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What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Colorado 13er peak questions, condition requests and other info. 13er Trip Reports, Condition Reports
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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby Scott P » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:13 am

There are a lot more low-elevation technical ranked peaks than 12ers and above


True. Peak 7071 is 3 pitches 5.10. Steamboat Rock, 6 feet short of being a ranked peak, is 5.10 A3. Several of the peaks in Dinosaur National Monument (even the ranked ones) remain unclimbed.
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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby opticstalk » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:11 am

Which ones remain unclimbed?

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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby tlongpine » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:08 am

Scott P wrote:
There are a lot more low-elevation technical ranked peaks than 12ers and above


True. Peak 7071 is 3 pitches 5.10. Steamboat Rock, 6 feet short of being a ranked peak, is 5.10 A3. Several of the peaks in Dinosaur National Monument (even the ranked ones) remain unclimbed.


Why?
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby Scott P » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:29 am

Why?


Loose rock, technical difficulty, remote, and lack of interest.

A zoom shot of the summit block of this one, for example, shows that it is overhung on all sides:

Image

Slowly but surely though, some of the peaks are being picked off.

Peak 7071 was finally climbed in 2010 (it's hard to tell the scale by looking at the photo, but the face you are looking at is over one and a half times higher than the Diamond on Longs).:

Image

At 1600 feet, this ranked peak has one of the highest cliffs in Colorado. Luckily the peak has an easier route up.

Image

The summit of South Split Mountain was finally climbed for the first time in 2012:

Image

Peaks such as 6799 remain unclimbed and are very difficult.

We made the possible 1st ascent of 6489 in 2006 and called it Outlaw Peak, though it's a much easier peak than the surrounding ones, even though it is technical.

http://www.summitpost.org/outlaw-peak/225744

Image

If you look in an updated almanac that list natural arches and bridges you can see that the arch we discovered on the descent of Outlaw Peak is currently known as the world's 13th largest, and the largest in the world that was discovered between 1950 and 2010.

In over 30 years of exploring the region, other than at Harpers Corner and Jones Hole, in the backcountry, not only have we never ran into anyone (including on holiday weekends), but we've never found so much as even a footprint that wasn't ours. We did find one cairn in over 30 years. Other than scattered pictographs, petroglyphs, a couple of historic signatures, and that one cairn, we haven't found any signs of humans. Despite its beauty, there doesn't seem like there is much interest in the other than among the rafters.
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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby Brian C » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:58 am

I'd like to make a trip out to DNM this spring and spend a week out there exploring some of these peaks. Scott, what is the first photo you posted? Seems like a great area to go tromp around with some FA potential.

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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby 12ersRule » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:14 am

Brian C wrote:what is the first photo you posted?


Looks chock full of chossy goodness to me.

Thanks everyone for all the replies so far. Some good stuff here, yes, I am making a wishlist from this.

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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby Scott P » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:18 am

Scott, what is the first photo you posted?


It's in the Jones Hole area and is one of the unranked buttresses of Diamond Mountain. Plenty of good peaks around there (Jones Hole). Two nearby ranked ones in the Ely Creek drainage are also very technical and have first ascent potential. As far as I know, 6140 and 6235 are still unclimbed.

This is 6140:

Image

Higher resolution:

http://images.summitpost.org/original/411906.JPG

http://images.summitpost.org/original/198186.jpg

It looks like it has several reasonable lines.

I believe this one is 6235:

Image

Higher resolution:

http://images.summitpost.org/original/411912.JPG

It doesn't appear to be extremely hard.

The Canyon of the Ladore South Quad also has some unclimbed ones. 6799 would be extremely difficult and is certainly unclimbed. It probably would require aid, is plagued (or blessed?) with fierce overhangs, and will be much more difficult than the ones above. It's also a lot bigger. 6300 is probably unclimbed, but I think I know of a reasonable route, but very loose.

