Peak(s):  Atlantic Pk  -  13,841 feet
Pacific Pk  -  13,950 feet
Crystal Pk A  -  13,852 feet
Pk 10  -  13,633 feet
Date Posted:  09/17/2015
Modified:  09/21/2015
Date Climbed:   09/06/2015
Author:  rob runkle
 Atlantic, Pacific, Crystal A and Peak 10  

View all Pictures HERE

After climbing Clinton and Traver, I was a little bummed that I was feeling so rough. But I went ahead and drove to the Mayflower trail head, with intentions of climbing the Pacific group, and possibly the Fletcher group. I decided to not torture my SUV rental by driving it up the 4WD road. Instead, I just parked at the trail head parking lot, directly off the main road. I got moving around 6 am, and hit the road right around 6:30. I made great progress up the road. I was actually feeling very good.

Once I got about a mile and a half up the road, I made a hard left across the field, through the willows, and started up The base of the West Ridge of Atlantic Peak. At this point the trail pretty much circumnavigates the base of the West Ridge, going clockwise around to the far side. There is a solid trail if you can find it. It is difficult to pick it up at the beginning, but once you get over towards the creek you should be about 20 feet away from the creek, if you are able to get onto the trail. Eventually, once the trail gets around to the other side of the ridge, it takes a hard right up towards the ridge, and pretty much disappears.

During the hike, I continued to look up at the skies. I was a little worried about the weather. For a short moment, at the base of the ridge, it did drizzle a little bit of rain on me, but the skies still didn't look very dark. At one point I contemplated going for Crystal first, then traversing Pacific and Atlantic and coming back down. But at the last second, I decided if the weather was bad, I at least want to get one peak. So I decided to start up Atlantic Ridge first , then check out the conditions from the top. If it looked bad, I would head straight down. if it looked ok, I would continue my ridge traverse. Along the ridge, I was actually feeling pretty strong, and the skies continued to look favorable. I ultimately made it to the top of Atlantic in around 2 and a half hours. I literally only spent 1 minute on Atlantic, then started towards Pacific.
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Pacific Peak from the summit of Atlantic

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Selfie on summit of Atlantic with Pacific in backgroun

At this point, i was pretty much committed to the traverse. I wouldn't have a good escape route, until after Pacific. As I approached Pacific, I saw another climber on top of Pacific. I began to pickup my pace. I wanted to try and catch this other climber, just in case he was heading the same direction as I was. As I got closer to the top of Pacific, the other climber traversed over towards the west ridge of Pacific. I figured that he was planning on descending the west ridge of Pacific, and that wasn't my plan. So, I dropped my pace. I still made it to the top of Pacific, from Atlantic, in about 45 minutes. From the top of Pacific, I could see the other climber, on a sub peak to the west of the main Pacific Peak. It looks like an interesting scramble to gain that sub peak. It was windy, so it was difficult, but we yelled across to each other, and ultimately found out that we were both planning on going towards Crystal Peak A.
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Pic of Craig on the sub summit of Pacific

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Back at Atlantic from Pacific

I only spent 2 minutes on Pacfic, and most of that time was yelling over to the other climber to determine his hiking intentions. I should mention at this point, that I was pretty shocked at the view of the Pacific to Crystal Peak A traverse. I figured it would be just like the simple traverse from Atlantic to Pacific. But, from the summit of Pacific, the traverse to Crystal was not obvious at all. Ultimately, I determined that I needed to traverse over the the other sub-summit, just like the other hiker had. The traverse to this sub-summit was not difficult, and could be done as a class 2, or class 3, depending on how low you want to drop, and how much challenge you were willing to take. I chose to basically head back towards Atlantic, drop about 50 feet, then traverse clockwise (right turn) around the summit of Pacific, until I could get to the sub-summit saddle, and make the quick scramble to the top of the sub summit. The gash between the two summits was small, but pretty loose, and definitely impressive. The moves that I made were probably low class 3. It reminded me of a smaller version of the Evans Sawtooth. I pretty quickly made the summit of the other point. From the other summit, I could more clearly see the traverse to Crystal. It was steep, but very climbable.

