Peak(s):  "Every Mtn"  -  13,691 feet
"Cooper Creek Pk"  -  13,688 feet
Date Posted:  08/30/2015
Date Climbed:   08/23/2015
Author:  Hoot
 Bicentennial Bagging - Points 13,691 and 13,688   

Point 13,691 "Every Mountain" (Colorado #151)
Point 13,688 "Copper Creek Peak" (Colorado #153)
Date: 23 August 2015
Trailhead: Copper Creek
Distance: 10.7 miles
Time: 6 hours and 33 minutes (round trip)
Elevation gain: 3090' TH-high point delta, 4200' GPS track

I had originally planned to climb these two bicentennial peaks from the north via Henson Creek Road. The northern approach looked like a little shorter and practical as I spent the day before climbing 14er Wetterhorn Peak (14,015', Colorado #49) and bicentennial Matterhorn Peak (13,590', Colorado #140) just off Henson Creek Road. However, after checking out the Henson Creek starting options which would involve skirting private property and ascending a steep off-trail route initially in the dark, I decided to use the standard Copper Creek approach described in Garratt and Martin.

After saying "good bye" to Barry and Brad on Saturday afternoon, I visited Engineer Pass for the first time, stopped for dinner in Lake City, and then drove to the well-marked new Copper Creek trailhead. This trailhead is about one mile past the popular Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch trailhead used for the three 14ers Redcloud, Sunshine, and Handies along the Cinnamon Pass Road. It look me almost an hour to reach the trailhead from Lake City. While high clearance was convenient in a few spots, a passenger car should be able to make it to this trailhead without too much trouble. There were dozens of hikers camped out at Silver Creek, but I had Copper Creek, the entire Copper Creek drainage, to myself. While there was a nice camping area in the trees close to the small trailhead parking area, I spent the cool night sleeping in that back of my 4Runner.

I got up at 4:30 am on Sunday and started hiking from the trailhead with my headlamp at 5:17 am. After initially hiking away from Copper Creek, I joined an older trail that starts just up the road at Rock Creek. The trail turned into an old Jeep trail climbing on the west side of the creek and was easy to follow with my headlamp. After hiking for 35 minutes I followed the trail down to the first of two crossings of Copper Creek. The skies were just beginning to lighten and I was unsure of the exact crossing point which was obvious on my return in daylight. After making sure the trail didn't continue on the west side of the creek, I crossed to the east side of the creek on two small logs and regained the then obvious trail.

At 11,560', I crossed Copper Creek a second time and began climbing out of the valley on a faint trail but well-graded trail. From an old mining site at about 12,400' in the drainage below Copper Lake, I took a pretty direct path on a mostly grassy slope up to the ridgeline. It looked like I missed an old trail that led from the mining site up to the ridgeline, but my direct route worked fine. I reached the ridgeline at the 12,870' saddle between Points 13,131 and 13,484 (a point labeled with "Prospect" on the topo map) at 7:22 am after 2 hours of hiking. From this point I headed east along the ridge to Point 13,484. There was surprisingly little wind on the ridge and the rock was stable and easy to hike on. It took me about 20 minutes of hiking up the ridge to reach the summit of Point 13,484. This point was covered with cool white rock with black spots on it. From here I had a good view of the ridge I had originally intended to climb from the north. I didn't see any towers or anything along the Point 13,484's north ridge that would have made the finish of this approach particularly difficult.

Looking ahead toward Point 13,691, it appeared that the ridge might get a bit more challenging. However, I was easily able to get around all obstacles on the right (south) side of the ridge. Much of the time I seemed to be following a faint trail, perhaps a game trail, through the rocks. I reached the summit of Point 13,691, my highpoint for the day, at 8:11 am after almost 3 hours of hiking. This summit provided great views in all directions. After a short snack break, I continued southeast along the ridge descending about 460 feet, not much more than the 300 foot drop required to make Points 13,691 and 13,688 distinct ranked peaks. From the saddle it was an easy gradual climb to the broad summit of Point 13,688 which I reached at 9:06 am after 3 hours and 50 minutes of hiking. I spent about 20 minutes on the summit enjoying the solitude and the spectacular 360-degree panorama of the San Juan Mountains all around me.

As suggested in Garret and Martin, I traversed back the way I came about halfway to the saddle before dropping into the basin on mostly solid grassy slopes. There was no trail to follow, but the general route down toward Copper Creek was obvious. Along the way I passed several metal poles that didn't look very old. I have no idea why someone put the poles there Lower in the valley I passed the remains of a good-sized Elk carcass. I hopped across Copper Creek at about 11,920', hiked through lots of tall grass and flowers, and eventually picked up a faint trail on the south side of the creek. The trail was marked with large rock cairns. I rejoined the main trail at the morning's second creek crossing. On the hike back down the valley I enjoyed the beautiful scenery I had missed in the morning darkness. I stopped to take pictures of lots of flowers along the way. Signing out on the register near the trailhead confirmed I was the only person to enjoy the Copper Creek drainage this day. I reached the trailhead at 11:50 am for a total round trip time of 6 hours and 33 minutes. My GPS logged the round trip distance at 10.7 miles.

Points 13,691 and 13,688 were my 22nd and 23rd bicentennial peaks making it a 3-bicentennial weekend. On the hike out I had a great view of 14er Handies its neighbor Point 13,795 (Colorado #109) which remains on my bicentennial to-do list. I'll be back!

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
San Juan Ron

Trip Report
08/30/2015 14:51
Shhhhh! One of my fav secluded hikes....Ron

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