Peak(s):  Summit Pk  -  13,300 feet
Montezuma Pk  -  13,150 feet
"Unicorn, The"  -  13,020 feet
Date Posted:  07/21/2014
Date Climbed:   07/15/2014
Author:  mennoguy
 Fog and rain in the south San Juan's   

Summit Peak 13300
Montezuma Peak 13150
The Unicorn 13020
Long Trek Mountain 12866
North Mountain 12754
Unnamed 12568
Unnamed 12550
Unnamed 12498

July 14-15

Monsoon season in the South San Juan's was an interesting experience, never have I experienced so much weird weather. My friends Alex and Andrew accompanied me in camping, they didn't have much interest in climbing peaks. We found a cool spot near Elwood Pass for the first night, soon after the tent went up we saw lighting about a quarter mile away. Our first of many storms commenced.

lookout mountain from camp

evening alpenglow on lookout



I woke up early and admired the sunrise over Lookout Mountain, I have to come back for that one. I was on the trail by 5:50, I scared a heard of elk on my way up the east slopes of 12498, I summited at 6:45 and heard my friends hollering. Not one to waste time I hurried over to 12550, I found a grass and talus gully which led down the north slope where I intercepted a game trail which took me to the saddle with 12550. Up I went and where I scared some peak-bagging elk, these 12ers are sure getting crowded.



peakbagging elk on 12550


Many more peaks were on my agenda for the day so I jogged down the grassy slopes and followed the CDT to a grassy break in long trek's east slopes. Up I went, some bucks hovered over me before deciding it was time to leave. The east ridge held some interesting rock formations so I descended that way where a coyote took off running. I took the most direct route back to my car which was in hindsight not the best idea, there were a lot of bogs and shoes stealing mud.




Part two of my Monday romp took me up to summitville. North Mountain is a quick hike from the road, the weather held long enough for me to tag 12568, another grassy summit typical of this area of the San Juan's. By the time I reached my car I had to abandon my attempt of south mountain and Cropsy because storms be a brewing.

north mountain

summit ridge of north

more elk on north


We moved camp to treasure creek where we were promptly rained and hailed on.

Tuesday morning held gloom in the air, a thick fog settled over the mountains. I thought maybe I could climb over the fog. I was wrong. I followed the trail past treasure creek falls and took a direct line to montezuma's east ridge. The bush whacking soaked my pants a shoes. Once on the ridge the view was a bit underwhelming. I could see 100 feet. Not deterred by the low visibility I pressed on, somehow finding the summit of Montezuma. The Unicorn was not difficult to find either. I will have to come back to actually get the views. The CDT guided me to summit peak's east ridge. There was still considerable snow covering the trail, at times I could not see the trail on the other side. Once at the east ridge I took a direct line up, I can't recommend this because it leads through steep loose terrain. My summit stay was short because I was chilled to the bone by the wind. I decided to head down and abandon my attempts at any more peaks.

treasure falls


looking into the abyss

The descent was uneventful except for when I tried to take off my pack to refuel. I couldn't unbuckle my pack because my hands were so cold they lost all dexterity. The sun finally came out when I got back to camp. That didn't last long, storms rolled in within an hour.


bag worms attacking willows

returning to treasure falls

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Jon Frohlich

High on my list
07/21/2014 16:12
I haven't been down there yet but I really want to get there. Thanks for the pictures and the report. Makes me want to get there even more now!


07/22/2014 04:40
Holy 12ers, Batman, you're making Furthermore jealous!

An interesting report with some really cool photos. Thanks for persevering against those unruly elk.


07/23/2014 17:42
the coolest part of the state I have seen thus far. Just curious, most remote you have felt in the state?


Most remote place
07/23/2014 18:17
The eastern Weminuche, I went backpacking there in 2009 and went almost three days without seeing another person not in my party. The wildlife there seemed more curious than afraid of our existence. A moose wandered to the creek by our campsite and seemed unperturbed by our proximity.

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