| Knife Point and the Noname Creek Sweep Part 1
August 2, 2009
Approach ~7 Miles, 3,300 Gain
August 3, 2009
Knife Point 13,265
Peak Six 13,705
Peak Five 13,283
~6.5 Miles, 5,200 Gain
After Kevin and I picked up our third climbing partner, Mike, we made the short drive to Durango from Cortez and crashed at a friends house in Durango. We woke up early and picked up our train tickets where we left Durango by train to Needleton at 9:00 AM.
When we got off the train at Needleton, there were loads of people heading up towards Chicago Basin and it was nice to leave the crowds on our trail toward Noname creek. Roach's directions for the Noname Creek were spot on and the trail was much easier to follow than the neighboring Ruby Creek approach. The water tank hill does suck but still wasn't all that challenging; I thought the hill was definitely worse on the way out when I was tired.
As Roach suggested, we didn't head up Noname creek too early, and about 300 yards after crossing Noname creek, in an opening in the trees below a large rock is a clearly marked cairn indicating the Noname trail turnoff. We didn't have any other difficulty until the turnoff at ~10,760 but found the trail after a little bit of bushwhacking. Can't get off too easy. We camped the first night at ~11,000 in the basin leading up to Knife Point.
We woke up at 4:30 AM, cooked breakfast and were hiking by 5:15 AM where we hiked up a trail which we lost shortly after a stream crossing. As we made our way up the basin towards Sunlight, we aimed for a sloping ledge that starts on the right side of the face below Knife Point. To gain the ledge, we climbed up a grassy slope where we gained the ledge and further climbed up the ledge heading northeast toward the Knife Point - Peak Ten saddle, below the impressive west face of Knife Point.
Once we were in the gully heading towards the Knife Point - Peak Ten saddle, some short sections of loose class 3 rock were encountered. If we stayed on the north side of the gully, we would have kept the climbing at class 2 but didn't realize this until our descent. Knife Point looked stout as we climbed up the gully and all three of us were wondering if was going to be climbable.
Fortunately, once we reached the Knife Point - Peak Ten saddle, Knife Point showed its mellow east side. From the saddle, we followed the north ridge, some class 3, to the east face of Knife Point were it was a class 2 hike to the summit. We arrived at 8:00 AM with great views of Sunlight, Eolus, Animas and Jagged. Mike was real happy as it was his first summit deep in the Weminuche Wilderness. He earned his first summit. We took photos for a while then descended back to camp.
After a short break in camp, we cleaned up and started our hike further up Noname Basin. We completely missed the turn off leading up to Jagged and ended up doing some more bushwhacking. The trail is very faint at the turn off, and there is a cairn marking the junction (overgrown by some grass), again we figured this out on the descent (If you go to the stream, you have gone too far by about 100 yards). Once we were back on track, the trail was easy to follow until we reached the basin at ~10,800. We followed the trail through some willows and lost it in a boulder field on the north side of the basin.
Finally, we made our final hill climb and set up camp 2 near the lake at ~12,200. Kevin and Mike decided to set up camp while I attempted to climb Peak Five and Six before the weather turned for the worse. I left camp at 1:00 PM heading north and climbed up a steep hill which eventually overlooked the large lake at 12,552. From my overlook, I did an ascending traverse around the east side of the lake on talus to gain the southwest face of Peak Six. Once I reached the face, I climbed up a talus face, class 2, to the summit, arriving at 2:10 PM. Great views of Jagged and so far the weather was holding out with blue skies.
I descended the class 2 southwest ridge of Peak Six to the Peak Six - Peak Five saddle. When I reached the saddle, weather was starting build very quickly to the west. I picked up the pace and started up the east-northeast ridge up Peak Five. The ridge was fun with some class 3 sections and I made it to the summit at 2:50 PM where I heard some thunder. A large storm was brewing to the west so I quickly descended from the summit, ran where I could, and made it back to camp at 3:20 PM. I was ahead of my peak climbing schedule and we all went to bed early; we were all excited for Jagged.
Continued in Part 2.
Gateway to the Weminuche.
First clear view of Knife Point and Jagged.
Knife Point from the grassy ledge.
Gully climbing on Knife Point.
Sunrise on Knife Point.
Knife Points shadow with the Animas group in the background.
Climbing up Knife Points north ridge.
North ridge on Knife Point.
Climbing up Knife Points north ridge.
Climbing Knife Points mellow east face.
Last bit to Knife Point.
Vestal and Arrow from Knife Point.
Sunlight from Knife Point.
Pigeon, Monitor, Peak 13 and Animas from the summit of Knife Point.
Shadow of Knife Point from the summit.
Kevin and Mike on the descent from Knife Point.
Knife Point and Sunlight on our hike to camp 2.
Jagged with the lake at 12,552 from climbing Peak Six.
Leviathan and Vallecito from Peak Six.
Jagged from Peak Six.
Wild Flower Galore.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):