| Fun Ranked 13eener Duo Near Silverton
"Proposal" Peak 13,330
Emery Mountain 13,310 (unranked)
"Bonita" Peak 13,286
~3.2 Miles, ~2,400 Gain.
September 3, 2009
Since Sandy and I had two very productive days of climbing accomplished already in the San Juans, we decided to do an easy day and make the long drive back to Denver. Some more Silverton 13eeners were at hand.
We woke up at 5:30 from our Burns - Picayne gulch camp and made the quick drive down to Silverton and then up Minnehaha gulch where we parked off of an old mining road at ~11,600. We started hiking up the south fork of Minnehaha gulch aiming for the west ridge of Proposal Peak. As we made up way up the basin, the west ridge didn't look good. There appeared to be a very large headwall blocking upward progress. I decided to check out the northwest ridge of Proposal while Sandy worked her way to the base of the west ridge. Depending on how things looked, we would decide from there. The northwest ridge didn't look good, and with a closer look, Sandy mentioned that the west ridge would be climbable.
I made my way back to the base of the west ridge and once at the base, we could see a steep gully heading up the left side of the ridge. We started up. The climbing was sustained class 3 and was very enjoyable and after climbing about 200 feet up the ridge, the difficulty eased back to class 2.
Overall the rock quality of the west ridge of Proposal was very solid, especially for the San Juan's. We arrived on the summit of Proposal at 8:40 AM. The ridge traverse from Proposal to Emery didn't look easy from the summit of Proposal. After a short break on the summit, we proceeded east along a ridge and after about 200 feet we descended to the east side of the north ridge. The traverse appeared to be much easier from this viewpoint. We descended about 200 feet from the ridge proper and made our talus traverse towards Emery. We regained the south ridge of Emery after the ridge eased and continued north to the summit arriving at 9:40 AM.
After a short break we were on our way towards Bonita, however, there was one last surprise. A notch in the north ridge of Emery. We bypassed this notch by a 50 foot class 3 chimney climb-down. From the base of the chimney, we then traversed into the base of the notch and then climbed back onto the north ridge of Emery. Once we were back on the ridge it was a class 2 hike to the Emery-
From the saddle, we ditched our packs and worked our way up the grassy south slopes of Bonita. When we gained the ridge, it became a class 2 talus climb to the summit where we arrived at 10:40 AM. We returned back to the Emery-Bonita saddle and descended the loose talus slopes into the north fork of Minnehaha gulch.
We returned back to the car at noon completing 3 days of very productive and successful climbing in the San Juan's with 15 new 13eener summits. This duo had the best climbing of the 3 days and if this loop were to be repeated, I would change nothing.