The highest summit of South Split Mountain was finally climbed in May 2012, but South Split has two ranked summits. I don't know if the other one has been climbed. Probably not since it would be harder to access than the main summit and the main summit wasn't climbed until 2012.
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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby jkirk » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:09 pm

A subjective top 20 hardest list of ranked 13ers - top 10 is a difficult cutoff
(listed by descending elevation):
Jagged Mountain - 13824'
Teakettle Mountain - 13819'
Dallas Peak - 13809'
Ulysses S. Grant Peak - 13767'
Pilot Knob - 13738'
Peak Fifteen - 13700'
Monitor Peak - 13695'
Coxcomb Peak - 13656'
Clark Peak - 13580'
Sleeping Sexton - 13460'
"Heisshorn" - 13411'
Peak Nine - 13402'
Precarious Peak - 13380'
South Lookout Peak - 13380'
"El Punto" - 13300'
"Peak Q" - 13230'
Babcock Peak - 13180'
Lizard Head - 13113'
13060 - 13060'
13017 - 13017'
Since it was mentioned, and most tend to do this peak on its knife edge, it's worth noting "P 2"'s knife edge can be completely avoided by sidehilling below to the SW, making for a comparatively trivial 3rd class ascent.

Haven't finished the 12ers yet (250 left of the 676), (Most notably haven't done Twin Peaks and Turret Ridge), but here's the top 10 subjective list of those I've done:
"Dragons Back" - 12968'
"The Elephant" - 12865'
Dunsinane Mountain - 12742'
12740 - 12740'
Chair Mountain - 12721'
Sharkstooth, The - 12630'
"Angel Knob" - 12580'
12500 - 12500'
"McReynolds Peak" - 12450'
Sheepshead - 12260'

To some degree think I'd replace one of these with Silver Plume, but that's because the last ascent of it I did at the end of December and boots weren't sticking to the rock in subzero temps. Had to rig a handline over the top using webbing. Way more difficult than summer climbing up Teakettle...

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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby TomPierce » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:57 pm

I've done 7 of the 14 originally listed, and have been close on 2 more. Haven't gotten to Turret Ridge yet, but Lizard Head was technically the hardest of those listed that I've led, although the hard part was only 10 feet or so and really wasn't hard at all, just atypically steep and thin for an alpine peak. Very solid rock on the crux. And I wouldn't discount lowly Silverplume. Although it appears many/most? use stacked rocks/logs to top out, for a shorter climber (I'm 5'8"…maybe :lol: ) doing it from the ground up cleanly is an interesting boulder problem. Not 5.0. Finally, I agree with Scott that the hardest peaks in Colorado aren't alpine, but that's just my opinion.
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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby justiner » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:00 pm

What's the exceptionally overhanging boulder problem on the summit block of Green Mountain rated as? ;)



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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby dhgold » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:15 pm

I wanted to weigh in on this topic when it was current but since at that time I hadn't done a couple of notable peaks I kept quiet. At this point, though, I've lead or soloed the all Colorado ranked peaks > 10000' that listsofjohn considers 5th class, so I thought I'd add my two cents to the discussion. In an attempt at objectivity, I devised (at the speed of typing) a scoring system to rank peak difficulty by several criteria, something akin to Roach's RP system though hopefully more transparent.

The individual scores are somewhat subjective; if I re-scored everything tomorrow many values would likely change. Also all scores reflect and are biased by my cragging background in which I was used to making relatively hard moves on solid rock with short approaches; thus relative to most peak-baggers I probably underrate technical difficulty while being unduly impressed by bad rock and arduous approaches.

Grading criteria:
Hardest Move (HM). Max possible points: 5. Intended to recognize "stopper" moves. The scale is based on moves found on peaks on this list i.e. solid 5.8 earns a 5.
Continuousness (C). Max possible points: 10. Recognizes the amount of 5th class climbing on a peak. Again the scale is based on peaks on this list i.e. Turret Ridge, with three pitches of solid 5th class earns max points.
Seriousness (S). Max possible points 10. Recognizes the overall risk of a peak and is comprised of three components: remoteness(4) (difficulty/likelihood of rescue), rockfall hazard(3) and difficulty of obtaining reliable protection (3)
Approach (A). Max possible points 10. Recognizes that getting there is half the fun. Among other things, a long approach makes it more difficult to cherry pick a good weather window.

