Peak(s):  Jagged Mtn  -  13,824 feet
Dallas Pk  -  13,809 feet
Teakettle Mtn  -  13,819 feet
Pigeon Pk  -  13,972 feet
Jupiter Mtn  -  13,830 feet
Vestal Pk  -  13,864 feet
Sunlight Peak  -  14,059 feet
Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Date Posted:  09/12/2015
Modified:  02/05/2019
Date Climbed:   09/12/2015
Author:  illusion7il
 SOLO Day Hiking the HIGH 100  

SOLO Day Hiking the HIGH 100



Say what?
The title means exactly what it says. This is a trip report about how I summited the highest 100 peaks in Colorado going Solo (by myself) and completing the routes as single day hikes from the trailheads without the traditional method of backpacking and use of a high camp. This includes the 58 fourteeners, 47 thirteeners, the 4 great traverses, and 9 Bicentennials. This report is continued with SOLO Day Hiking the HIGH 200 or here https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=19173

But some of these peaks have excessively long routes, and require technical rock climbing gear?
With the right amount of training, experience, will power, and determination, one can accomplish anything......My climb times are really not that impressive. I am also not much of a runner as I have never participated in a public marathon, half marathon, or even a social 5K. There are really only a few routes that have excessive mileage and elevation gain and a few that require some low 5th class climbing.

Class rating and the YDS
YDS stands for the Yosemite Decimal System which is used to give climbers a general idea of the difficulty of the climb, however these ratings can really vary from one area to another.
Class 1: trail hiking
Class 2: off trail hiking, some use of hands for balance
Class 3: scrambling, use of hands for upwards movement.
Class 4: climbing, use of hand holds that you need to look for and test
Class 5: Technical rock climbing usually done with a rope and protective gear but sometimes free soloed depending on the climbers comfort level

Going SOLO
I understand some will say that going alone is irresponsible, but I hope most find this report inspirational. There is a certainly a difference between actually going solo and being solo. On a 14er, you will almost never be solo unless you are doing a nonstandard route or climbing during the off season. When I got started on the centennial 13ers, I immediately noticed how alone I was. Purchasing a SPOT personal GPS locater really helped boost my confidence, however it's not fool proof and won't serve much purpose if it malfunctions or if you are physically unable to use it. Walking in the dark alone can be quite intimidating and takes some getting used to, and after a prolonged period of time you start to see things that just aren't there. I do my best to just stay focused on the trail and try not to look around with my headlamp as you will see the creepy eyes of the wildlife around you. I do not carry any bear spray or a gun, and my pocket knife is usually deep in my pack somewhere, but I do try to make a little noise while hiking in the dark to let the wildlife know that I'm coming through. It takes a lot of metal strength to stay focused; there were so many times I just wanted to turn around.

Backpacking vs Day hiking
I absolutely hate camping and I envy the people that can actually sleep in a tent. The idea of getting a good night sleep in a shelter made of cling wrap just doesn't work for me. The traditional method for climbing a peak goes a little something like this; spend a ridiculous amount of time packing your gear, hike up to the basin in the heat of the day carrying 40 pounds of gear, sweating like crazy, getting chewed up by the mosquitos, set up camp, filter water, make food, clean up your mess from your meal, hang your food in a tree, and try to get some sleep. Then day 2 usually consists of; get your food down from the tree, eat breakfast and drink coffee, clean up your mess, hang the food back up in the tree, climb the mountain, break down camp, and pack out. Or.......Start earlier, pack way lighter and do it all in a Day! OK, I guess it's not that simple, and there are some serious disadvantages with day hiking as you are now much more limited on the amount of time you can spend in the back country.

We all start somewhere
In October 2010 just a few months after moving to Colorado Springs from St. Louis, I decided to give Pikes Peak a shot via the Barr trail. At this time I didn't even have a clue what a 14er even was or how many were in the state. I just knew there was a trail to the top. I geared up in my finest cotton clothing, and after a very long and struggling 10 hours I made it to the top but there was just no way could I return down the trail to my car as I feeling too tired and fatigue. Luckily Pikes Peak has a road to the top and someone happily gave me a ride down. I went back in November and made it up and down under my own power, but it was a miserable experience. Then in September of 2011, a friend of mine, asked me to join him on 14er Mt Princeton. We made it up to about 13,800 just a few hundred feet below the summit when we were turned around by an electrical storm. We had no idea what was going on as there was a buzzing in the air and my hair felt like it was standing straight up. When the thunder started we decided it was best to get down. A lot of mistakes were made this day as we were underprepared, started too late, moved too slow, and made poor decisions.

