| Sawatch Scree
6:30am: McNasser Gulch TH, 10760' (high clearance required)
9:10am: Grizzly Peak, 13988'
10:10am: Garfield Peak, 13780'
11:15am: Red Mountain, 13500'
2:30pm: McNasser Gulch TH
The road into McNasser Gulch is pleasant to follow and I made good progress into the high basin. As I turned north to hit Grizzly Peak's east ridge, I found myself facing a wall of scree. I also realized that I was heading up into some cliff bands, but the thought of traversing anywhere on the scree kept me going straight up. At the cliffs, I found a 20-30' class 4 break and popped up onto the east ridge.
Grizzly's east ridge - pick your way up through the scree and cliffs!
Some scrambling awaited on the ridge with rock similar to Crestone conglomerate.
scrambling on Grizzly's east ridge
I enjoyed the view from Colorado's highest ranked 13er(my GPS read 14020' ) and picked my way over to Garfield Pk without much difficulty. East of Garfield I was surprised to see a very rugged summit I had not read about. Reviewing the topo later, "East Garfield" interpolates to 13740' with 200' prominence - I wonder if anyone has climbed it?
"East Garfield" - unclimbed?
I expected the traverse to Red Mtn to go quickly, but the ridge would not have it. Almost immediately upon leaving Garfield I was forced to bypass, and an hour of negotiating scree amidst steep towers followed. Eventually, I threw in the towel, descending to the scree-field below and then traversed around all the difficulties.
Class 5 towers bathe in scree on the Garfield-Red ridge.
Beautiful red rock lies just south of Red's summit, and much gentler terrain leads to 13463.
Red Mtn's red rock and 13463
From 13463, I dropped down scree into the awkwardly named South Fork Lake Creek gulch and began traversing around the difficulties towards the Middle Mtn saddle.
Middle Mtn from 13463
The ridge to Red Mtn had put me behind my anticipated schedule, and after some estimation I decided that I'd have to skip Middle Mtn if I wanted to be home for dinner. So, despite the poor form of leaving an orphaned 13er, I dropped down into the gulch, catching a trail which led to a road and the vehicle.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):