| Winter Is Near. Fun 13eener with 12vers.
~5.4 Miles, ~3,000 Gain
Prospect Mountain 12,614
~4.1 Miles, 1,600 Gain
October 24, 2009
Partner: Steve Knapp
It had been a little over a month since I climbed some 13eeners and I was itching to get out again. After talking with Steve, we agreed to try a loop of peaks south of Independence Pass. We met at C470 and Morrison at 4:30 AM and started our drive towards Leadville. The weather on the drive didn't look good. At the tunnel, it was snowing heavily and the snow was worse at Fremont Pass. The roads were slick and the visibility sucked and I was beginning to think we wouldn't reach our 4x4 trailhead at 11,200 feet.
When started heading south out of Leadville, fortunately the skies started to clear a bit. We made the turn off of Independence Pass and started up the snow covered South Fork Lake road. The road was manageable as we slowly worked our way up the road. We reached our trailhead at ~11,200 where the weather was marginal but we were still willing to give the climb a go.
After we geared up, we started hiking up the old road up South Fork Lake Creek drainage a little past 7:10 AM. We followed the road for about 1/2 mile and then started heading directly toward Lakes Pass trying to avoid willows and deep snow. Our pace was somewhat slowed heading up the northwest slopes of Point 13,322 as the loose rocks were covered in fresh powdery snow.
At ~12,300 we decided to ditch our packs and make a dash for the top. The cold wind was brutal and was a quick reminder that summer is over. We arrived on the summit of Point 13,322 at 9:35 AM and our stay was short. Not too many good views today.
Steve on the summit of 13,322.
Point 12,934 from 13,322.
We headed back toward our packs and were debating on climbing the other peaks that we had planned. Since the weather was clearing, we decided to try the other peaks and started our wallow through fresh powder snow to gain the northeast ridge of Point 12,934. The ridge was a steep snow covered class 2 talus climb and became more enjoyable as we climbed higher; we arrived on the summit 10:45 AM. The views were better as the weather cleared for a moment.
Point 12,934 from the 12,934-13,322 saddle.
Steve climbing up 12,934
Point 13,322 from a clearing from 12,934.
The summit ridge to 12,934.
Steve nearing the final ridge on 12,934
Fun ridge near the summit of 12,934
Fun ridge near the summit of 12,934
Unfortunately, we didn't have a pencil or a pen to sign into the 1993 Garret register and shortly thereafter, we were on our way down the class 2 talus southwest ridge of Point 12,934. We avoided a high knob in the ridge by traversing around the knob on the south side of the ridge.
Jenkins from the summit 12,934.
From the 12,934-12,750 saddle, the summit of Point 12,750 looked close; however, 12,750's northeast ridge was a time consuming to climb. The climbing was class 2 but we were constantly hopping between large boulders and trying not to twist our ankles between the snow filled gaps between the boulders. We arrived at the summit at 11:45 AM and took a quick break. After absorbing some views, we descended back to the Point 12,934-12,750 saddle and worked our way down a shallow snow couloir back into the South Fork Lake Creek drainage.
Point 12,750 from Point 12,934.
Steve comming around the knob, Point 12,934 in the background.
The blocky ridge to 12,750.
Point 13,322 and Point 12,934 from Point 12,750.
Three peaks isn't quite enough is it? After we returned to the car, Steve and I decided to drive back to Leadville and climb Prospect Mountain. By now, most of the snow had melted out of the South Fork road and we made good time back to Leadville. We drove around the south side of Prospect Mountain on the Mosquito Pass road debating the best spot to park. We ended up parking due south of Point 12,529.
Unknowingly, we started up the south slopes of Point 12,529 thinking it was the south slopes of Prospect Mountain. It was a very disappointing climbing to the top of 12,529 only to realize we were on a false summit. We scampered west to the summit arriving at 3:30 PM. The wind was blowing and our stay was short as we descended the south slopes of Prospect passing Lake Isabelle. We traversed southwest back to the road and ended up hiking the last .3 miles on the road uphill to the car. Perhaps the better way to climb Prospect would be to hike/drive the road to Lake Isabelle and then hike directly north to the summit.
Route Map for Prospect Mountain.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):