Completing the 14ers for the 1st time
In January of 2012, I decided to try for another 14er and successfully summited Quandary Peak. When I got home I started looking at the routes of the other 14ers on the 14ers.com website and when I looked at routes like Pyramid and Little Bear, I thought there is just no way will I be able to get through all 58 peaks. So I decided I would just take things one peak at a time a see how far I could get. But just 20 months later, I was standing on top of my finisher, Snowmass Mountain. There was no summit party, no summit dance, no alcohol, no cookies, no banner, no costume party, no Selfie; in fact I don't even have a picture of myself on my final summit as there was no one up there to take a picture of me. Upon turning on my phone, I immediately received a text message that said, "Sorry about your grandfather" I knew that could only mean one thing. After about 5 long mins on the summit, I started heading down the mountain as I knew I would need to drive to Waterloo IA the next day for my grandfather's funeral.

Moving on to the Centennials
After completing the 14ers in August 2013, it felt like my life was over. I had read a little bit about the centennials list so without doing much research I figured I might as well get started and the new journey began in June of 2014 on Horseshoe Mountain. When I finally got a copy of Gerry Roach's 13ers book, I looked at routes like Jagged, Pigeon and Turret and my head hit the table in disappointment. I was overwhelmed just reading the complicated approaches to some of these peaks and that doesn't include climbing them. Jagged Mountain is described as a multi-day approach, so how am I going to do this in a single day?

An idea that manifested on itself
Since I completed most of the 14ers solo, it didn't take long to realize that I would only need to go back to about a dozen peaks and hike them by myself to get the solo checkmark on all of the 14ers. Then another idea came to me that I would only need to go back to just a few peaks that would include the Chicago basin peaks as day trips to accomplish a goal of day hiking all of the 14ers. But then the real idea came to me; since I am already working on the Centennials, since I am going to have to pay for permit to hike Culebra and Red Mountain; since many of the centennials start at the same trailhead as many of the 14ers,maybe it's possible to complete the highest 100 peaks as well as the 14ers for a second time, with the ultimate goal of completing them all solo as day hikes?

14ers vs Centennial 13ers
In a nutshell, Centennial 13ers are much more difficult than the 14ers. The average 14er route description will say something along the lines of "Start at the large parking area and follow a well-defined trail and cairns all the way to the top." While a 13er route description will say something like "Start at the unmarked Trail head at a small pull off along the road, try to locate a faint trail and follow north to 11,000 ft., then leave the trail and bushwhack your way up to tree line crossing a few streams along the way. The introduction is over, climb a steep gully round a corner and pick your way to the top." Several of the 14er routes can be done as combos, where a climber can get several peaks without too much added effort, and sometimes up to 4 peaks in one day. However, when it comes to the centennial 13ers, there are just a few places a climber can get 2 peaks at once as most of the centennial 13ers stand alone. I find it amazing how unpopular the 13ers really are, especially the ones that are just a few feet lower than 14K. A good example of this is Quandary Peak, which can easily see 500+ people a week while very nearby Fletcher Mountain that is only 49 ft. short of being a 14er, may only see just a handful of people.

Calendar of Climbs
I have listed the elevation gain and mileage for each hike/climb and had to estimate some of the combination routes using all information available. I have also added a people stat that says approximately how many people I actually saw on the mountain while I was up there. I do not count the people I see on the approach or hanging out in the basin below. I have also given credit to the users in which I used there GPX which were only used on peaks with complicated approaches.

