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Peak(s):  Lookout Pk  -  13,661 feet
San Joaquin Ridge  -  13,460 feet
Silver Mtn B  -  13,470 feet
Post Date:  08/09/2009
Date Climbed:   08/01/2009
Posted By:  Furthermore


 Ophir Thirteeners, San Juans   

August 1, 2009
Lookout Mountain 13,661
San Joaquin Ridge 13,460
Silver Mountain 13,470
~6.5 Miles, 3,300 Gain

Today was supposed to be rest/easy day. The original plan was to climb Dallas but another 4,500 gain with a heavy pack didn't feel all that appealing especially since we were planning on a 5 day trip into the Weminuche starting tomorrow. Since it was going to be an easy day, Kevin and I decided on just climbing Lookout Mountain just north of Ophir Pass. Nevertheless, we had to pick up another friend from the Cortez airport that evening at 6:00 PM.

We woke up late and drove to the top of Ophir Pass and started climbing at 7:45 AM; at a slow pace. The weather was really clear which was a nice shift from the last three days of climbing. From the summit of Ophir Pass we skirted level around the east edge of Point 12,187 and passed under some power lines. The route wasn't obvious to the summit and we were wondering if it was even climbable. After passing under the power lines, we climbed up grassy slopes to gain the south ridge of Lookout Mountain. We ended up climbing up a scree gully to gain the ridge which ended up being fairly tedious. When Kevin descended he mentioned to me to stay on grass slopes until gaining the ridge.

Once we gained the ridge, the route became more obvious and looked very doable. He headed up the ridge which at first was class 2. When we got higher on the ridge the climbing became class 3 on some fun San Juan Porphyry ledges; some of the moves at first were a bit exposed. After we finished climbing the ledges we hiked west to the summit where we arrived at 10:30 AM. We had excellent views of Columbine Lake and US Grant Peak.

Although I had already climbed around 28 miles and 18,600 gain in the last 3 days, I was feeling pretty good and from the summit of Lookout, San Joaquin Ridge and Silver Mountain were calling me like a siren to climb them. They appeared so close and I just couldn't leave them unclimbed.

After some photos and a break on the summit of Lookout, Kevin and I backtracked back down the class 3 moves of the south ridge to ~13,100 where I started my long scree traverse to San Joaquin Ridge, and Kevin descended back to the car.

I traversed northwest at ~13,100 on the west side of the cliffs of Lookout Mountains summit block. I gained the northwest ridge of Lookout Mountain at ~13,200. There weren't any real difficulties in this traverse but man did it suck. It was unrelenting scree all the way to the northwest ridge. Once I gained the northwest ridge I was able to pick up my pace and descended to the Lookout - Point 13,432 saddle.

Ascending 13,423 didn't look all that appealing and since I love traversing on scree/talus so much, I traversed the south face of Point 13,423 at ~13,100. Fortunately, the talus was somewhat stable and I made fairly good time as I reached the Point 13,423 - San Joaquin Ridge. From the saddle it was an enjoyable class 2 hike to the summit. I arrived at 12:30 AM. Sweet, 2 hours of scree filled fun. The weather still was clear so I continued on my way to Silver Mountain.

I descended the west ridge proper and climbed up and over the west summit of San Joaquin Ridge and continued down to the San Joaquin - Silver Mountain saddle. From the saddle climbing the east ridge directly to Silver Mountain wasn't much of an option as there was a large cliff band preventing further progress. I continued on by traversing, you guessed it, on more scree on the north side of the ridge. I was able to traverse at ~13,100 on a large level ledge around the cliff bands of Point 13,462 to gain the east ridge of Silver.

Groovy! Once I passed the cliff bands, I had a sweet loose scree climb to the Silver - Point 13,462 saddle. From the saddle it was a nice hike to the summit where I arrived at 1:50 PM. The weather was still holding great. I returned to the Silver - Point 13,462 saddle and descended south on scree into Staatsburg Basin.

Finally at ~11,300 in Staatsburg Basin I was done with the scree and noticed a large herd of Elk. Since there was a trail marked on the topo, I was hoping for a trail to lead me back to Ophir but I wasn't so lucky. I descended on grassy slopes south out of Staatsburg Basin and around ~10,400 I found the grassy covered road which took me back to Ophir. The road wasn't all that easy to follow as I don't think too many people hike into Staatsburg Basin. I met up with Kevin in Ophir at 3:00 PM and we made our drive to Cortez to pick up our third victim for our Weminuche trip. So much for a rest day.

Lookout Mountain from under the powerlines.
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Upper section of Lookout Mountain
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Looking up at the class 3 ridge terrain on Lookout Mountain.
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Looking up at the class 3 ridge terrain on Lookout Mountain.
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Class 3 on Lookout.
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Kevin on some class 3 on Lookout Mountain.
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Looking south at US Grant Peak from Lookout Mountain.
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Class 3 section on Lookout Mountain.
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Columbine Lake from Lookout Mountain.
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Kevin down-climbing a class 3 section on Lookout Mountain.
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Looking around Lookout.
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Scree traverse from Lookout Mountain.
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East ridge of San Joaquin Ridge from Point 13,423 - San Joaquin Ridge saddle.
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East ridge of San Joaquin Ridge.
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Silver Mountain from San Joaquin Ridge. Wilson's in the background.
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East ridge of Silver Mountain.
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San Joaquin Ridge and Lookout Mountain from Silver Mountain.
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Route Map.
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