Peak(s):  Redcliff  -  13,642 feet
"Fortress Pk"  -  13,241 feet
Precipice Pk  -  13,144 feet
Date Posted:  07/11/2013
Date Climbed:   06/24/2013
Author:  Furthermore
 Beauty 'N Mank  

Redcliff 13,642
"Fortress Peak" 13,241
Precipice Peak 13,144

June 24, 2013
~11.5 Miles, ~6,600 Gain
TH: End of the West Fork Cimmaron Road (FS 860) (High Clearance required, ~6-6.5 hours from Denver)
Max difficulty: Class 2


Day 6:
With the amount of climbing in the past week, I was originally planning on doing this trio as 2 days to account for some rest. Feeling good, I decided to combine them into a single day. The alarm went off early as usual and I started hiking up the West Fork Cimmaron trail at 5:00 AM towards Redcliff. Going on a decent trail makes thing go much faster.


Sunrise over Chimney Rock.

Sunrise over Chimney Rock.

I left the trail at ~11,400 and started up the grassy slopes towards the Coxcomb-Redcliff saddle. A steep grunt later I was at the saddle. From the saddle, I continued up Redcliff's class 2 talus south ridge where I arrived on my 600th summit over 13,000 at 7:20 AM. Stellar views of Coxcomb, Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre.

South ridge of Redcliff.

Coxcomb from near the Redcliff-Coxcomb saddle.


Wetternhorn and Uncompahgre

"Fortress" and Precipice from the summit of Redcliff.

"Fortress" and Precipice from the summit of Redcliff.

Now for the manky traverse over to "Fortress." I returned to the Redcliff-Coxcomb saddle and descended west back down grassy slopes until I was below the cliff bands that guard Redcliff's upper slopes. I started my traverse at ~12,800 slowly descending to ~12,400 on crappy talus. The travel was slow.


Slowly making my way towards "Fortress," I enjoyed several areas of manky rock, talus and scree. Some tricky gullies also made things complicated. I wish I just dropped back down into the valley and the reascended the slopes of "Fortress."

Below the "Fortress"-Redcliff saddle, I started up a gully towards 3 small black colored coves. Before reaching the coves, I headed north onto loose talus slopes which allowed me to intercept "Fortress's" west ridge. At first, the summit pyramid looked tricky but only involved class 2 climbing. I reached the summit of "Fortress" at 9:25 AM. Outstanding views of Redcliff. The Cimarrons are a truly astonishing area.

Hoo Doos.

Redcliff on my traverse to "Fortress"

Sweet rock.

Redcliff from near the summit of "Fortress"

Precipice from "Fortress"

Redcliff from "Fortress"

Route up "Fortress."

Having had enough of the mank, I wised up and just descended to the valley back to the West Fork Cimmaron trail. I just returned back to my car, ate something and then started my final assault up Precipice. For a second time leaving my car, I headed east up a prominent gulch mile south of the summit at 11:00 AM.

Staying on the north side of the gulch, I found an intermediate trail. As the gulch steepened, I lost the trail and headed directly up the north side of the gulch. After a steep section of bushwhacking, I found the spotty trail which led me upwards into a talus field further north of the gulch. I climbed up the talus field aiming for a short weakness in a small cliff band.

Route up Precipice.

Climbing through the cliff band wasn't difficult and at the top, I was left with two options. Either take a talus then grass covered ridge to the left or head up grassy slopes to the Precipice-"Fortress" saddle. I decided to take the grassy slopes to the saddle.

Before reaching the saddle I headed further north to intercept Precipice's south ridge. Two large buttress looked like it barred easy access to the summit. As I climbed near the two buttresses, I just climbed between them to Precipice's upper slopes. Such a scenic finish as I arrived on the summit of Precipice at 12:10 PM. I enjoyed the summit for a few minutes before I started my descent back to my car. Returning via my ascent route, I returned back to my car at 12:55 PM. What a fine way to finish a week of climbing. It was time for a rest.14

Gap between buttresses on Precipice.

South ridge of Precipice.

The Big Bad MoFo of 12ers.

Only if that wasn't mank.

Route Map.

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

File not found! Author needs to re-upload the GPX file for the map to appear.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

07/12/2013 01:38
What a scenic place! Fine report as always, Derek. When I get around to those, your beta will prove helpful. It seems amazing from some of the views that those peaks have walk up routes.


Congrats on #600
07/12/2013 14:41
Great TR as always and congratulations on your 600th 13k+ ft peak.


07/12/2013 16:52
Looks like such a bad*ss peak from that vantage point. Nice job on another challenging loop!


That view of Wetterhorn ...
07/12/2013 20:02
In the first photo is so cool! Neat trip. That area around Owl Creek Pass is so beautiful. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Nice report
07/13/2013 16:32
Well done, Derek. I really like that area, hope to be down there in September. So how many 13ers do you have left? Over 600 done, very impressive.


There is no ridge running in the Cimarrons
07/15/2013 19:50
That route from Redcliff to Fortress sounds painful. That is come unique topography regardless and some of the best car camping ops in the state, IMO. Nice job - looks like you still have some ground to cover before you reach the big Three-O. Goodluck.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.