1-20-14
Mt. Elbert (#1)

Trailhead - Lower South Mt Elbert
Route - East Ridge in winter (Class 1)
Miles - 12.5
Gain - 4,900
Start-10:45am Summit-2:10pm End-4:15pm Total-5:30
People - 5+
Notes: Snowshoes stayed in the car


Mt. Elbert Summit View

1-26-14
Mt. Yale (#2)

Trailhead - Avalanche Gulch
Route - East Ridge in winter (class 2)
Miles - 10.5
Gain - 5,000
Start-8:15am Summit-1:00pm End-4:30pm Total-8:15
People - 5+
Notes: Snowshoes stayed in the car, post holed like crazy


Mt. Yale East Ridge

6-13-14
Horseshoe Mountain (#3) & Peerless & Mt. Sheridan (#101) & Sherman (#4) & Gemini

Trailhead - Four mile Creek
Route - Multiple/ Standard up Horseshoe-Standard down Sherman (Class 2)
Miles - 8
Gain - 3,600
Start -8:15am Horseshoe-9:45am Peerless-10:15am Sheridan-10:55am Sherman-11:45am Gemini-12:25pm
End-2:10pm Total-5:55
People - 10+ on Sherman 0 on others


Horseshoe Mountain Summit Viewing Mt. Sherman

6/16/15
Mt. Silverheels (#5)

Trailhead - Hoosier Pass / South
Route - West Ridge (Class 2)
Miles - 6
Gain - 3,650
Start-10:25am Summit-12:40pm End-2:40pm Total-4:15
People - 0


Mt. Silverheels Summit View

6-21-14
"Obstruction Peak" (#102) & "Kitty Kat Carson" & Columbia Point (#6)

Trailhead - Lower South Colony Lakes
Route - East Ridge (Class 2+)
Miles - 19.5
Gain - 6,050
Start-6:40am Columbia Point-11:15am End-4:00pm Total-9:20
People - 0 but I did see there was a handful on Humboldt
Notes: Took the standard Humboldt trail, and the ridge from the saddle to bears playground is really time consuming. I then continued over "Obstruction Peak" and "Kitty Kat Carson" to the summit of Columbia Point. I pretty much retraced my steps all the way back down.


Columbia Point Memorial

6-25-14
Mt Adams A (#7)

Trailhead - Horn Creek
Route - SE Face (Class 2+)
Miles - 12
Gain - 4,800
Start-7:15am Summit-11:00am End-2:35pm Total-7:20
People - 2


Mt Adams Summit Viewing the Creston Group

6-28-14
Mt Lindsey (#8) & NW Lindsey & Iron Nipple & "Huerfano Peak" (#9)

Trailhead - Below the Lower TH at 10.1K
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 12.5
Gain - 5,300
Time-8:30 Total
People - 10+ on Lindsey and 4 on the others
Notes: Started well below the upper TH, and went up the NW ridge of Mt Lindsey, down to the saddle, then up and over the Iron Nipple to Huerfano.


On the Ridge of "Huerfano" Viewing Mt. Lindsey

7-14-14
Longs Peak (#10)

Trailhead - Longs
Route - Keyhole (Class 3)
Miles - 14.5
Gain - 5,100
Start-5:15am Summit-9:00am End-12:25pm Total-7:10
People - 20
Notes: This is such a great route which explains why it is so popular. Time could be improved if I knew the best way through the boulder field.


Longs Peak "the Diamond"


Longs Peak "the Narrows"

8-6-14
Pacific Peak (#11) & Atlantic Peak (#12)

Trailhead - Between the McCullough Gulch Trailheads
Route - Pacific E Ridge to NE ridge of Atlantic (Class 3)
Miles - 8.5
Gain - 3,950
Start-8:30am Pacific-12:05pm Atlantic-12:50pm End-3:20pm Total-6:50
People - 0
Notes: Fun loop starting between the McCullough Gulch Trailheads across the East Ridge of Pacific then down to the saddle and up the Northeast Ridge of Atlantic. The descent down to the basin was very loose.


