Peak(s):  Pacific Pk  -  13,950 feet
Date Posted:  08/19/2014
Modified:  08/20/2014
Date Climbed:   08/09/2014
Author:  mkrier
 Pacific Peak East Ridge  

Pacific Peak
East Ridge
RT Length: 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,247 ft
Time: 8 hours

We decided on the east ridge of Pacific since it seemed like a relatively short, fun scramble. Almost all of the reports I found were on the west ridge or southeast slopes. This ridge is a great intro to class 3, as you can stay ridge proper with decent exposure for most of the ridge but if it ever becomes too much you can easily drop down a bit on the south side and enjoy class 2+ with no exposure.

Michael, Jeremy and I headed up from Denver at 4:30am and arrived at 6:30am. There is no trailhead, but we walked ~50ft back on the road from where the car is in Bills route description and started up a steep hill. The elevation gain is pretty relentless the first mile coupled with some bushwacking. However, rather quickly you exit the dense area and arrive here.

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You gain ~1,500 ft in the first mile or so before you finally hit the ridge. The entire ridge is pretty solid rock and really fun, easy climbing. It took us 4 1/2 hours to summit, and 3 hours were spent on the ridge. The north side of the ridge is a drop-off for most of the route, but you can always drop down a little bit on the south side if you don't want to stay ridge proper.

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We stayed ridge proper for the majority of the route. The only time we should have dropped down and skirted around was on one of the last towers as can be seen below. The red route was our route. It's hard to stay directly on the ridge as the only loose rock we found on the ridge was in this section and there is a sheer dropoff to your right/north side. The downclimb to your left is 20-30 ft and while it wasn't horrible the rock in this section is definitely the loosest on the route. The ridge is long enough and provides great climbing opportunities that I would just go around this final section.

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Looking back at the ridge

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Quandary

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The Descent

We chose to descend Pacific's Southeast slopes heading to Quandary when we ran into some trouble. The area circled in red below is quite sketchy. Extremely steep, loose scree. We looked around for ~10 minutes but this seemed like the best place to descend. A storm moved in rather quickly and we were getting hailed on for a bit, so we decided to go for it. Does anyone know if there is a better descent route?

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After this section, it's boulder hopping for a mile or so and then a nice trail that leads you back to the Main McCullough trailhead. You can either walk back to your car ~1mile or so or bum a ride from someone. We were lazy.

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