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 Peak(s):  South Lookout Pk  -  13,380 feet
"V 5"  -  13,156 feet
 Post Date:  07/18/2009
 Date Climbed:   07/14/2009
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 Fun San Juan 13eener Scrambeling Near Clear Lake   

July 14, 2009
South Lookout Peak 13,380
"V 5" 13,156
~3.6 Miles, ~2,700 Gain.

Due to the weather the prior day, I was delayed tremendously to Durango so I ended up commuting into Cortez, arriving at 11:40 PM, where my wife picked me up. Since I wasn't planning on ending up in Cortez, I really didn't have a backup climbing plan. Our original plan was to camp near Clear Lake but that was at least a 2 ˝ hour drive from Cortez. We decided to drive until we felt tired and ended lasting to the top Molas Pass where we camped. It was late; 1:30 AM.

Since I had a much grander plan for day two, I was planning on an easy day for my first day so we slept in until 7:30 AM, woke up, broke camp and made the quick ˝ hour drive to Clear Lake. The 4x4 road to Clear Lake was surprisingly mellow and had some sweet views of the Ice Basin peaks. Once we arrived at the trailhead, we packed our packs and were hiking by 9:15 AM. From the east end of Clear lake, we did an ascending traverse northwest toward the grassy south summit of South Lookout Peak. The true difficulties of South Lookout peak were hiding from us.

Just prior to reaching the grassy summit, my wife decided to stay behind as the true summit looked ragged. From where I left my wife, I did a descending traverse north on the east side of the peak dropping below a small buttress and below a small snow field. I was approximately 100-150 feet below the ridge when I started a level traverse north around some rock ledges which took me into a steep class 3 rock couloir. I climbed about 30-40 feet up the rock couloir, then did a hairy class 4 move to a 2 foot wide ledge. Once I climbed onto the ledge, I traversed on the ledge to an arete leading upward.

I climbed upward on the class 3 arete for 200-300 feet. There is ~30-50 foot headwall from this arete leading to the summit. I decided not to climb this headwall as the climbing would certainly be fifth class. I was approximately 100-150 below the summit block when I started another traverse north on some real exposed class 3 ledges until I was well north of the summit. Again, I reached another arete, and climbed upward toward the summit ridge. The climbing was sustained class 3-4 on some real chossy rock. When I reached the summit ridge, I headed south, class 2, to the summit where I arrived at 10:40 AM. What a sweet climb.

After spending some time on the summit, I retraced my steps back to my wife. The down- climbing was way more sketchy than the climb itself where I really noticed the crappy rock quality. I took my time as I kept pulling off basket ball sized boulders that appeared to be solid. Once I reached my wife, she decided to return to the car as I started my traverse to "V 5."

The traverse to "V 5" was uneventful as I by passed any difficulties on the north side of the ridge. I am sure any difficulties could be bypassed on the south side of the ridge as well. As I neared the summit of "V 5," there was an obvious headwall that could not be climbed. I traversed below the headwall on the south side of the summit. After my traverse, I started up a class 2 rocky gully which took me to the summit ridge. I headed west to the summit where I arrived at 12:50 PM. From the summit, there were some awesome views of Ice Basin. I returned down the gully and took an old mining road back to my car, arriving at 1:45 PM. What a great day with some stout climbing and a super short approach.

South Lookout Mountain from below the grassy south summit.
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Clear Lake.
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"V 5"
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South Lookout Mountain.
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Looking at the 2 foot wide ledge. The rocky couloir angles upward and left.
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The rocky couloir.
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Looking at the 2 foot wide ledge. The rocky couloir angles upward and left.
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2 foot wide ledge.
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Class 3 traverse to the final arete looking south.
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Class 3 traverse to the final arete.
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Looking down on the final arete.
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Class 3-4 climbing to reach the summit ridge of South Lookout Mountain.
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US Grant Peak from South Lookout Mountain.
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Class 5 alternative to the summit of South Lookout Mountain?
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South Lookout Mountain - "V 5" traverse.
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Clear Lake from the traverse.
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"V 5" headwall from the South Lookout Mountain-"V 5" traverse.
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Rocky chute leading to the summit ridge of "V 5."
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South Lookout Mountain from "V 5."
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Approximate route taken on South Lookout Mountain.
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Ice Basin and Clear Lake from "V 5."
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Zoom of Ice Basin from "V 5."
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"V 5" the rocky chute can be seen leading to the summit ridge.
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Route.
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (2)
Presto


Nice!     2009-07-21 09:58:27
What fantastic pictures (especially of Ice Lake Basin) ... don‘t you just love doing climbs that give you great views of other things you‘ve climbed. Looking forward to doing these two ... thanks for posting. Happy trails!


PKR


Thanks for posting     2009-07-26 09:54:58
As always thanks for the beta Derek
Ken



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