Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
Cinnamon Mtn A  -  13,328 feet
Seigal Mtn  -  13,274 feet
Tuttle Mtn  -  13,203 feet
"Sundog"  -  13,432 feet
Date Posted:  07/18/2011
Modified:  01/08/2012
Date Climbed:   07/12/2011
Author:  mennoguy
 Part 1: Lake City Peak bagging  

Lake City Peak bagging extravaganza
5 Days
24 Peaks
Participants: Ben G, Tyler (tdawg), and myself

Day 1: Alpine Loop: beating the storms
Unnamed 13535
Cinnamon Mountain 13328
Seigal Mountain 13274
Darley Mountain 13260
Engineer Mountain 13215
Tuttle Mountain 13203
Houghton Mountain 13052

We camped out at the Grizzly Gulch trailhead and drove up to Cinnamon Pass, our plan for Tuesday was to climb as many easy peaks along the Alpine loop as possible before we got rained out. The climb of Cinnamon and 13535 went by very quickly. We found a climbers trail to the top of Cinnamon and it was an easy class 2 walk to 13535. We were finished in 1:50. Time to climb some more peaks.


Houghton and Tuttle were next on our list, we drove to the intersection of the Hurricane pass road and the Placer Gulch road. The hike up Houghton went pretty quick, it was steep grass all the way to the ridge with one small snowfield. The ridge was a mix of talus and grass. We topped out in 40 minutes. The traverse to Tuttle went really fast, there was one major snowfield to cross and a minor cornice on the summit ridge to Tuttle. We descended steep grassy slopes back to the road and to the car.


Seigal was our next peak, we parked at the switchback near 12800 feet on the Engineer pass road. It was a quick climb over grassy terrain. The weather held pretty well so far. It was beginning to feel like one of the winter days where I drive around climbing low peaks.


Weather looked like it might roll in when we reached Engineer pass. There was no lightning so we rolled on to the top of Darley. It is a short steep climb to a long summit ridge over loose talus. There are two highpoints which look like the summit, we visited both before being socked in by the clouds. On the descent we couldn’t see a thing, So we blindly followed the ridge back to the pass. 20 minutes later the sky was clear so we climbed our final peak of the day, Engineer Mountain.


Day 2: A long traverse
Redcloud Peak 14034
Sunshine Peak 14001
Unnamed 13832
Unnamed 13811
“Sundog” 13432

Tdawg and I had climbed Redcould and Sunshine three years ago, but had failed to climb these 13ers. Ben G. had not climbed any of the peaks so we had our second day planned out. We climbed up the famileer Silver creek trail to 11200 where we crossed the avalanche bridge and ascended the steep ridge towards “Sundog”. It was endless scree and talus all the way to the top.


The traverse to Sunshine is straightforward with one short 2+ section on the descent from “Sundog”. The traverse to Redcloud was simple enough on a good trail. 13832 was our next peak, all the stood in our way were a couple of towers on the ridge which were easily skirted. 13811 looked a long ways away, but it went quickly and the weather held perfectly. After a long break we headed back to our campsite.


Day 3: Oh how I love San Juan scree
Handies Peak 14048
Unnamed 13795
Whitecross Mountain 13542

Our plan for the day was simple, climb three 13ers and one 14er. As you can see we left out a 13er. “Campell Creek Peak” was on our list, However rotten towers prevented us from climbing this remote summit.

We climbed up the grizzly gulch trail to treeline where we left the trail and headed up the to the northeast ridge of 13795, It was a mix of talus steep scree and class 3 climbing on solid rock. Needless to say it was tiring. Once we reached the ridge we saw our first problem, it would be more difficult to skirt 13795 than I had thought, and there were rotten towers on the ridge to “Campell Creek”. We proceeded to skirt 13795 on loose volcanic rock. We ran into one steep snow gully which we crossed on firm snow before running into a snow field of solid ice. So we ascended the shitty rock to the cornice which we climbed with makeshift iceaxes made of rock. Once on top we descended to the rotten towers. We were already well behind schedule for the day. We searched for an easy way around the towers, none was found. We concluded that to skirt the towers we had to descend about 200 feet. So we turned around and headed up the talus to 13795.


Gerry Roach describes the traverse to Handies as a classic climb on class 2 rock. I would argue that most of it is classic and the it takes very careful routefindig to keep one section at class 2. Most of the traverse was easy class 2 on good footing. There is one short steep section which I found a class 3 way up, because it was quicker and more fun than trying to find a class 2 way. The final ascent to Handies is anything but a classic climb. It is up scree and talus which is of the sort where one step up means two steps back. At the top we were greated by many people.

The traverse to Whitecross is fun. The rock is mostly solid and if you stay on the ridgecrest the whole way you run into fun class 3 scrambling. We descended the south slopes of Whitecross to the trail and headed down to our camp.

Part 2 coming up shortly.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Good stuff
07/18/2011 15:45
It's nice to have some pics of these random 13er ascents to augment the usual ”it looks like it goes on the map, so let's see if it works” approach.
Thanks for posting.


Great photos ...
07/18/2011 16:24
Way to amp the summit counts. Nice pix of Coxcomb and Wetterhorn. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Love it!
07/18/2011 17:47
Seeing your photos makes me want to leave today for the San Juans. Thanks for posting this!!


Met you at the TH
07/18/2011 21:55
It was good to meet you last week - I was the guy who talked to you for a while the evening after your Redcloud day. I ended up doing that same loop the next day just in the reverse direction. Pretty awesome hike with nearly 9 continuous miles above 13,000'.

Keep pounding out those 13ers....


Very nice...
07/19/2011 10:36
love the pictures along with the report. I am contemplating a 3 or 4 day excursion in the Lake City area to try to bag the peaks I have left there...which pretty much means all but Handies. Hopefully I can catch some wildflowers. Me and the kids bagged Handies too late in the season to see much color. Still very scenic though.

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