| Williams Mountain Traverse. Good Scrambling in the Sawatch.
August 26, 2010
~13.9 Miles, ~5,700 Gain.
TH: Lost Man TH off of CO 82. 2WD.
The alarm didn't go off too early: 5:00 AM. I woke up, ate some breakfast and my wife and I made a 20 minute drive to the Lost Man Trailhead from our campsite. Steve Knapp showed up a little past 6 AM and Steve and I were hiking up the Lost Man trail around 6:30 AM. About 5 minutes into our hike, we left the Lost Man trail and started hiking up several switchbacks on the Midway Pass trail. It was nice to have a trail to gain some elevation for a change.
Following the Midway Pass trail was convenient until we left the trail around ~12,000 and headed directly north up some class 2 talus slopes towards 13,033. We arrived on the summit of 13,033 around 8:00 AM. We took a 10-15 minute break on the summit with crystal clear skies. From the summit, we chould see our long journey ahead to 13,108.
South slopes of 13,033.
Class 2 south slopes of 13,033.
The long traverse ahead. From the summit of the 13,033.
Heading north from the summit of 13,033 we descended on some class 2 talus. As we made our way to Williams Benchmark, I elected to bypass 13,122, to the west, which worked out well and saved me 200 feet of gain while Steve went up and over 13,122. The class 2 south ridge of Williams Benchmark was enjoyable and we arrived on the summit around 9:40 AM. After another 15 minute break, we were on our way to 13,203.
Looking back on 13,033 going to Williams Benchmark.
Williams and 13,203 from Williams Benchmark.
On our traverse over to 13,203, things got a bit more interesting and fun. After heading west for ~.3 miles, we encountered some class 3 scrambling with some short knife edge ridge sections. We tried to stay on the ridge proper as much as we could but we eventually hit a 15 foot gap that couldn't be down-climbed easily. From here, we descended a class 3 slab about 100 feet on the south side of the ridge and after bypassing the gap, we returned to back up to the ridge.
Traversing towards Williams and 13,203.
Short lived knife edge.
Scrambling on the traverse to 13,203.
Class 3 slabs on the south side of the ridge on the traverse to 13,203.
Scrambling section. Looking back on Williams Benchmark.
From the false summit south of 13,203, the climbing up 13,203 looked strenuous. Although 13,203 looked difficult, the scrambling to the summit was solid and quite enjoyable class 3 where we arrived at 11:15 AM. Excellent views all around with a neat summit block.
Scrambling up 13,203.
Looking back on Williams Benchmark.
Now for the most strenuous part of the trip; the traverse to Williams Mountain from 13,203. Right off the bat, we had to do some scouting around to descend north off of 13,203. We found a class 3 cliff that took us downward and from the bottom of our initial class 3 down-climb we ended up traversing west of the ridge on some ledges. Eventually, the ridge proper didn't go and we were forced to downward, west, down some loose class 3 gullies.
Down-climbing on the traverse to Williams.
Crappy class 3 gullies on the traverse to Williams.
After descending about 100-200 feet below the saddle on the west side of the ridge, we were able to make our way back to the south ridge of Williams. At the beginning, the scrambling was loose but as we got higher on the ridge the rock quality improved and the scrambling became more enjoyable. As we climbed upward, there seemed to be several false summits and eventually we arrived on the summit 2 hours later at 1:10 PM. There was probably a better way to do that traverse we both thought. We spent 15 minutes on the summit and we started toward our last objective of 13,108.
Looking up at Williams.
Loose scrambling low on Williams.
Looking back on 13,203 on the traverse to Williams.
More solid scrambling higher on Williams.
Final bit of exposed scrambling on Williams.
Final bit of exposed scrambling on Williams.
More class 3 scrambling was encountered as we worked our way down the north ridge of Williams and eventually things got easier as we made our way to the saddle. Near the saddle, there were some towers that we bypassed both on the east and west side of the ridge. I think it would have been easier to just bypass the all of the towers on the west side of the ridge. From the saddle, 13,108 was an easy class 2 stroll to the summit where we arrived at 2:20 PM.
Descending the ridge on Williams.
Class 3 on the descent on Williams. North Ridge.
Bypassing the towers on our way to 13,108.
The gentle slopes of 13,108.
Williams and Williams Benchmark from 13,108. Wtf happened to my camera?
We returned to the saddle and headed east into a small basin towards a small lake. Steve needed water so he headed towards the lake, and I headed toward a prominent saddle east of 12,683. I wanted to avoid losing unnecessary elevation gain and traversed high in the basin to the saddle. This is where things got more interesting. I thought we agreed on meeting at that saddle east of 12,683 but apparently not. After filling up with water, Steve went to a different saddle.
After I waited for about 40 minutes at the saddle east of 12,683, I went back to the car not sure where or what happened to Steve. He had mentioned the idea of climbing 3 more additional 13eeners on the way out, but also mentioned he didn't have enough water or any way to treat the water.
Williams from the small basin.
13,108 from the saddle east of 12,683.
I intercepted the Lost Man trail and hiked back to the car arriving at 6:00 PM. After 8:00 PM, I assumed Steve went for the 3 other peaks but around 10:00 PM I began to get worried. My wife and I waited, nervously, until 10:30 PM when Steve finally returned to his car. I guess he went for those 3 13eeners and failed to communicate that fact to me. Not to mention, a different saddle than what we agreed on. Oh well. Better communication for next time and I am glad everything worked out.
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