothing more than a bump on the ridge, but is at least a good indicator of progress.
Mt. Victoria (left) and Peak 1:
Looking back down the ridge from Mt. Victoria:
Looking up the ridge from the same spot:
The route from here gets more interesting with nice slabby rock (some of it sheer, all of it solid) on a narrower ridge. There is a broken trail through this section, but I chose to have a little fun on the boulders instead.
Typical of the ridge in this area:
The final 3-400' up Peak 1 is ripe with choices, all of which are happy class 2 or 3:
I believe most people head up climber's right (beneath the snow field) or the gully in the center. But both of those looked chossy and unpleasant. There looks to be some nice climbing on either side of the gully, but I chose a route up the far left side (in the shadows). It turned out to be a little gravelly in spots, but otherwise a really nice 2+ final push to the summit.
North from summit:
I had planned to do Tenmile Peak also, but had bonked early and was just wiped at the summit. It was too bad, because the ridge looked like a fine stroll to take. Maybe next time (sigh).
Ridge to Tenmile Peak:
A quick check of the weather gave me more incentive to start back. I snapped one final picture before descending.
I finally found out where the Martian's Earth Lander crashed.
About an hour after leaving the summit, I saw the clouds start unloading a bit up on the ridge. Maybe it was good that I didn't tempt the fates up on the saddle. I passed a few other groups on the ridge, but didn't hit the crowds until rejoining the Mt. Royal trail. Always such a pleasure to get back to civilization. :)>
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):