Peak(s):  Jagged Mtn  -  13,824 feet
Date Posted:  09/26/2011
Date Climbed:   09/24/2011
Author:  warg
 #99 - Jagged Mtn  

#99 - Jagged Mtn

From Vallecito trailhead
Started around 10am on 9/23/11
Finished around 2pm on 9/25/11

This first picture was taken in July from the summit of Sunlight Peak. I was looking forward to Jagged - but it just wasn't going to happen on that trip. Two months later and I was ready to go for it.

With three previous trips into the San Juans and the last one via train, I knew that the train was not for me. So, that left two options open - the Beartown trailhead (23.4 mi and 7,870' gain) or the Vallecito trailhead (31 mi and 5,967' gain). I went for Vallecito - mostly because I had driven up near Beartown before and knew what the drive was like to get back in there. Ha!

It was perfect September weather for spending time in the mountains! On Friday I hiked in around 13 or 14 miles and camped. Probably got to the camp site high up Sunlight Creek around 6pm. I passed three moose down on Vallecito Creek. Pretty cool - huge animals! The bridge is still out around mile 7 on Vallecito Creek. It was less than knee high and not too bad of a crossing. I had to ford it again to get to Sunlight creek. Vallecito Creek Trail itself is in great shape. Lot's of horse use, and a very well maintained trail.

Once at Sunlight Creek there was a log to get across it. I had planned on having 4 days for the trip - mostly because I had no idea what to expect going up Sunlight Creek. I was prepared to bushwhack the entire time, and was greatly surprised and pleased to find a good, well marked trail all the way up! Turned out some hunters had been in the area, and had done a great job of preparing the trail for me.

On Saturday I set out around 8am. Another great day. Being higher up I could now see that there was snow on the north face of the peaks to the south. That did not bode well for the north face of Jagged. Sure enough - there was plenty of snow waiting for me. Without the snow, I would recommend staying high as you go around the East end of Jagged. As high as possible, staying just under the "spire" on the East end. With snow it would probably be best to go to the "bow shaped lake" the Roach talks about, then swing around the snow to the "official" start of the climb. At any rate, I plowed / slipped through the snow and made it to the base.

The North face of Jagged was not in good shape. The snow was not sticky at all, making the rock underneath slippery. Where the sun had gotten to it, there were ice fields left behind. It made for a slow, cautious ascent. But it was a beautiful day, and I was in the mountains, so it was all good. Also, "piper14er" did a great job of describing the route, and his advice about not following the cairn's to the "v-notch" was well advised. I made the summit around noon, and was greeted with a marvelous view.

The peaks to the south with plenty of snow on them.

The Sunlight, Windom, Eolus group.

Vestal and Arrow.

And me! (What do you know?! Same green tshirt. Must be my lucky tshirt!)

Now it was decision time. Downclimb that mess of slippery snow and ice, or attempt the unknown on the south face. After much pondering and looking down the south face as much as possible - I went for it. I went East from the summit to the first notch, then south and down. That notch eventually joined what I believe is the south side of the main "snow filled couloir" that you stay to the right of as you summit from the North. I'm not great at rating climbs, but I would say this had plenty of 5.6 to 5.7 moves. Toss in exposure and it was a great challenge. In fact, about as much as I would ever want without ropes. At any rate, camp was a welcome sight. I loaded up the rest of my gear and made it down to Vallecito creek for my second night's camp.

Day three was a leisurely, uneventful hike out to the car. Couldn't think of a better ending to my 99th Centennial Peak!

Next stop: Phoenix Peak. (And probably not my last stop, either!)

Here's a photo of my gps route.

As well as a picture of the gps profile.

And last of all, my gpx route.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice climb!
09/26/2011 21:44
Surprised how much snow that storm dropped - good work safely ascending in those conditions.

When I went up to Sunlight Creek last year, I had to cross about a half mile of annoying avalanche debris just above the bottom....has that been cut out?


Avalanche Debris
09/26/2011 22:05
Thanks! I was surprised by the snow as well. Good chance it's not going to go away on Jagged.

No, the debris has not been cut out. But there is an obvious path through (and over) it. With cairns every 20 or 30 feet!


09/27/2011 20:06
Nice photos. #99? Which is going to be your Centennials finisher?


Phoenix Rising
09/27/2011 21:32


09/27/2011 23:14
Yes, Phoenix is rising into view as my last Centennial peak. It's the only peak that turned me back on a solo trip, so I figured it deserved the honor. But that story will have to wait for my next trip report.

Thanks also to Piper - your Jagged trip report with photos was most useful! (Did you finish the Centennials yet?)

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