I didn't spend any time on the sub-summit, because I still wanted to try and catch the other hiker. The climb down towards the saddle was probably the steepest rock climb that could be done, and still stay class 2. Any steeper, and that face of Pacific would look very different. It would not be able to hold the rocks. It was made more difficult by the fact that there was thin layer of hail/ice on the rocks. At some point, it most have rained or hailed, and that particular side of Pacific was shaded from the morning sun. So, the ice was still on the rocks. Basically, having the ice on the rocks meant that you could not "slab walk" on any of the flat rocks. If so, you would end up on your butt. It was like walking on oily, or algae covered rocks.
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Picture back up at the summit of Pacific (showing the steep rock)

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Most of the rest of the ridge to Crystal A from close to the saddle

I slowly gained on the other climber and I eventually caught him around the saddle between Crystal and Pacific. I met with my new climbing partner. His name was Craig and he had done a bunch of the 13ers as well. Craig and I continued up towards Crystal. It was much easier going up Crystal, than it was coming down Pacific. I wouldn't say that coming off of Pacific was super-technical, but you definitely had to pay attention. We ultimately summited Crystal in a little over an hour from leaving Pacific. It was starting to become a very beautiful day. Craig asked me what my plans were for the day. I told them that I tentatively I thought about doing Fletcher and Drift. He seemed somewhat interested, but I don't know if I was all right interested in doing them at this point anymore. Craig mentioned his knees were bothering him, but he didn't feel like he was done for the day. He pointed over at a peak to the north, and said, "let's go over there and get that one." I asked him what it was, because I had no clue what that peak was. He said it was Peak 10, which was a Bicentennial. Immediately, I wasn't very interested. I was a little burned out, I had a hard day the day before. But the weather was nice and honestly today I was feeling pretty good. Plus the traverse to Peak 10 looked pretty easy. Craig and I left Crystal and headed towards Peak 10. It took us a little longer than I thought it would. I had estimated 20 minutes to get to Peak 10. But it took us closer to 40 minutes to get to the summit. Craig and I spent about 20 minutes on Peak 10. This was my first reasonable break today. After our break, we headed back towards Crystal. Our descent route would involve reclimbing Crystal, then dropping down to the Pacific-Crystal saddle. We made it back to Crystal in about 50 minutes. Since the weather was looking so great, and since Crystal was going to be our final peak for the day, Craig and I took another break (about 20 minutes).
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Shot of Pacific from saddle to Crystal A

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Shot of Pacific from Crystal A summit

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Shot of Peak 10 from Crystal A

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Selfie on Crystal A with Pacific in the background

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Crystal A and Pacific from summit of Peak 10

After break, we left Crystal, and started down towards the saddle. Once we got to the bottom of the saddle, the drop down into the basin was a piece of cake. We quickly crossed the basin, and looked up at our final up ascent challenge. We would need to climb over the very bottom of the Pacific Ridge. It wasn't technically challenging, but I think both Craig and I were ready to be done with the ascents. We actually made it up to the ridge pretty quickly, it was only about 100 foot of climbing, maybe a little bit more. At that point we took our last break, we looked around, and had a quick snack. After our break we headed directly towards the base of the Atlantic Ridge. We pretty quickly found the main trail, and followed the trail around the base of the ridge. During the descent it was easier to follow the trail. We were able to identify and follow a clear trail all the way to the willows. In the morning, I wasn't able to get across the willows without getting my feet wet, but on the return trip with a more clear path to the willows I didn't get my feet wet. We made it back to the road. Craig's car was parked up top the road. I decided that I wanted to walk the last mile, even though Crag had graciously offered to drive me back down. Craig and I each took each other's information down, then I was on my way down the road. I was surprised that I was actually able to run a lot of the road back to the trail head. I left Craig at around 2 hours from the summit of Crystal, and was able to run the last mile to mile and a half in around 25 minutes. I was very happy with my second day of climbing. I was able to get four named peaks, and most importantly I was starting to feel a lot stronger. Total round trip for today was around nine hours 10 minutes. It was a 12 mile day. Total elevation game was around 6100 feet.

To Atlantic Summit 2:32
On Atlantic Summit 1 minute
To Pacific Summit 44 minutes
On Pacific Summit 3 minutes
To Crystal A Summit 1:08
On Crystal A Summit 10 minutes
To Peak 10 Summit 37 minutes
On Peak 10 Summit 20 minutes
Back to Crystal A Summit 50 minutes
On Crystal A Summit Again 20 minutes
Back to Trail Head 2:24

TOTAL 9:10

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
boudreaux

You know
09/18/2015 08:46
I remember I did those peaks in 2 hikes. One up McCullough Gulch for A & P, then it was from Spruce Creek Rd to Crystal, Pk 10, Pk 9 and back via the Wheeler Trail. I was looking at the map and thinking there is no way I did all those in one hike if I started at Spruce Creek Rd. So hat’s off to you for another big day Dude!


rob runkle

F&D
09/18/2015 13:43
I’m kicking myself for not doing Fletcher and Drift also... But... I was in a rush to get back to Copper so that I could get cell service to let the Cajun know that I was open to doing the French group the next day.


boudreaux

Drift & Fletcher
09/19/2015 09:12
You will like those, there is a nice notch between the two you can do a Leap of Faith through! On Fletcher, I got my 1st and only case of Giardia!


rambis_21

Fun day man!
09/21/2015 23:04
Thanks for hiking with me that day Rob! Look forward to see what you have planned next year when you venture out here again. I’m sure I will be around and ready for more.



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