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Navajo Peak

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Navajo Peak

Postby goingup » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:39 am

I was hoping I could ask the trusty advice of those on this website for any comparative information on this peak? I am thinking of soloing it on Saturday via Airplane Gully and was curious if there is a 14er it could be compared to? I have read trip reports and Cooper's description and I don't think I will have any trouble with the route I would just more or less like to know how the scrambling holds up compared to some of the more familiar 14ers....Kelso Ridge? The Sawtooth? Ellingwood ridge? Thank you in advance.
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There is society, where no one intrudes,
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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby kansas » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:54 am

The route from Airplane gully only has a couple very short class 3 chimneys at the very top, they are steep but easy. I can't say anything on any of the 14ers you've done compares well but if you handled those routes just fine you will have no problems on Navajo. Personally I think the Airplane Gully itself is the crux of the route with all the steep loose rock, once you reach the upper portion of Navajo the rock is nice and solid with some very fun scrambling.

Have fun! Navajo is one of my favorite peaks.
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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby JeffR » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:58 am

The scrambling is actually pretty straightforward. The gully is just loose/annoying, but is not steep enough to be considered "dangerous" IMO. The ridge is just a ridge until the summit block area. Then you'll need to do a little route-finding, but it's fairly obvious which way to go. From that point, it's just class 2-3 on solid rock with some manageable exposure. It was misty and the rock was moist when I did it, so it was a little nerve-wracking, but when clear and dry would probably be a blast.
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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby Sugar Madison » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:10 am

Approaching from Niwot Ridge is a pretty fun way to do it and not as unpleasant as Airplane Gully...

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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby PaliKona » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:36 am

What's the best way to access the ridge?

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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby fahixson » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:47 am

JeffR wrote:The gully is just loose/annoying, but is not steep enough to be considered "dangerous" IMO.

This sums up my memory of the gully as well. I also used Cooper's book and TRs on this site as a guide and felt well prepared for the route and what to expect.

As for a 14er comparison . . . I suppose early Class 3 section of Torrey's Kelso Ridge route is similar. Navajo's Class 3 is short and solid. One take away from my limited 13er experience, these peaks see quite a bit less traffic than the Front Range and Sawatch 14ers. That means fewer cairns, faint trails, etc. Be sure to take your time and make sure you're on the route. If it feels too difficult and loose, step back and make sure you're going the right way.

There's also a recent thread on parking for the Brainard Lakes area. I haven't been there this year, but looks like lots are filling up by 7am on the weekends . . .
viewtopic.php?t=40755&p=493534#p493534

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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby JEyez » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:05 am

PaliKona wrote:What's the best way to access the ridge?


Assuming you're asking about Niwot Ridge every time I've accessed it I've basically used the following route description by krishcane available on 13ers.com (gpx available as well):

http://www.13ers.com/routemain.php?route=201209271700286208

The route he is describing goes to Kiowa but once you gain the ridge simply follow it west to Navajo. Fun!

To the OP, I found Airplane Gully to be fairly short and "easy." The Sawtooth, Kelso, and especially Ellingwood Ridge are not comparable. You'll find Airplane Gully much easier than those three climbs and the approach is beautiful.
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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby goingup » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:30 pm

Thank you so much everyone. I very much appreciate the info. Looks like a good one to solo :-D
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where no one intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more......

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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby James Dziezynski » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:34 pm

I have the airplane gully route in my book Best Summit Hikes in Colorado. It's a total blast, I think you'll enjoy it! If you need the gps tracks, you can snag 'em free here:

http://www.mountainouswords.com/adventures/

And while I'm always delighted if someone picks up my book, I'm glad to send over a map/directions for free :) Just PM me or shoot me a line at james@mountainouswords.com.
Check out my book Best Summit Hikes in Colorado at http://amzn.to/WKkWOH

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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby James Dziezynski » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:37 pm

Oh, to answer your question: the scramble up the gully is kind of like a looser Sneffels or Lindsey. It's not terribly long and not as loose as say El Diente from Navajo, but it's a bit of a grind. You'll have wreckage debris to lead you to the ridge. From there, the scramble to the summit block is airy but fun and solid class 3!
Check out my book Best Summit Hikes in Colorado at http://amzn.to/WKkWOH

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Re: Navajo Peak

Postby speth » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:55 pm

fahixson wrote:
JeffR wrote:The gully is just loose/annoying, but is not steep enough to be considered "dangerous" IMO.

This sums up my memory of the gully as well. I also used Cooper's book and TRs on this site as a guide and felt well prepared for the route and what to expect.

As for a 14er comparison . . . I suppose early Class 3 section of Torrey's Kelso Ridge route is similar. Navajo's Class 3 is short and solid. One take away from my limited 13er experience, these peaks see quite a bit less traffic than the Front Range and Sawatch 14ers. That means fewer cairns, faint trails, etc. Be sure to take your time and make sure you're on the route. If it feels too difficult and loose, step back and make sure you're going the right way.

There's also a recent thread on parking for the Brainard Lakes area. I haven't been there this year, but looks like lots are filling up by 7am on the weekends . . .
viewtopic.php?t=40755&p=493534#p493534


I actually climbed Navajo as my first peak over 12k ft with this guy, haven't seen you around Andy.

I'll echo the sentiment here, Airplane Gully was loose, but not a nightmare. The mountain is solid and fun up top, a bit airy on the true summit.
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