On the Ridge to Pacific Peak

8-15-14
Clinton Peak (#13) & McNamee & Traver Peak

Route - Multiple (Class 2)
Miles - 10
Gain - 3,300
Time - Unknown
People - 1
Notes: Wheeler Lake just may be the most beautiful area in Mosquito Range


Clinton Summit Viewing Traver and McNamee

8-18-14
Fletcher Mountain (#14) & Quandary Peak (#15)

Trailhead - Quandary
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 9
Gain - 3,950
Start-7:20am Fletcher-9:50am Quandary-11:30am End-1:00pm Total-5:40
People - 0 on Fletcher 5 on W Ridge of Quandary 25+ on E. Ridge Quandary
Notes: Parked at Quandary TH, walked the road and ascended standard route of Fletcher then up Quandary West Ridge and descended Quandary East Ridge.


Fletcher Summit Viewing Drift Peak

8-30-14
Little Bear Peak (#16) & Blanca Peak (#17) & Ellingwood Point (#18
)
Trailhead - Lake Como Rd at 7,900
Route - Multiple (Class 5.0)
Miles - 16
Gain - 7,200
Start-4:50am Little Bear-9:45am Blanca-11:55am Ellingwood-12:55pm
End-5:50pm Total-13:00
People 10+
Notes: The traverse between Little Bear and Blanca is one of the 4 great traverses. I have to admit that the first time I climbed this peak, was with a group and we ascended the NW face and did the traverse to Blanca and I was extremely nerve racked, as I was just not ready for it. This climb haunted me for 2 years and I finally had the nerve to go back with a friend but the previous night storm left the ridge iced over so we were unable to traverse and had to descend the hour glass route which is probably the worst 14er standard route around, especially when wet. I couldn't get this climb out of my head and I wanted to do it solo, so I went back just one week later and ascended the NW face to the summit of Little Bear, cruised across the traverse to Blanca and Ellingwood and descended the SW ridge of Ellingwood Point. So it turns out that the climb that haunted me for 2 years is the BEST 14er route around and consists of about 6 hours of exposed scrambling.

Thoughts on difficulty: Now that I have ascended the NW face of Little Bear 3 times, it really didn't seem all that difficult. There are a couple 4th class moves around the black hand, and some really exposed 4th class maybe 5.0 moves just below the summit, but most of the face can be kept at class 3 or even difficult class 2. The traverse is just flat out amazing right from the start with maximum exposure. The ridge in some areas is no wider than a foot with a 500-1,000 foot drop off on both sides. The traverse is all about being comfortable with sustained exposure as there are no moves harder than 5.0


Lake Como and Little Bear


On the Little Bear Blanca Traverse

9-2-14
Crestone Peak (#19) & Crestone Needle (#20) & Humboldt Peak (#21)

Trailhead - South Colony Lakes Lower 2WD
Route - Multiple (Class 5.2)
Miles - 22
Gain - 9,000
Start-5:50am Peak-10:30am Needle-12:35pm Humboldt-4:05pm End-7:20pm
Total-13:30
People - 2 on the Ascent of the Peak and 2 on the descent of Crestone Needle
Notes: My day started at the Lower TH, up over broken hand pass and ascended the red gully to the summit of Crestone Peak, then traversed over to the Needle. The traverse between Crestone Peak and the Needle is one of the 4 great traverses. The first 75% of the traverse consists of descending quite a ways down the red gully and then crosses a bunch of rock ribs. Things really don't pick up till you get closer to the Black Gendarme and then it gets really exciting on the final 100 ft. of climbing. When I got back down to South Colony Lake, the weather was still excellent and I figured, what better way out of here than to summit Humboldt and descend the East Ridge.

Thoughts on difficulty: I was really glad Bill Middlebrook put up a full route description just weeks before, or I don't think I would have had very much success due to difficult route finding. I would say the 5.2 rating for the move below the Black Gendarme was spot on. The move was just a few feet off the ground and not very exposed. For the final 4th class pitch I went as far left as I could before engaging the rock because it looked less steep. The final pitch is exhilarating and super exposed, but the holds are huge.


The Final Pitch of the Crestone Traverse


Descending the Humboldt East Ridge

9-17-14
Maroon Peak (#22) & North Maroon Peak (#Unranked)

Trailhead - Maroon Lake
Route - S-N Traverse (Low to Mid Class 5)
Miles - 10.5
Gain - 4,850
Start-5:20am Maroon-9:35am N. Maroon-11:20am End-2:30pm Total-9:10
People - 1 was ascending N. Maroon as I was descending
Notes: The traverse between Maroon Peak and North Maroon is one of the 4 great 14er traverses. I have to admit that I chickened out on the traverse the first time I stood on top of Maroon Peak in 2013.

