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Peak(s):  Virginia Peak  -  13,094 feet
"West Virginia"  -  13,152 feet
"Sheep Rock Mountain"  -  13,261 feet
Unnamed 13251  -  13,251 feet
Unnamed 13258  -  13,258 feet
Winfield Peak  -  13,085 feet
Date Posted:  07/24/2013
Modified:  10/24/2013
Date Climbed:   07/21/2013
Author:  bergsteigen
 Winfield Loop: Searching for clarity by the Apostles   

Winfield Pk, Virginia Pk, West Virginia, Sheep Rock Mountain, Pt 13,235, Pt 13,253, Pt 13,253 S

Mileage: 13.54
Elevation Gain: 4,786'
Trailhead: Banks Mine (0.4m from Huron 4WD TH)
Partner: Solo
Time: 11.5 hrs (5 hrs from Winfield to Pt 13,253 S)

I seem to do my best thinking while hiking. It may be that when I am pushing myself to do harder things or to hike faster, I practice walking meditation. The petty worries of daily life melt away, and the brain is left clear and calm to solve the more pressing problems. I was in some desperate need of meditating over some family troubles, and this long loop would be just the therapy needed to think.

I started from my campsite near the Banks Mine site, and followed the road on the other side to where the FS has a couple planks across the stream. After a short stretch of actual trail, it was a straight up the slope to get to the east ridge of Winfield. Along the way I was treated to a pink sky of sunrise. Some minor scrambling too, if you can find the rocky cliffs along the way.

Pink sky behind Huron and the Apostles

Red summit ridge of Winfield

East ridge up Winfield

From the unranked summit of Winfield, the route was clear. Follow the ridge line till I get to the last peak. And.... go!

Looking at my route from Winfield

On Virginia Peak, the route becomes even more obvious, as the ridge zig zags a little. Great clear morning!

On Virginia, looking back at Winfield

Pano of my ridge run

Looking at West Virginia

Some pretty purple flowers just below West Virginia's summit

The summit of West Virginia was a bit surprising! I climbed carefully up onto the summit blocks, and quickly back down again. Snapped a few more photos, then time to run the ridge to the next peak.

The exposed summit of West Virgina - carefully climbed upon...
Other view of summit block

Looking back at Winfield and Virginia

Onwards to Sheep Rock Mountain!

Final push up Sheep Rock, minor class 2+

With about half the ridge run done, I took a slightly longer break on the summit of Sheep Rock Mountain. The next section would be long till the next peak. Plus there were two annoying bumps to navigate along the way. While I hoped to be able to skirt them, it was much easier to just run the ridge up and over them. Even got some fun scrambling as a reward for the extra elevation gain.

Pano of second half of ridge run

Route up and over two annoying unranked bumps

Second annoying bump - easier to just go up and over the ridge.

Somce class 3 on the second bump along the ridge

Once on Pt 13,235 I could relax a little on the pace. With 30% storms, I wasn't too worried, but it was still nice to know I could safely complete the loop without having to bail. The remainder of the ridge was class 2+ with pockets of 3, including one exposed section. Thankfully the exposed section was pretty short.

View of 13,253 from 13,235

Looking back at the where I was

Taylor Park Reservoir basin

Last part of ridge to 13,253

Looking back at 13,235

Huron and 3 Apostles

Remaining ridge and unranked 13,253 south

On the last ranked peak of the day, with just the unranked Pt 13,235 South to go, I had some decisions to make. Furthermore dropped off the ridge after the last peak, and I had been spying the grassy slope down to the basin below. But then it would be a bushwack back to the trail. Or I could just continue along the ridge to the saddle and drop down the Colorado Trail. I went with option 2. The skies were still good!

Flowers for the Apostles

The last bump before the trail was not looking nice to me. I didn't want to go uphill again. I was starting to regret continuing on along the ridge, instead of dropping down to the valley below. The slope I could see, that skirted it, looked grassy and nice. I just hoped that the unseen slope around the corner was as nice. It was not. Should have gone over this bump as well. Darn!

Hurray, the Colorado Trail!

Last bump along ridge - just go up an over. Skirting it to the west was unpleasant

Once on the nice CT trail, it was mostly easy going. My right boot was bumping my right ankle badly. So my pace slowed drastically. Not something I wanted with 4.5 miles left to go. Not sure exactly what to do about this problem, may have to look into different boots for these long days.

Lake Ann

Waterfall by trail

Parting short of 3 Apostles

So while I may not have solved all my family related troubles on this hike, I did do some important thinking and problem solving. Plus, it's always a great day when I get to see the 3 Apostles up close!

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

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 28 29 30

Comments or Questions
7/25/2013 2:03am
clearly have the 13er bug as bad as I do. Nice work.

Nice work!
7/25/2013 12:51pm
I've had a similar trip in mind for a couple of summers now. Thanks for letting me live vicariously!

7/25/2013 2:01pm
Love the pics and a great route

Very nice!
7/25/2013 2:30pm
Love the pics of what looks like a nice ridge run! Sorry you had boot trouble - that can be VERY annoying.

7/25/2013 8:39pm
Furthermore - Fully infected and terminal...

CarpeDM & PaliKona - It's a fun ridge run, just needed enough of a weather window to do it!

Jay521 - New pair of boots this year, same brand as before. So not sure what is up. I had to force myself to not limp for 4 miles, as that would have been worse.

Nice route!
1/23/2017 10:04am
I'm interested in doing the first four peaks on this loop. Is it feasible to do a shorter loop by dropping down after summitting "Sheep Rock Mountain"? Either down its south slopes, or by returning to the saddle north of it then going east downslope? Going by the topo and from what I can see in pics it doesn't look too steep, but you've been up there so what do you think?

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