Code: Select all
                  HM  C   Seriousness  A  Total
Jagged            2   3   7 (4/1/2)    10  22
Teakettle         1   1   3 (1/1/1)    3    8
Dallas*           4   2   4 (2/1/1)    5   15
Peak Fifteen      3   5   9 (4/2/3)    9   26
Coxcomb           1   2   3 (2/1/0)    3    9
Whitney           2   0   2 (1/0/1)    2    6
Lizard Head       5   10  4 (1/2/1)    2   21
12740             0   1   3 (2/0/1)    3    7
Sharkstooth **    4   8   2 (1/1/0)    2   16
12500             0   0   1 (1/0/0)    3    4
Silver Plume      3   0   0 (0/0/0)    3    6
Twin Peaks        4   6   8 (3/2/3)    4   22
McReynolds        5   2   0 (0/0/0)    3   10
Turret Ridge***   5   10  9 (2/3/3)    2   26
Chimney Rock      3   8   5 (1/2/2)    2   19
Squaretop****     5   5   4 (2/1/1)    3   17
Tuckaway          1   0   1 (1/0/0)    4    6
Rabbit Ears       3   4   6 (1/2/3)    0   13
10100             1   1   2 (1/0/1)    1    5
Castle Mtn        1   1   3 (1/1/1)    1    6



* I was off route on Dallas. Seriousness ratings attempt to approximate halving the difference between what I did I what I've subsequently learned about the "standard" route.
** I did not do the easiest route on Sharkstooth. Ratings are for ascending the NE Ridge.
*** Turret Ridge has a lot of decent pro and few run outs. However, all the pro on the P3 traverse is suspect putting a lot of pressure on the leader and the 2nd not to fall.
**** Squaretop ratings reflect doing the higher quality and harder variant on P1.

Discussion of results:
Part of my motivation to compile these rankings was my recent ascent of Peak Fifteen and subsequent feeling that its historical rating in the 5.2 range substantially belied its overall difficulty and seriousness. In some respects it felt to me like a bigger undertaking than Turret Ridge, the near consensus choice as hardest ranked summit above timberline in Colorado. So I was pleased to see that P15 came out at the top of my rankings, tied with Turret.
The rankings essentially fall into three tiers: more than 20 points, 10-20 points and less than 10.
The top tier contains the usual suspects, Turret Ridge, Lizard Head along with P15 and Jagged. The first two scored high for sustained technical difficulty but low otherwise while the latter two earned their points for remoteness and difficulty of approach.
The middle tier is a grab bag ranging from a quality multi-pitch moderate 5th class on good rock, Sharkstooth, to a short but trying aid climb on terrible rock, Rabbit Ears. Scores in this tier are somewhat skewed by the fact that on some of the peaks I did not ascend the standard route.
The bottom tier consists mostly of climbs that would not be considered 5th class in the rock climbing world. Many of these peaks are class two with a short boulder problem at the top.

Again, I did not put a lot of time or contemplation into any individual score. If I rated everything again tomorrow many totals would likely shift a point or two one direction or the other. So anyone tempted to put any stock in these rankings should be too fussed about small differences in individual or total scores.

There are some fourth class peaks which might earn higher scores than some of the peaks on this list.

There are several ranked peaks in Colorado lower than 10000', some of which have never been climbed, which would earn high scores in this system. To be continued?

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Re: What are the top 10 toughest 13ers/12ers?

Postby snowypeaks » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:40 pm

dhgold wrote:Seriousness (S). Max possible points 10. Recognizes the overall risk of a peak and is comprised of three components: remoteness(4) (difficulty/likelihood of rescue), rockfall hazard(3) and difficulty of obtaining reliable protection (3)

Involuntary profanity might be a good measure! :)

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