Thoughts on difficulty: It seems that everyone has a different rating for the traverse. The classic rating is 4th class and on 14ers.com the traverse is rated low to mid class 5. The Bells are known for loose rock, but everything seemed solid on the cruxes. I believe I followed the 14ers.com instructions perfectly. I felt the first crux was no big deal and 4th class is a good rating for it. The second crux made me pause for a minute, I mean when you have to jam your foot and hand in a crack, this climb is getting serious. I would give the 2nd crux a 5.3 rating. The 3rd crux comes up quick which is a 20ft chimney which I felt was about 5.3. When I reached the top of the chimney I thought all the difficulties were behind me, but there was still a 12 ft. wall that I just couldn't figure out a way around. This wall proved to be the most difficult move of the entire traverse. Maybe there were better holds that I was unable to find but I would give the move that you have to do to reach the top of this wall a 5.4 rating meaning this was the most difficult move I made on any of the 14ers or Centennial 13ers when comparing the rating on all other peaks.


On the Maroon Bells Traverse


North Maroon Summit View

9-20-14
The 4 Pass Loop

Trailhead - Maroon Lake
Route - Counterclockwise (Class 1)
Miles - 26.5
Gain - 8,300
Time - 9:55 Total
Notes: This isn't a 14er or 13er but was a great experience. This route takes you through some of the best areas in the Maroon / Snowmass wilderness and goes over 4 passes near 12,000 feet.


West Maroon Pass

9-25-14
Dyer Mountain (#23)

Trailhead - Iowa Gulch
Route - SE Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 3
Gain - 1,775
Start - 4:45pm Summit-5:35pm End-6:20pm Total-1:35
People - 0
Notes: A quick run up and down in between thunderstorms. Carried nothing but my spot


Dyer Mountain Summit View

9-26-14
North Apostle (#24) & Ice Mountain (#25) & West Apostle

Trailhead - Winfield
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 13.5
Gain - 4,700
Start-6:45am North-10:25am Ice-11:35am West-12:50pm End-4:05pm Total-9:20
People - 0
Notes: This route was surprisingly difficult. The ascent was a never ending talus hop up to the North and Ice saddle. The crux of Ice Mountain actually had some patches of ice making the climb a little more difficult. After summiting Ice I dropped down a loose gully and crossed many rock ribs over to the summit of West Apostle. Upon reaching the summit of West Apostle, I quickly realized that I had not done enough research on the descent and I had no map to work off of, as I thought it was an easy walk off. I ended up descending directly off the summit and followed the NW ridge down to some horribly loose gullies and down to the rock glacier to Lake Ann. I originally planned on climbing a few more peaks the next day but felt that I had enough for this trip. It was a few months later when I finally read the description in the Roach book, and these peaks were described as one of the most dangerous routes in the book.


North Apostle Summit Viewing Ice Mountain

10-4-14
French Mountain (#26) & Frasco BM & Casco Peak (#27
)
Trailhead - Halfmoon Creek
Route - Multiple (Class 2+)
Miles - 11.75
Gain - 4,600
Start-8:45am French-11:40am Frasco-12:10am Casco-1:55pm End-4:15pm Total-7:30
People - 0


French Mountain Summit Viewing Frasco and Casco

10-5-14
Missouri (#28) & Iowa & Emerald (#29) & Oxford (#30) & Belford (#31)

Trailhead - Missouri Gulch
Route - Multiple (Class 2)
Miles - 18
Gain - 8,050
Start-6:45am MO-10:00am IA-10:40am Emerald-11:20am Oxford-2:15pm
Belford-3:00pm End-4:45pm Total-10:00
Notes: This is a fairly fast moving route with good trail for most of it. I took the standard route to MO then traversed to IA and Emerald then descend down to the pond and over to Elkhead Pass to the standard route on Oxford. Returned over Belford and descended quickly to finish in 10 hours.


