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TR - North Twin Cone Peak (12,323')

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TR - North Twin Cone Peak (12,323')

Postby TalusMonkey » Sun Nov 26, 2006 1:28 pm

Peak: North Twin Cone Peak (12,323')
Date: Saturday, November 25, 2006
Team: TalusMonkey & Julie
Route: Standard route - Kenosha Pass/Pike National Forest
Summit Coords: N39deg 25m42.4s, W105deg 42m08.3s
Trip length: 10.5 miles

North Twin Cone Peak is one of a group of three distinctive 12ers located immediately east of Kenosha Pass on US 285 south. Neighborning peaks are Mount Blaine (12,303') and South Twin Cone Peak (12,340').

Drive south on US 285 from the Front Range and turn left onto a dirt road at Kenosha Pass. After .2 miles take a right on FSR 126. Drive .6 miles to a gate and park in one of TWO spaces without blocking the road. This is the starting point. Elevation is 10,050'. Coordinates are: N39deg 24m34.3s, W105deg 44m30.1s.

Julie and I got on trail on a nice, brisk fall morning in sunshine. We followed the icy and snow packed road 1.25 miles to another gate. After closing the gate behind us, we proceded up the old jeep road along many switchbacks. At about 10,900 we stopped to put on gaiters, as the snow depth increased. This jeep road actually leads all the way to the summit of N. Twin Cone Peak, but it is more efficient to shortcut/bushwhack through timber to cut out a long loop of the road.

At a right turn in the road, at approximately 11,330' elevation (Coordinates: N39deg 24m53.4s, W105deg 42m47.1s), we set North Twin Cone Peak as a navigation destination on the GPS and left the road heading NNE through timber. After 3/4 mile of hikiing through deep snow in timber, we emerged from timberline near 11,800.

A view of North Twin Cone from a broad knoll along the NNE line to the summit:

Image

We crossed the willow field (the willows hold a lot of snow, so we picked our way through the most open areas - toward the east) and quickly ascended to the summit. Although it had been mild and calm in the timber, it was blustery on the summit. Temperature was 24 degrees.

A view of Mount Blaine, 2 miles east of N. Twin Cone:

Image

A view of South Twin Cone Peak, 2 miles SE of N. Twin Cone:

Image

TalusMonkey and Julie on the summit with Bierstadt and Evans behind us:

Image

Continuing over to Mt. Blaine and South Twin Cone would have exposed us to continuous high winds along the 3.5 mile ridge walk. In addition, we would have had to bushwhack through willows to regain the jeep road southwest of South Twin Cone. So we decided against proceeding to Blain or S. Twin Cone. After a brief snack on the summit, we quickly descended back to timberline and plunged back down to the road through the snow in our own footprints.

Julie coming down into timber in the snow:

Image

The snow above 11,000' on this route was of sufficient coverage and depth for snowshoes, particularly in the timber. This is a great conditioning hike not too far from Lakewood (57 miles to Kenosha Pass) and it avoids the crazy ski traffic on I-70. I'll return sometime to get Blaine and South Twin Cone.
Last edited by TalusMonkey on Mon Nov 27, 2006 1:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"When hiking in bear country one doesn't need to be the fastest runner in the party - just not the slowest."

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Postby speedpolka » Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:45 am

Thanks for the report TM. It brought back good memories from the summer and early fall. That is one of my favorite areas in the entire state, especially the Twin Cones. I love to go there because no one is ever there. I saw a total of 3 people in 10 trips to the Lost Creek Wilderness between March and October.
Subduction leads to Orogeny.

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Postby TalusMonkey » Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:58 am

Thanks speedpolka! Yeah, I agree - this is an under-visited area, certainly in the off season. Julie and I did not see anyone at all the whole climb. No vehicles at the gate where we parked either.

Several of us have discussed doing some winter camping in the Lost Creek Wilderness this fall and winter. With good access from Hwy 285, the Lost Creek Wilderness area is a good option for avoiding I-70 traffic.
"When hiking in bear country one doesn't need to be the fastest runner in the party - just not the slowest."

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Postby SarahT » Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:09 am

Thanks for the TR TalusMonkey. I've been wondering what you're up to these days. Looks like you guys had MUCH better weather on Saturday than I did in the Sawatch. Had to break out my balaclava for the first time this season. Man I hate that thing! I've been thinking about giving Lakawanna a try soon if you're interested.

