Peak(s):  Baldy Cinco  -  13,383 feet
"Baldy no es Cinco"  -  13,313 feet
PT 13,510 A  -  13,510 feet
PT 13,162 A  -  13,162 feet
PT 13,020 C  -  13,020 feet
Date Posted:  03/07/2012
Date Climbed:   03/05/2012
Author:  AndYouSeeMe
Additional Members:   Wisco14er
 Spring Creek Pass Handful  

Peaks climbed:
Pt. 13,510 A
Pt. 13,020 C
Pt. 13,162 A
Baldy Cinco (13,383)
Baldy No Es Cinco (13,313)

Mileage: 15.65 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,800
Time: 3:15am-5:15pm (14 hrs)


I have had my eyes on these 5 peaks for a month or so now, but the weather and long drive had stopped me from going for them until now. They came to my attention after reading Furthermore's trip report from roughly the same time of year, and it looked like a great trip into an area o Colorado I had never been before. My numero uno hiking partner Brandon(Wisco14er) has moved to Durango to go to Ft. Lewis and I really miss getting out into the mountains with him as much as we used to. So when he mentioned on Friday that we should try something on Monday, it was an easy decision to finally get out to Spring Creek pass and see what sort of trouble we could get in.

Left Broomfield at 4:40 after watching a frustrating Michigan State basketball loss and settled in for the 5 hour drive to the top of the pass, in between Lake City and Creede on highway 149. I quickly made my bed in the back of the Forester, read a bit of 'No Shortcuts To The Top', and was asleep before Brandon pulled in just before 11pm. We knew it was going to be a long day so the alarm went off at 2:40 and we hit the trail at 3:15am under a bright almost full moon.


I had read that the trail would be groomed for snowmobile use so we were excited about that. The only problem was that they had received a ton of new snow over the weekend and we could not find it. After a half hour of trying to find the snowmobile track we cut our losses and headed up where we thought the trail should have been. Fast forward two and a half hours full of complete bushwhacking, post holing hell and much cursing and we somehow happened upon the real trail. That was a very demoralizing stretch, but the mood picked back up again after stumbling onto the snowmobile track and beginning to actually make progress. For some reference, what took us two and a half hours in the morning took us twenty minutes on the way down!



We finally made it out of the trees and popped up onto the mesa right before sunrise and were blown away by how huge and flat it was. Got some great sunrise pictures and started heading for our farthest objectives of the day, Pt. 13,510 and Pt. 13020. It looked like we would get to where we needed to start ascending in no time, but the mesa is a deceiving place distance-wise. It took forever and a half to cross the dang thing, but the weather could not have been better and it was great catching up and laughing with Brandon again.



Once we finally got to the base of Pt. 13,162, it was a nice change of pace to actually start ascending after all the flat wallowing across the mesa. About two thirds of the way up we saw just how far away Pt.'s 13,510 and 13,020 were, and also how low the saddle between us and them was. Brandon had an old groin injury starting to flare up, so he decided to play it safe and sent me on my merry way. It turns out he made a little shelter near the summit of 13,162 and took a nice nap in the beautiful weather while I was gone.

Pt. 13,510 on left

Pt. 13,510

Looking at Baldy Cinco

Descending to the saddle went fairly well, was able to avoid the worst of the avalanche slopes and finally take off the snowshoes. The ridge from there to the summit of Pt. 13,51 was by far the most fun of the day. Fairly solid class 3 climbing with the added spice of fresh snow. It took two hours but I was finally standing on top and taking in the amazing views of the neighboring San Juan's, just breathtaking. Not wanting to make Brandon wait too long I ate a Snickers, danced a little to the 1995 New Years Eve Phish show I was blasting, and departed for 13,020.

Can see Wisco14er waaaay over there

Summit of 13,510


This was a weird, extremely unexciting peak. You actually have to go over a subpeak that is a few hundred feet higher, then descend down to the actual summit. Quite a pain in the butt but I had already come this far and wanted all five, not just four. Spent all of thirty second on the summit then hightailed it back to the saddle. Descended the class 3 sections, picked up my stashed snowshoes and water, and began the brutal climb back up 13,162 to where Brandon was. At this point I was really starting to feel the brutal 6 hours of trailbreaking from two days before on Spread Eagle, but I just kept plugging along.
As soon as I popped out on the low angled slopes up to the summit of 13,162 Brandon showed up looking for me, pretty good timing as he was bored and starting to get worried. I was very thankful to have such a great partner who waited for me to tackle the first two peaks alone. We both went to the summit of Pt. 13162 and looked in awe at the ridge over to Baldy Cinco. Two things stood out, the awesome cornices along the entire thing, and how far away the dang summit was. I think it took about an hour to make it to the top of Baldy Cinco, but we were moving very slow at this point.