in the basin Viewing Emerald

10-8-14
Helen & Father Dyer & Crystal Peak A (#32) & Peak 10 (#103) & Peak 9

Trailhead - Spruce Creek
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 9.25
Gain - 4,200
Start-9:10am Helen-10:40am Father Dyer-12:25pm Crystal-1:05pm Pk. 10-1:50pm
Pk. 9-2:45pm End-4:10pm Total-7:00
People - 2 on peak 9
Notes: Cool traverse between Helen and Father Dyer.


on the Traverse to Father Dyer

10-17-14
Grizzly Peak A (#33)

Trailhead- Lower McNasser Gulch
Route - East Ridge (Class2+)
Miles - 8.2
Gain - 3,250
Time - Unknown
People - 0
Notes: Snow made this route a little difficult


Lonely Tracks on Grizzley's East Ridge

10-18-14
Mt. Hope (#34) A & Quail Mountain

Trailhead - Sheep Gulch
Route - Multiple (Class 2)
Miles - 8
Gain - 4,800
Start-7:20am Hope-10:05am Quail-12:00 End-1:15pm Total-5:55
People - 0


at the Hope Quail Saddle

10-25-14
London & Kuss & Mosquito (#104) & Treasurevault & Tweeto (#105) & Arkansas (#106) & Buckskin (#35) & Loveland

Trailhead - Mosquito creek
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 15
Gain - 6,000
Start-8:00am London-9:10am Kuss-10:10am Mosquito-10:50am Treasurevault-11:15am
Tweeto-12:20pm Arkansas-1:35pm Buckskin-4:35pm Loveland-5:10pm End-6:55pm Total-10:55
People - 0
Notes - Mixed snow / dry conditions. Buckskin was really the only peak I was after but it sure was awesome to be able to be able to stand on 8 peaks in one day!


is this treasure on Treasurevault Mountain

11-8-14
Mt. Bierstadt (#36) & Sawtooth & Mt. Evans (#37) & "West Evans"

Trailhead - Guanella Pass
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 10.25
Gain - 4,000
Start-9:50am Bierstadt-11:20am Sawtooth-1:00pm Evans-2:10pm End-4:50pm Total-7:00
People - 25+ Met Alan Arnette for the 1st time


Summit Ridge of Mt. Evans

1-8-15
Mt. Princeton (#38) & Tigger Peak

Trailhead - Lower Mt. Princeton Rd.
Route - East Slopes in winter (Class 2)
Miles - 13.25
Gain - 5,600
Start-8:30am Tigger-12:10pm Princeton-1:45 End-5:00 Total-8:30
People - 0
Notes: Snowshoes stayed in the car. There was lots of post holing on the last mile of the road. Ascended over Tigger and descended the standard.


Tigger and Mt. Princeton

1-18-15
Mt. Antero (#39)

Trailhead - Baldwin gulch
Route - West Slope winter variation (Class 2)
Miles - 12
Gain - 5,200
Time - 8:30 total
People - 2
Notes: Snowshoes stayed in the car. Post holed like crazy. Met Pedro on the summit. Also wanted to go for Cronin but once I got a closer look at the ridge, it looked unsafe so I descended into the upper basin from the saddle.


Mt. Antero Summit Viewing Cronin Peak

1-24-15
Mt. Shavano (#40) & Tabeguache Peak (#41)

Trailhead - Junction of 250/252
Route - East Ridge winter variation (Class 2)
Miles - 16
Gain - 6,300
Start-8:00am Shavano-1:30pm Tabeguache-2:30 End-6:45 Total-10:45
People - 0
Notes: I had to start 3 miles below the summer TH. Most of the road was either snow packed or dry so I was able to get there quickly. Even though it snowed a couple inches there was still a trench in place left by the party from previous weekend climbers, so I didn't have to use snowshoes till near tree line. The ridge was devoid of snow but it was super windy. When coming back from Tabeguache you basically have to re-summit Shavano and here I am just below 14K and it's almost 4pm! I knew I needed to make quick work of the descent and got back down the summer TH just before total darkness at 5:30pm.


