Peak Fifteen

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bdwyer
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Peak Fifteen

Post by bdwyer » Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:43 pm

I'm 40 peaks away from finishing the 13ers, have done 100 of then at least twice, and have done all 14ers...some numerous times. Also, I have been in the Weminuche packing up all those trails from the train, packed from Beartown, etc., so am familiar with areas. I also have a Tacoma. I cannot lead on a rope; can climb and clean pro and keep up, rappel, etc. BUT, I am 68. Not intent on finishing 13ers, but getting the high 200 would be nice, and Peak Fifteen is a show stopper unless I can find a group to join. If anyone sees this and would give me a chance, thanks.
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bergsteigen
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by bergsteigen » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:16 pm

Maybe we can put a team together. I can lead, but am not as confident as I think I should be. Plus really out of practice. Hoping to do a lot of climbing this summer now that I have a friend nearby to climb with. Also looking to take a class on rescue techniques etc, so that will be dependent on how things go with the C this summer.
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TomPierce
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by TomPierce » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:56 pm

I'd be interested. I've already done Peak Fifteen a few years back, but would like to do Peak Sixteen. It's right across the way and would be a short detour, I'm fine doing it solo. I've also done the Ruby approach or descent 3 times. Just putting that out there.

-Tom
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Chicago Transplant
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by Chicago Transplant » Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:17 pm

Peak Fifteen was fun, getting to it not so much! The gully from Ruby to the Eolus/Little Finger saddle was awful last year, either snow or soft dirt would make it much better. Last summer was so dry we had hard dirt and it very unpleasant. Aside from that, I would do Fifteen again. The gully to the Fifteen/Sixteen saddle is really fun, and has anchors for the few steeper drops if one wanted a belay, and of course can be used to rappel. They could be awkward to downclimb.

I recommend taking the route we did, more or less directly from the saddle and not traversing out to the normal slabs. We started on a nice crack, traversed a ledge to above the rap station and up a second crack that ended near the next rap station. The lower crack was maybe 40 feet of 5.4, the upper one mostly 4th with maybe 10 feet of 5.2? That put us on nice ledges to traverse to the class 3+ chimney (rappeled it on the way down) and the upper ledges beyond that. The climbing was solid and in two shorter pitches than the normal ascent.

This seems to be roughly the route described in Garrett and Martin and I put an illustrated topo on Summitpost if interested. Its more detail than I know a lot of people like (myself included honestly, but I thought it could be useful for people looking for an alternate). The route was fairly intuitive, it seems to be the easiest way without a long traverse. When you get to the saddle the crack we used should be visible and looks more climbable than any alternates in the immediate area.
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by Conor » Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:53 am

I'd be interested. I can "lead" it and have all the gear. I'd prefer a group of 2. No more than 3. If the group gets large enough I can figure out another time to go grab it.
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DArcyS
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by DArcyS » Tue Mar 09, 2021 7:46 am

Chicago Transplant wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:17 pm
I recommend taking the route we did, more or less directly from the saddle and not traversing out to the normal slabs.
Do you recommend this because it's easier or because it's more challenging/fun? Kind of important for people to know, as easier typically means safer.
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yaktoleft13
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by yaktoleft13 » Tue Mar 09, 2021 7:59 am

DArcyS wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 7:46 am
Chicago Transplant wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:17 pm
I recommend taking the route we did, more or less directly from the saddle and not traversing out to the normal slabs.
Do you recommend this because it's easier or because it's more challenging/fun? Kind of important for people to know, as easier typically means safer.
I did the standard slab route that same day and talked with ChicagoTransplant about what we found on our respective routes. It sounds like his had more 5th class climbing, but bomber rock the whole time that protected easily. For the standard slabs, there was about 70 feet of no pro 3rd class, then a spot for gear and a 5.4ish mantle move, then more 3-4th class, with maybe a couple easier 5th class moves sprinkled in. However, if you were a couple feet right or a couple feet left of the direct line (or heck, maybe even on the correct line, hard to say), the knobby, crystalline rock would look solid, but crumble at the slightest touch. It wasn't like this on the crux move, but it was present, typically near the upper part of the pitch.

