10 day Weminuche trip planning

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CoHi591
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10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by CoHi591 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:49 am

Hey everyone,

I’m planning out a long trip to the Weminuche this summer and wanted to see if anyone would be willing to share some insight. I’ve got a dozen TRs open but it’s always nice to get some firsthand beta/advice.

I’ll start by saying I have 10 days, so there’s a good amount of flexibility here, I’m happy to stay out there for the full 10. My absolute priority is great scenery and beautiful campsites...summits are just a bonus. Scenic places to sleep are my favorite thing. Also, I’m alone, fairly confident in my competence and risk management/willingness to say nope, but I don’t want to get on anything too sketchy. Class 3 max.


I have a long list of 13ers I’d like to climb, but figuring out how to link them all up is proving to be interesting.

What I want (not necessarily in this order) is: 

-A few days in the Vestal Basin area to climb the Trinities and Arrow

-Storm King, Silex, Guardian, Peak 7

-Jupiter

-Ruby Basin. I don’t plan on climbing the peaks around there, but I want to spend a night or two in the basin because it just looks like a gorgeous place to be

So I’m having a hard time figuring out how to link all these points together, and in what order. I think I may have mapped out a few prospective routes but I don't know the area (other than Chicago) so I welcome insight.


Questions:

1) I was planning on Vestal Basin first, and then from there taking myself to a different basecamp to climb Storm King, Silex, Guardian, and at least Peak 7. So first, is Balsam Lake a good spot to set up, or would Leviathan Lake be good, or Trinity Lake, or somewhere else entirely? I'd been leaning towards Balsam lake. I have a little more research to do here. And then, what’s the best way to get from Vestal to there? I'd been weighing the pass between Arrow and Vestal vs the pass between Peak 2 and E Trinity (I think. Typing this on my phone so I'll have to double check when I get back to the map) - one way better than the other for any reason?

2) It looks straightforward enough to go from that area past Jagged and then up to Twin Thumbs Pass, to drop down into Chicago Basin and summit Jupiter. But really, how bad is Twin Thumbs Pass? Anything on the 14ers you can compare it to? How does it compare to say the East side of Kneeknocker Pass or the W slopes of Wilson? Dangerous or just tedious?

3) How plausible is it to have a base camp on the noname side of TT pass, go up and over the pass into Chicago Basin to summit Jupiter and come back as a day trip? I'd be cautious on the pass and peak but I can cover the trail miles quickly. I realize that's 100% weather dependent.

4) After Jupiter, I'd like to go back over TT and then drop into Ruby Basin from there. How rough is that terrain, and is the routefinding in that area reasonably straightforward?

Thank you so much for any advice.
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d_baker
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Re: 10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by d_baker » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:55 am

When is your trip?
I didn't see a date in your post, so that would be useful to know, in re: creek crossings w/rec's.
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Re: 10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by supranihilest » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:01 am

d_baker wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:55 am
When is your trip?
I didn't see a date in your post, so that would be useful to know, in re: creek crossings w/rec's.
Ditto for some of the pass crossings, which may require traction and/or an axe well into July.
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CoHi591
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Re: 10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by CoHi591 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:06 am

Sorry, you're right. The plan is mid July, although there is a bit of flexibility there as well. I assumed I'd probably haul an ice ax and spikes at least just in case, unless someone explicitly confirms otherwise. I know how to do it, but I hate being on snow tbh.
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Re: 10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by dwoodward13 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:15 pm

You say class 3 max, but then plan on doing Arrow and the Trinities? Those are Class 4 I believe.

I can answer 2, 3 and 4.
2) It looks straightforward enough to go from that area past Jagged and then up to Twin Thumbs Pass, to drop down into Chicago Basin and summit Jupiter. But really, how bad is Twin Thumbs Pass? Anything on the 14ers you can compare it to? How does it compare to say the East side of Kneeknocker Pass or the W slopes of Wilson? Dangerous or just tedious?
TT Pass is not bad. Hard to compare to any of the 14er stuff because usually you aren't carrying a backpacking pack over a pass like that. CB side is grass, NN side is kitty litter scree. I didn't think it was dangerous or tedious (I was however descending the kitty litter). I'd say 100 feet of Class 2+/easy 3 at the top, the rest just class San Juan kitty litter. Its not a long section doing CB->Ruby. Could be longer if you are camping at the lake however (see below). There are two low spots of the pass. Take the eastern most one.
3) How plausible is it to have a base camp on the noname side of TT pass, go up and over the pass into Chicago Basin to summit Jupiter and come back as a day trip? I'd be cautious on the pass and peak but I can cover the trail miles quickly. I realize that's 100% weather dependent.
There is a lake in below the pass on that side, but you would be totally exposed to any weather. It did look like a sweet camp however. Justiner camped there on his highest 100 project and did everything from that basecamp in the area. I remember him having to navigate some cliffs above the lake on the way up to TT Pass? I would worry about getting over to Jupiter, then a storm rolling in, and now you are stuck on the wrong side of your camp for however long its going to storm. Which in the Wemi, could be, like days. Likely you aren't going to have a recent forecast to time that being out that long, so waiting for a bluebird day may not be an option since you won't know one is coming.
4) After Jupiter, I'd like to go back over TT and then drop into Ruby Basin from there. How rough is that terrain, and is the routefinding in that area reasonably straightforward?
If you are decent at route finding, its not terrible, but is rough. Above treeline there is a path to follow and its straightforward. Once you reach the willows it gets more interesting. Below treeline to the lake is steep and you'll be going over dead trees and such, and the trail becomes easier to lose if you don't pay attention. Hardest routefinding spot is below the bigger lake. The trail crosses to the south side, but where at, I can't tell you! :lol: The way down to Needleton is STEEP.