Tabeguache Peak Summit View

1-29-15
Grays Peak (#42) & Torreys Peak (#43)

Trailhead - Winter Closure at i-70
Route - Standard in winter (Class 2)
Miles - 14
Gain - 4,850
Start-8:30am Grays-12:05pm Torreys-12:50pm End-3:00pm Total-6:30
People - 2 Alan Arnette and Kushrocks
Notes: Snowshoes stayed in the car. I felt like I was cheating, as it didn't feel any harder than in the summer.


Stephens Gulch with Grays and Torreys

3-7-15
La Plata Peak (#44)

Trailhead - La Plata
Route - NW Ridge Direct (Class 2+)
Miles - 9.5
Gain - 4,900
Time - 11:40 Total
People - The 2 that were with me
Notes: I actually hiked with people which is very unusual for me. Avalanche danger at this time was "Very High" as there had been lots of accumulation over the past week, but somehow there was still a faint trench in place from previous parties. It crossed some semi steep slopes that were a little spooky before reaching the ridge. Once up to the ridge it was a rather simple walkup. I originally did this peak Solo as a day hike on 9-1-2012 from Winfield.


La Plata Peak NW Ridge

3-10-15
Mt. Columbia (#45)

Trailhead - winter closure at 9,100
Route - SE Ridge (Class 2)
Miles - 12.75
Gain - 5,430
Time-8:05 Total
People - 2
Notes: Solid trench in place from previous climbers. Didn't have to use snowshoes till near tree line and decided it was faster to just post hole on the way down. The upper ridge is never ending.


Mt. Columbia SE Ridge at Treeline

3-15-15
Mt. Massive (#46)

Trailhead - Fish Hatchery
Route - East Ridge in winter (Class 2)
Miles -15
Gain - 4,600
Time-9:20 total
People - the 1 that I was with me and I could see 2 others on N. Massive
Notes - I actually joined Pedro on this one. He was one of the people I met on Antero just a few weeks ago. Lots of snowshoeing all the way up to the ridge. I originally Solo day hiked this peak on 7-2-13 and did the Tour de Massive.


on the way to the East Ridge of Mt. Massive

3-17-15
Democrat (#47) & Cameron (#Unranked) & Lincoln (#48) & Bross (#49) & "South Bross"

Trailhead - Paris Mill winter closure
Route - Standard / Multiple (Class 2)
Miles - 13.5
Gain - 4,750
Time-8:00 Total
People - 0
Notes: The approach was in the fog but it was a beautiful day above the clouds. Had to snowshoe up to the Democrat / Cameron saddle and the ridge was mostly swept clean.


Above the Clouds on Democrat

4-13-15
Pikes Peak (#50) & "Devils Playground Peak" & "Little Pikes"

Trailhead - Crags Campground
Route - NW Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 14.5
Gain - 4,500
Time - Unknown
People -2 but lots of tourists on the summit


on "Little Pikes" Viewing Pikes Peak

5-14-15
Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim

Trailhead - Visitor Center
Route - Rim Trail - S. Kaibab - N. Kaibab - Bright Angel - Rim Trail
Miles - 50
Gain - 11,000
Temperature - 35 to 80 degrees
Time - 17:32 (includes 1:30 waiting out thunderstorms)
Notes: This has nothing to do with climbing peaks and obviously isn't even in the state of Colorado, however it was a unique experience and since I had some huge routes planned for the summer, I needed a legit test piece. The forecast was calling for mostly sunny with below average temperatures in the canyon, which is good because it's normally 100+ degrees this time of year, so I made the 10 hour drive from CO Springs to the South rim of the Grand Canyon AZ. I laid down for a few hours and at 3:30am woke up to thunderstorms. I checked my phone and saw that the weather forecast had changed to 70% chance of storms afternoon but it looked like the early morning rain would pull off in the next hour or so. So at 5am, I was finally able to get started and proceeded down into the canyon dropping about 4,800 ft. via the S. Kaibab trail with total uncertainty of the weather. Clouds were building and when I reached the Cottonwood campground, I could see that there was now a 100% chance I would be caught in a thunderstorm. Luckily, I was able to take shelter when the worst of the storm hit with lots of pea size hail and very nearby lightning. They say to get down in a ditch when you are caught in a lightning storm and here I am in the biggest ditch in the world and I watched lightning hit the bottom of the canyon several times. After about an hour the rain stopped, and I was able to get started up the North rim on the now very wet trail. But just 30 mins later, another wave of heavy rain came through that I had to wait out. When I reached the top of the N. Rim the temperature had dropped considerably and the leg cramps started to kick in. I guess I should have mentioned that the longest route I had done previous to this one was the 4 pass loop that was mentioned earlier in this report, and is only about half the length of this one. Getting to the top of N. Rim was the almost halfway mark, and since I planned to take the longer but more gradual bright angel trail back up to south rim, it was still about 28 miles back to car from this point, so let the slogging begin. I ran out of daylight about halfway up the bright Angel trail and finally made it back to the car at 10:30pm!


