| Carson 8 Pack of 13eeners. Lake City
Bent Peak 13,393
Carson Peak 13,657
"Tundra Top" 13,450
"Cataract" Peak 13,524
Coney BM 13,334
~16 Miles, ~6,500 Gain
September 2, 2009
I read a great report from Pete K. last year with a great 8 peak 13eener day and was itchin' to repeat it. Coincidentally, Pete climbed this loop on September 2, 2008. Exactly one year ago. We woke up at 5:30 AM and from our camp near Burns Gulch, made the hour drive up and over Cinnamon Pass and up the rocky 4x4 road of Wager Gulch. We passed the town of Carson at first light and parked at the saddle at ~12,360. From our parking spot, we hiked west up a road towards our first objective, Bent Peak.
Once the abandoned road ended, we hiked up the class 2 grassy east slopes to the summit of Bent Peak where we arrived at 7:10 AM. Once again, the skies were hazy from the wildfires in California. The traverse to Carson was non-event class 2 and went smoothly, where we arrived at 8:00 AM.
From the summit of Carson Peak, we descended down the class 2 west ridge of Carson and up the class 2 east ridge of "Tundra Top." Some small towers were encountered but very easy to bypass. We arrived on the very flat plateau-like summit of "Tundra Top" at 9:55 AM, took a quick break, ditched our packs and headed down the loose talus north slopes toward "Cataract" Peak. From the "Cataract"-"Tundra Top" saddle we aimed for "Cataract's" west ridge. The west ridge was familiar San Juan junky scree. Despite the junky scree, it was a quick jaunt from the summit of "Cataract" where we arrived at 10:30 AM. Great views of Half Peak. Sandy decided to take a faint talus trail from the east ridge of "Cataract" that took a diagonal line back to the saddle while I scree skied the south face of "Cataract" Peak.
We re-ascended "Tundra Top," picked up our packs, and then headed down the grassy south slopes to the "Tundra Top" heading toward the "Tundra Top" - Point 13,580 saddle where we intersected the Colorado Trail. Sandy decided to head back to the car via the Colorado Trail while I climbed Point 13,580 and Point 13,581.
I started up the grassy north slopes of Point 13,580 where I surprisingly found a trail leading to the base of the northeast slopes of the summit. I hiked the northeast slopes and arrived at 11:30 AM on the summit. I descended the north slopes and started heading toward Point 13,581. I bypassed some interesting rock formations on the ridge traverse to Point 13,586 to the south. Ah, the so familiar San Juan scree was back.
After I reached Point 13,586, I continued further east as I came to the crux of the day. A large notch in the ridge. I followed Pete's report and bailed to the north side of the ridge losing about 100-200 feet from the ridge proper. I traversed on some interesting San Juan chalk choss and after bypassing the difficulties, regained the ridge up an oh so enjoyable scree gully.
The ridge looks like it could possibly be done on the ridge proper but I was very hesitant about the rock quality. After regaining the ridge, I hiked up some grassy slopes to the summit block. I climbed the summit block from the south up 20-30 feet of class 3 climbing, where I arrived on the summit at 12:30 PM. After a quick break, I retraced my steps back to the scree gully, descended into the Lost Trail Creek gulch, waded through some mellow willows, ascended the north side of the gulch where I intersected the Colorado Trail, which took me back to the car.
It was nice to follow a trail for a change. I arrived back at the car at 2:10 PM where Sandy was taking a quick nap. The weather was still hazy but still looked good for some more peaks. From our parking spot, we drove up a really steep hill which took us to the south side of Coney BM.
We found a parking spot and were hiking up a closed road which took us to the summit where we arrived at 2:45 PM. The closed road intersects and parallels the Colorado Trail. Point 13,260 looked distant. Sandy and I then descended some talus off of the north side of Coney BM where we intersected the Colorado Trail which we followed until we were on the southeast slopes of Point 13,260. We left the Colorado trail and climbed up the grassy southeast slopes arriving at the summit at 3:20 PM.
Fortunately, we had the comforts of the Colorado Trail to take us back to the car. We arrived back at the car and drove back to our camp on the west side of Cinnamon Pass. When I got home, I realized I missed Point 12,918, a ranked 12ver, which is south of Point 13,581. I am bummed that I left that peak out; it would have been a nice addition to the loop.
Camera still nuked. No photos.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):