I'm sure you've already found HikerGuy's TR on this. Its an excellent resource.
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Re: 10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by d_baker » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:53 pm

CoHi591 wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:49 am
What I want (not necessarily in this order) is: 

-A few days in the Vestal Basin area to climb the Trinities and Arrow

-Storm King, Silex, Guardian, Peak 7

Most of these peaks go beyond class 3.

-Jupiter
Why do you want Jupiter? Plenty of other good peaks in the areas you'll already be in, imo, to bother to go through the trouble of getting into Chi-Basin.

-Ruby Basin. I don’t plan on climbing the peaks around there, but I want to spend a night or two in the basin because it just looks like a gorgeous place to be

So I’m having a hard time figuring out how to link all these points together, and in what order. I think I may have mapped out a few prospective routes but I don't know the area (other than Chicago) so I welcome insight.


Questions:

1) I was planning on Vestal Basin first, and then from there taking myself to a different basecamp to climb Storm King, Silex, Guardian, and at least Peak 7. So first, is Balsam Lake a good spot to set up, or would Leviathan Lake be good, or Trinity Lake, or somewhere else entirely? I'd been leaning towards Balsam lake. I have a little more research to do here. And then, what’s the best way to get from Vestal to there? I'd been weighing the pass between Arrow and Vestal vs the pass between Peak 2 and E Trinity (I think. Typing this on my phone so I'll have to double check when I get back to the map) - one way better than the other for any reason?

Balsam over all the other choices.
Note, I have not been to Balsam, but from there to climb the peaks you mention makes the most sense, in particular if you're coming from Vestal Basin, likely via the saddle between Vestal and W Trinity. I think lordhelmut might have a report of going down to Balsam? ChicagoTransplant has mentioned this route before too, I believe.
Edit: I think I've read that camping around Balsam is not as ideal as it looks or as much as one would hope. I don't recall the source, but was within the past year. You could probably go higher, above Balsam, and camp at the UN lakes at the 12,200 contour, S of the connecting ridge between E Trinity and SK.


2) It looks straightforward enough to go from that area past Jagged and then up to Twin Thumbs Pass, to drop down into Chicago Basin and summit Jupiter. But really, how bad is Twin Thumbs Pass? Anything on the 14ers you can compare it to? How does it compare to say the East side of Kneeknocker Pass or the W slopes of Wilson? Dangerous or just tedious?

I think if I were to do something similar, I would go into Sunlight Basin before going up toward Noname. Sunlight looks far more interesting to me to explore than upper Noname, if you're more interested in exploring over peaks.

Thank you so much for any advice.
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Re: 10 day Weminuche trip planning

Post by CoHi591 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:20 pm

Thank you for the advice everyone. And I apologize - I do know most of the peaks I'm aiming for are Class 4 - I misspoke when I said Class 3 (pre coffee brain). I have read every TR on the Trinities on this site over the past few months, I'm prepared for Class 4 up there. It's all fine for the planning, but I will be keeping the good ole escape plan in mind should I balk at anything too exposed.

I really appreciate the advice on the TT pass area, dwoodward. Sounds like about what I had gathered, glad to confirm. And yes, many of those TRs you mentioned are currently open in another tab. Along with SnowAlien's. I'm just not as skilled a climber, or more the issue, not a confident climber when alone...but I'm also mentally very prepared to just turn around when I want to. It's just about being there and seeing what I can see. I'll save summit fever for when I've got buddies.

That adventure down Ruby Basin sounds like an experience though.

D_baker - really appreciate the info on Balsam. I had wanted to climb Jupiter because it looked beautiful, relatively low stress, and I am passively hoping to climb the centennials eventually, but seeing as finishing that list is absolutely not in the immediate future due to my lack of rope skills (and partners) it would certainly not break my trip to leave Jupiter out and spend some more time elsewhere.

I had planned to have my buddy send out weather info to my inreach every day, but it is probably still not worth the risk of getting caught out like that in July. Maybe I'll defer Jupiter entirely

Thanks for the suggestion on checking into Sunlight Basing a little more. Like I said, I've got every available resource in front of me and y'all have certainly helped me decide what to hone in on. I do suspect that I will end up mostly wandering about exploring rather than focusing on peak bagging... but I really want to see it all from at least a few summits.

I have a newfound computer job which means a LOT of time deep diving this site and meticulously planning my entire summer 😁 thanks again for the kind responses y'all.
The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.
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