| 3 Days: 4 Fine Winter Cristo Summits
The false summit of 13,123 in the morning.
January 11-13, 2010
Total Miles ~18.4
Total Gain ~6,100
Finally, a break with the weather that co-existed with my days off. What else would be better than a three day winter camping trip with 4 summits? My wife and I left Denver at 7:00 AM and with a few errands on the way, we arrived at our trailhead at 10:30 AM about .4-.5 miles past the Rainbow Trail Camp. There appeared to be more snow on the road this year than last year when I climbed Eagle Peak.
Hiking up the road.
Donna trying the sled.
I strapped on my skis and started skinning up the road which was conveniently packed down by a snowmobile. We made good time as we worked our way up the road. My wife didn't need snowshoes until the snowmobile tracks stopped at ~10,000 feet. The weather was perfect and we were comfortable hiking with a long-sleeve shirt. At Rainbow Lake, we started tp break trail as we continued to follow the road towards Cloverdale Mine. The last 2 miles and 800 feet gain took a lot more effort as our camp pack and sled started to wear on us. It had been at least 2 months since we had been backpacking.
Lone Eagle on the approach.
Rainbow Lake as we near our camp.
5.9 miles later, we arrived at our campsite at ~11,200 around 4:45 PM where we set up our tent up next to some old cabins. Fortunately, there were some flat areas on the ground that didn't need to be shoveled out for our tent. I cooked dinner, melted snow for water and went to bed.
My original plan was to start climbing at 4:30 AM and try to collect Lakes Peak along with Point 13,123, Cottonwood, 12,780 and Wulsten Baldy but I decided to sleep in and skip out on Lakes Peak since it required a significant amount of extra effort to climb. At ~1:00 AM my wife woke me up completely upset She was complaining that mice were eating our food that we had left in our vestibule. Sure enough, we listened and we could hear the mice chewing on the bagel bag and our trash bag. So much for a great idea sleeping next to some old cabins.
At 7:00 AM I woke up and cooked some breakfast and at 7:30 AM, I began skinning up Cloverdale Basin towards Silver Lake. The trail breaking went smoothly as I worked my way toward the north ridge of Point 13,123. At ~11,900 I took off my skis and began hiking up the talus slopes of the north ridge of Point 13,123. I followed the class 2 ridge to the summit, arriving at 9:40 AM.
Clean view of Cottonwood as I approach 13,123.
The ridge I took to gain the north ridge of Point 13,123.
North ridge of Point 13,123.
Nearing the summit on Point 13,123.
Cottonwood Peak from the summit of Point 13,123.
Looking down Cloverdale Basin from 13,123.
The weather was perfect and the views to the south were amazing. After a short stay on the summit, I started toward my next objective. Cottonwood Peak. The ridge wasn't very difficult technically but the 1/2 foot of powder snow on the ridge made it time and energy consuming. I continued to follow the southwest ridge of Cottonwood until I arrived on the summit at 10:45 AM. From the summit, I had excellent views of the southern Sawatch and the Crestones.
The southeast ridge of Cottonwood.
Looking back at 13,123.
Looking south from the summit of Cottonwood.
Point 13,123 from Cottonwood.
Since I had plenty of time, I descended the north ridge of Cottonwood towards 2 ranked 12vers. This ridge had less snow and the traveling went fairly quickly. I made the 1.5 mile traverse to Point 12,780 in decent time where I arrived on 12,780's summit at 12:10 AM. I took a short break and headed north-northeast toward Wulsten Baldy. I left my pack at the Wulsten Baldy- Point 12,780 saddle and climbed to the summit of Wulsten Baldy where I arrived at 12:45 PM. The wind began to pick up but there still wasn't a cloud in the sky. I descended back to my pack.
Looking back at the north ridge of Cottonwood as I work my way to 12,780.
Cottonwood from the summit of Point 12,780.
Wulsten Baldy from Point 12,780.
Point 13,123, Cottonwood and Point 12,780 from Wulsten Baldy.
From the Wulsten Baldy-Point 12,780 saddle, I headed directly east down a steep loose talus slope directly to camp. The decent was a bit more time consuming as I tried to keep my balance on the loose terrain. I arrived back at camp at 2:00 PM. Since we had plenty of daylight left, my wife and I agreed to pack up and move camp down towards Rainbow Lake.
We arrived at Rainbow Lake around 3:45 PM and set up camp as we enjoyed our relaxation in solitude. After a good nights sleep without mice, we woke up early and made the short 3.8 mile trek back to the car. It felt good to get the blood flowing again.
Digging camp at Rainbow Lake.
Home sweet home.
Pratice skiing with the sled and backpack.
Route Map. Day 1: Red. Day 2: Yellow. Day 3: Blue
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