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Postby TalusMonkey » Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:06 am

Hey SarahT!

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the TR. Yes, the weather was quite pleasant below timberline near Kenosha on Saturday. But it must have been blowing 30+ mph on the summit of N. Twin Cone. Where were you in the Sawatch this weekend? Ahh...nothing like a frozen, snot-filled balaclava to signal the beginning of the winter climbing season... :)

Hummm...Lakawanna - at last a centennial! I might be interested in that. Are you thinking about the South Slopes route direct from Hwy 82 or the NW ridge route? You know its gonna snow to beat the band this week? That south slope route has avalanche danger, I believe. Let me know when you might want to do this.

Or, for that matter, keep me posted on your other hikes. We haven't hiked together since Culebra in June! I've been doing mostly drier hikes lately - you'll probably spank me in snowshoes and deep snow. But I have procured a pair of 75cm skiboards on which I am eager to play. However, lets not let any rumors get started that the TalusMonkey skiis...
"When hiking in bear country one doesn't need to be the fastest runner in the party - just not the slowest."

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Postby SarahT » Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:15 pm

TM - I spent Saturday and Sunday climbing a bunch of 13ers near Huron. Both days were not so nice weatherwise. On Saurday evening it cleared up for a while though and we got some awesome shots of the sun setting on the 3 Apostles.

As for Lakawanna, I was planning on the south slopes from 82 but will give it a try when avalanche conditions allow. Buckskin, another centennial, is also in the near future I think. I'll keep you posted as to what my plans are.

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Postby speedpolka » Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:38 pm

The Lost Creek area is my favorite place to camp. I used to go to the Williams Fork River, but got tired of relaxing for a few days of camping only to have to battle the I-70 traffic. Besides from the Lost Creek Wilderness, I can be to the Mosquito Range in 20 minutes, Guanella Pass in 30 minutes and the Collegate Peaks in 45 minutes. Or I have the option of any of the interesting peaks in LCW. (The Alphebetizer, N & S Twin Cone and Mt. Blaine, Bison, McCurdy) BTW, My favorite trailhead for the Twin Cone Group and the Alphebetizer is the South Ben Tyler. It adds 300 feet of elevation gain and several extra miles. It is great to get back into shape.
Subduction leads to Orogeny.

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Postby rijaca » Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:24 pm

Shhhhhhh! The LCW doesn't have any peaks higher than 12.5K, and the people. I ran into 5 people on "Peak Z" this fall.

Image

Postby shanahan96 » Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:11 pm

lackawanna is one of the peaks you can climb under any conditions....assuming you're into that. if you're on course the main winter route(south slopes) is to the right of the avalanche chute.

this may be helpful:
http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... _id=104107

jamie

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Postby elkheart22 » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:05 am

Kenosha Pass...

The poet Walt Whitman wrote these words in 1879...

I jot these lines literally at Kenosha summit, where we return, afternoon, and take a long rest, 10,000 feet above sea-level. At this immense height the South Park stretches fifty miles before me.
Mountainous chains and peaks in every variety of perspective, every hue
of vista, fringe the view....so the whole western world is, in a sense, but an expansion of these mountains.
Lakes below the mountains
Flow into the sea
Like oils applied to canvas,
They permeate through me. --- Jimmy Buffett

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Postby TalusMonkey » Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:07 pm

Sarah,

Sounds like you knocked off a few more 13ers despite the weather. That area near Huron is nice. I have fond memories of our climb of the Apostles last year with Estelle. That was a fun three day camping trip with Castle, Conundrum, the Apostles and Huron!

Definitely let me know about Lakawanna and Buckskin. I'd be up for either of those with a favorable weather forecast. But I gotta save some close-in peaks for conditioning and training next June! ;)

Speedpolka,

Thanks for the info on LCW. I've seen that S. Ben Tyler TH from 285 before. I'd like to do the 30 mile loop in LCW from that TH in the late spring sometime.

elkheart22,

Thanks for the Whitman quote about Kenosha. Interesting that the area inspired him so. I think there has got to be a lot of snowshoeing out that way.

Any of you have any suggestions for snowshoe day trips out 285 between Conifer and Kenosha Pass?
"When hiking in bear country one doesn't need to be the fastest runner in the party - just not the slowest."

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