I guess it boils down to....do you prefer the easier route with possibility of loose rock? Or the harder route with good rock? If I did it again, I'd probably try ChicagoTransplant's route, just to try and because the climbing looked more fun, but really hard to say which one is better until you do them both.
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by TomPierce » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:32 am

I think there are probably a half dozen routes that would go on Peak Fifteen, I recall scanning that face and seeing lots of lines of varying difficulty. I found it really fun because of the location (very scenic!) and ease of climbing, but we just picked the intuitive path of least resistance. Low 5th in only a spot or two, fwiw I climbed in boots. For sure worth doing, but it's nothing to stress about, lots of ascent options.

There also are a few ways to get there. Going straight up the Ruby Creek trail is one, but it's pretty stiff with a full pack and tech gear; the trail is also a bit harder to find in a spot or two going uphill. Much easier on the descent when you can see it from above; I've been down it 3 times. Fwiw, my favorite approach is up Chicago Basin to Twin Thumbs pass, then traverse over to Ruby Basin. Longer on the map but the trails are just faster and you can easily camp at what I think is the best campsite in Colorado (at least of which I'm aware...), perched right above Ruby Basin where a spring comes out of the wall. Pretty magical place, and in the morning you can drop right down to the start of the Peak 16 gully route which takes you up & over to the base of your climb.

I haven't done the NY Basin approach. Shortest on the map but I've heard it's a bit more of a bushwhack and sportier. I'd be up for checking that out some day, just something new.

bdwyer: Do it! With decent weather it's a great climb in a spectacular setting. Good luck!

-Tom
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by Flyingfish » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:53 am

I would be interested and have the gear/ ability to lead. When it gets closer to that time keep me in mind.
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Chicago Transplant
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by Chicago Transplant » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:56 am

Based on the conversations I have had with others who have climbed the slab, both that day and people who'd been up it before, it sounds like that route is harder to protect, easier climbing, looser rock. Given those things, I feel the slightly harder, more solid, easier to protect route is the safer option. I also think having confidence in the rock makes it more fun, you can enjoy the climbing more on bomber rock if you are not stressing about ripping the mountain apart 8)

As far as approach, Ruby was brutal last year. Could be a combo of a few things for us, one being it was hot and dry and we had heavy gear, also we had come all the way from Purgatory. Another is deadfall and losing the trail. I have never done Twin Thumbs, but I have had the (dis)pleasure of descending NY Basin. We first attempted to approach Fifteen a few years ago from Chicago Basin by way of the slopes around West Eolus. It took too long to get to the bottom of Fifteen and we bailed not wanting to tempt the weather. One in our group went up and over North Eolus and beat us back to camp by over 2 hours. NY Basin started nicely, but as we got into the trees we got into some nasty bushwhacking and later downclimbed a crumbly class 4/low 5 wall on rope belay off a tree. Papillon has some photos in his TR of Grizzly/McCauley. We spilled out on the trail at the bridge with our harnesses still on.
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illusion7il
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by illusion7il » Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:32 pm

TomPierce wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:32 am

I haven't done the NY Basin approach. Shortest on the map but I've heard it's a bit more of a bushwhack and sportier. I'd be up for checking that out some day, just something new.

-Tom
I did the New York Creek approach and did something like this...Disclaimer: I'm drawing this from memory from about 3 years ago. I pretty much went straight up from the bridge to around 10,600 feet and traversed. It's rough, but it goes. Lots of ups and downs around cliff bands. Plan on pulling on trees and making a few easy 3rd class moves. Based on my notes it took me about 4.5 hours to make it from the New York creek bridge to the base of the 15/16 couloir, Keep in mind I was carrying a 20 pound day pack, so this could be a little more difficult with a full overnight pack, and I would strongly advise not doing this approach in the dark.

Hope that helps...
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TomPierce
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Re: Peak Fifteen

Post by TomPierce » Tue Mar 09, 2021 6:34 pm

Thanks for the route! Yeah, I hear it's a bushwhack for sure, but when I've been on the back side of 15/Little Finger I recall looking down on New York Basin and thinking it'd be a pretty place to camp, relatively flat, etc. Thanks again,

-Tom
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