Peak(s):  Grizzly Pk A  -  13,988 feet
Date Posted:  06/03/2012
Date Climbed:   06/02/2012
Author:  Yikes
 Grizzly Peak A  

Grizzly Pk A
Date: June 2, 2012
Elevation Gain: 3248' from lower TH
Distance: 8.2 miles
Participants: Yikes (solo)

With only two 14ers left remaining, my attention is starting to switch to the 13ers. With such a large quantity of mountains to choose from, it isn't too hard to come up with some place new. I was leaning towards the French group, but felt that I would be tempted to tackle all four. I had been feeling a little weak the previous weekend, so decided to select something where I wouldn't be tempted to tack on extra miles.

The description of Grizzly in Roach's book doesn't say much besides "rough". I figured since it was less than 6 miles RT from the upper TH, that it should be a walk in the park.

Not too hard to wake up at 5am when the sun rises so early. A quick one hour drive from Salida to the turnoff at La Plata TH. FS 391 was a bit bumpy, reminding me of driving through the I-270 potholes in springtime. The turnoff to FS 394 is only 3 miles back, so it went by quickly.

Nice views on the way up

Start driving up FS 394 and ... stopped immediately. Two trees crossing the road. Guess I'm walking from the lower TH.

end of the road

So, I start up the road grumbling a little due to the unplanned extra miles. Maybe six downed trees in all. The road didn't seem too rough and don't think I would have had any problems driving up to the upper TH in the stock SUV. The road actually went by pretty quickly and was surprise how fast I arrived at the upper TH gate.

The road up to the mine was pretty gradual, with a small amount of water to step through (1-2" at the most).

Up the valley

Climber's choice on where to gain the ridge. Some head up early to tackle the entire ridge.

Early ridge access

Middle ridge access

I stuck with the official route, which is to hike to the back of the valley and then head up to the saddle. After the mine, the trail isn't very obvious. I started out across the meadow and eventually stumbled onto a very faint trail leading to the back of the valley. I don't think I spent more than a few hundred yards on the trail.

Garfield; coming back for that one


It took a bit of time to climb the 800' up to the ridge. There were numerous cliff bands that you need to skirt around. The talus and scree was pretty loose. No rock slides, but at one point I was trying to claw my way up the loose scree/dirt. Fun stuff.

view from the ascent

I chose to cross the middle of the snow field instead of the ridge scramble. An ice axe was pretty useful, since it helped prevent an unplanned glissade.

The weather was hot and blue skies until I reached the ridge. At that point I noticed considerable storms to the north and south. Felt lucky to be missing the precipitation. When I reached the top of the ridge and was able to look to the west, I noticed a much larger storm pounding the Elks. Guess I better start moving a little bit quicker.

view thru the gap

long ridge, if you so choose

Looks benign, but behaves like ball bearings

The top of the mountain went by pretty quickly. The pictures make it look like the last section past the snow field is lengthy, but it only took 10 min or so to reach the summit.

The storm was racing to the east, so I took the hint and started booking down. I wanted to get as low as possible before the rain began. I skipped the snow field and stayed on the ridge proper, thinking I would be able to scramble across the rocks faster than across the slick snow field. I didn't think it was too difficult and only had to face-in two or three times. Below the saddle, the loose scree and talus didn't cause too much of a problem, and I was down on the valley floor relatively quickly. Other than a few snowflakes, I didn't get any precipitation.

Views on the descent


The walk down the valley went smoothly, taking my time to take some pictures and eat some food. I actually appreciated the clouds since the temperature was more enjoyable.

up the valley

Grizzly Pk A - not sure it warrants a "rough". Not too lengthy, nothing too dangerous, just a bit of loose talus and scree to work your way through.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

06/04/2012 14:56
Gaining that ridge is a tab annoying, isn't it? Like climbing up a pile of dirt at times. Beautiful area back there though. Thanks for posting.


Nice TR
06/04/2012 18:29
I was the other climber that you saw out there on Saturday. It was such a beautiful morning but the weather sure turned fast. I was glad to read that you didn't get caught in really bad weather, it was looking pretty ugly from below when you were up there. And I also didn't think the route was too rough. Aside from gaining the ridge it was a really enjoyable hike. Thanks for posting the TR.


The other side
06/04/2012 19:35
Thanks for the trip report, it is very cool to see the perspectives I missed out on. I summited Saturday at 3:30pm from the West side, starting from the Grizzly Reservoir TH just after the thunder passed (late start due to car trouble). I'll try to do a TR.


Blocked Road
06/04/2012 20:36
Well, two weeks ago I tried to let drivers know the upper road was blocked by deadfall just after the turnoff by dragging a bunch of logs over the road in a big X but - no good deed goes unpunished! Hopefully the FS (or a 14er with a chainsaw) will get in there soon to clear the road. The ”long ridge” is a very enjoyable catwalk with an easy slope walk down to the basin below Mt. Ouray.

The Old Fart

Any word on the clearing or the road?
07/01/2012 01:14
Looking to have a go at Grizzly A this weekend. Anyone know if the road to the upper TH has been cleared of fallen trees?

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