Baldy Cinco

Rock formation


Wisco14er on Baldy Cinco

Me on Baldy Cinco

After a gummy bear break on the top of Baldy Cinco it was time to finish what we had started and head up Baldy No Es Cinco. Arriving at about 2:30 it was an amazing feeling to be done with the upward portion of our day, and I was so stoked to have gotten all 5 peaks I had been going for. Took a ton more pictures, ate more food, climbed the massive summit cairn, and then planned our descent down.


5 in a day!

He's not that strong

San Juan 14ers

We could see out on the mesa what we thought were our tracks from this morning, and they looked so, so, so far away. That was because they were! After realizing that complaining about was not going to help the situation, we put our heads down and went to work. As we got closer to the tracks we figured out they weren't our tracks from the morning at all, but that the groomer had gone through while we were up on the peaks all day! We literally were walking on a freshly groomed Colorado Trail and couldn't have been happier. That did not mean that the mesa got any smaller, but it did mean no more post holing in our snowshoes. We were dead tired at this point and just sort of went on autopilot from there back to the pass and the cars.

ahhh, groomed trail

this place is huge

Snow Mesa

When we reached the lip of the mesa and dropped down we saw something really cool. In the morning we had commented on the massive cornice that had formed on the lip of the mesa and mentioned how crazy it would be if it broke free. Well, the groomer set it off and left behind quite the avalanche debris field, with some blocks the size of a large SUV. It was really neat to see it all up close, especially since we weren't around when it all came down. That was definitely a highlight of my day.

Avy debris

Glad we didn't cause this!

One last shot

Got back to the cars at 5:15 after 14 hours and I must say it felt absolutely phenomenal to take off the boots and winter gear after such a long day. Drove down to Creede and had some BBQ, and then we went our separate ways home. Overall it was an awesome day and I am so glad I was able to hit the trail with Brandon again, the next time won't come soon enough. And a word of advice, they groom the trail on Monday afternoon, so I would recommend a Tuesday climb!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

 Comments or Questions

03/07/2012 21:20
that avy debris on the mesa looks amazing. nice report


03/07/2012 21:43
Damn, I really have to get down to Snow Mesa this year for some riding and climbing.


Well done.
03/07/2012 22:01
Looks like an amazing day. That's a fine set of winter peaks.


Good Job!
03/07/2012 23:01
Wow, 13,020' was right there, and I didn't go get it when I was on 13,510A! Darn. Glad you got them all and had such a great weather day!


Very cool
03/07/2012 23:16
Those sunrise pics are really awesome! It almost has a moonscape feel to it, I was fully expecting TWO suns to rise above the horizon à la Luke Skywalker/Tatooine. 8)


03/08/2012 00:43
Never heard of these. Awesome write up.


Yeee Boyy
03/08/2012 02:20
First off, the FDA/Mars Bar company/Dr Oz would probably not condone the consumption of 5 Snicker bars in a day no matter how much physical activty one has been through.
Second off, next time I go with a large group and see a nice broken trail, I'll pull an Aaron and take the ”road less traveled” approach.

Just messin man. Great pics and killer job!! So jealous I didn't get to go. The expansivness portrayed in your pics (especially image 5) is just mind boggling.


Great Place in Winter
03/08/2012 16:06
These peaks were my first winter backpack - incredible area. That avy debris is crazy.


thanks for the comments!
03/08/2012 16:54
Iman: it has been too long for sure!

furthermore: thank for the idea to head out there, amazing place

bergsteigen: you didnt miss much not going for 13020 C, it was a pain

jed: we commented on the fact it looked very moonscape-ish out there

monster5: i had never heard of Snow Mesa either but it is an amazing part of colorado for sure

abeonfire: only ate 3 snickers bars because I agree, 5 seemed like too much for one day and my road less traveled approach is not recommended when there is a trail, hindsight is quite the female dog!

floyd: climbed with Colin saturday and he was remembering how great that trip was for you two, also used your trip report for some beta!


Groomed trails?!
03/08/2012 18:37
I have to look further into this phenomenom...

Chicago Transplant

03/08/2012 20:13
I might be in that area myself this weekend, we are looking for something to do on Sunday after hitting some centennials Saturday east of Redcloud. Of course we might be too beat for a big loop and may just do an easier 12er from Slumgullion Pass. Timely report in any case! Thanks!

(PS to Bergsteigen- 13020C is only soft ranked anyway if it makes you feel better)

I Man

Nice Beard!
06/20/2012 13:38
Ha, has it really been that long since I've seen you?

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