Cronin via North Ridge?

Colorado 13er peak questions, condition requests and other info. 13er Trip Reports, Condition Reports
User avatar
Posts: 914
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:48 am
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:40 am

Was planning to ascend the north ridge on Cronin and descend via the east ridge and hook up with the road near Antero. I've been researching the north ridge route from Baldwin Gulch and...I am confused.

Most TRs and some forum entries seem to label this as a terribly loose, frustrating, and unenjoyable route, while 1 or 2 others said it was a lot of fun???

Roach's description makes no mention of it being loose and unpleasant.

So, 2 questions:
1. Are there really, "steep grass slopes" to gain the ridge near 12,600' as Roach describes?

Looking at the satellite image (and maybe the time of year the image was taken is masking the grass), it sure looks like a lot of scree/talus with some bushes interspersed.

2. If you've taken the north ridge up, could you please share your opinions?

Normally, I'd be fine with a loose, irritating, talus slog up a steep slope, but I fell recently and I'm still nervous on certain rock conditions. I just want to know what to expect.

"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

User avatar
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:28 pm
Location: Monument & Breck

Re: Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby powhound » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:09 am

I am glad I noticed your post as this beauty really caught my eye while hiking Antero on Wednesday. It made me clear up some confusion about peaks in that area. In Roaches 13er book this peak is called "North Carbonate". In the latest edition of the 14ers, he calls it Cronin. See my Antero conditions report if you are descending via that way. I also posted a trailhead report, but probably should have added to that ... I was in an Xterra Off Road and there were a couple of spots that made me anxious...especially descending. I was solo. If I had another person with me to get out and be a spotter that would have really helped. Have fun and good luck!
Cronin from Antero.JPG
Cronin from Antero.JPG (193.08 KiB) Viewed 319 times

User avatar
Posts: 926
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:02 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby Monster5 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:20 am

IHikeLikeAGirl wrote:1. Are there really, "steep grass slopes" to gain the ridge near 12,600' as Roach describes?

Yep. The NE-facing grassy slopes intersect just after a bump on the N ridge. 12,600 - 12800 ish. Fairly obvious once up there. Not sure I'd call them "steep."

2. If you've taken the north ridge up, could you please share your opinions?

Meh. Not hard, not fun, and probably (x+0.1)*100 times more enjoyable with good snow. 90% of the route is perfectly fine and requires little thought.

The scrambling near treeline is very short and easy. The rock is loose, but not terribly or unreasonably, and one can bypass left if needed. The relatively new-ish lady I was with had no problems with it. Just below treeline, there's a bit of class 2 scree (100 ft?) to deal with but most of the route is fine, stable, and has an intermittent trail.

Keep in mind this is not a destination scramble and even applying the word "scramble" to it would be an injustice. But it really doesn't engender too many thoughts of annoyance and frustration. It is just "meh."

The grassy slopes would probably be faster and more like "hmm" rather than "meh."

"The road to alpine climbing is pocked and poorly marked, ending at an unexpectedly closed gate 5 miles from the trailhead." - MP user Beckerich

Re: Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby Steve Climber » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:58 am

Monster5 wrote:The grassy slopes would probably be faster and more like "hmm" rather than "meh."

Best analysis ever. :mrgreen:
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.

Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

User avatar
Posts: 2142
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:47 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:00 am

Monster5 wrote:...not fun, and probably 100 times more enjoyable with good snow...

I did Cronin solo in winter and enjoyed it a lot. (Had partners on Antero, but they didn't feel like adding another peak that day so I went alone.)

While I don't have the research at my fingertips, I do recall considering that north ridge, and nixing the idea in favor of that sort of "standard" east slope. I'd guess part of the reason was safety and efficiency.

I know you want to do it this weekend, so the winter TR might not help much. But if for some reason you don't attempt it now, consider it during snow season. I've only been up Antero and that area in snow season, so I've missed all the cars and gas and oil and fumes and noise. This time of year it might not be bad, as other posters have pointed out.



User avatar
Posts: 948
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: Lafayette

Re: Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby I Man » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:13 am

Aaron and I did this in December 2011. We had to start at the bottom of the road, but I imagine the presence of snow on the route made it more enjoyable. The steepest and loosest climbing is to gain the North Ridge around treeline. After that it is only ever 2+ even with snow. We descended to the saddle and eventually down the road...the descent was very long and despite the excellent company, this wasn't a memorable route.
You can touch the void, just don't fall into it.

I fly a starship across the universe divide....and when I reach the other side...I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a Mountain Man again.

User avatar
Posts: 3286
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 1:36 pm
Location: Edwards, Colorado

Re: Cronin via North Ridge?

Postby Chicago Transplant » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:20 am

I started way lower than the Roach book, and posted to SP:

We had one short section of kind of loose class 3, but you might be able to avoid it? Nothing terrible and I always tend to err on the side of caution in my public route pages, I like to make them sound harder and looser than they are knowing not everyone has the same threshold for that sort of thing. Its not much different than most 13ers in the area in that regard.
"We want the unpopular challenge. We want to test our intellect!" - Snapcase
"You are not what you own" - Fugazi
"Life's a mountain not a beach" - Fortune Cookie I got at lunch the other day

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 7 guests