Ascending the Bright Angel Trail Viewing the Colorado River

6-7-15
Mt. Ouray (#51)

Trailhead - Grays
Route - Devils Armchair Loop
Miles - 8.5
Gain - 4,300
Start - 7:40am Summit-10:20am End-12:30pm Total-4:50
People - 0


Circling the Devils Armchair

6-8-15
"Lackawanna" (#52)

Trailhead - Upper Lake Creek
Route - South Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 3.5
Gain - 3,460
Start - 11:30am Summit-1:35pm End -3:20pm Total - 3:50
Notes: At 6:40am I actually attempted the North Ridge route. I waded through deep water to cross the creek and snowshoed up to the old cabins and had to turn around due to wet slide avalanche danger and difficult route finding. I couldn't believe I was defeated, as I have done around 150+ peaks without having to turn around. But wait........as I was driving back on independence pass, I was able to locate the South Slopes route, and it looked completely dry! The weather was still bluebird, so I threw on my hiking shoes and lightweight pack and hustled up to the summit.


"Lackawanna" Summit View

6-9-15
Huron Peak (#53)

Trailhead - Winfield
Route - NW Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 10.75
Gain - 3,800
Time -7:00 Total
People - 0
Notes: Well I had read about it, but never experienced what people had described brutal post holing, and I now know what it is. The snow was horribly rotten and many times when I would take a step with snowshoes on, I would sink down to my waist and have to crawl out just to be able to stand up again. The snow cover in the upper basin was amazing for this time of year.


Breaking Tree line Ascending Huron Peak

6-16-15
Cronin Peak (#54)

Trailhead - Baldwin Gulch
Route - North Ridge (Class 2)
Miles - 12
Gain - 4,450
Time - Unknown
People - 0
Notes: This was a very interesting weather day as I checked the weather around 4am before I even left the house. The forecast said it would be sunny morning with typical after noon storms and I got completely the opposite. Around 9:30am I ended up having to wait out the thunderstorms for around 2 hours at 11,500 near tree line.


Coming Down from the Summit of Cronin Peak

6-17-15
"Phoenix Peak" (#55)

Trailhead - Phoenix Park Mill Site at 9,700
Route - South Slopes (Class 1)
Miles - 12
Gain - 4,600
Time - Unknown
People - 0
Notes: Great hike up gradual slopes in total solitude


Ascending the slopes of "Phoenix Peak"

6-18-15
California Peak (#56) & PT 13,577 & PT 13,660 A (#107)

Trailhead - Zapata Falls
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 13
Gain - 6,000
People - 0 but a lot of tourists at the falls
Start -5:30am California-8:35am PT 13,577-9:20am PT 13,660-9:50am End-12:45pm Total-7:15
Notes: Fun ridge traverse over to PT 13,660 A


PT 13,660 Summit Viewing the Blanca Group

6-23-15
Mt of the Holy Cross (#57) & Notch Mountain & PT 13,248 & Holy Cross Ridge (#58)

Trailhead - Half Moon
Route - Halo Ridge (Class 2+)
Miles - 12
Gain - 5,800
Start - 6:00am Notch-830am PT 13,248-9:05am Ridge-10:45am Holy Cross-11:20am
End-2:30pm Total-8:30
People - 2 on HC standard route 0 on others
Notes: The Halo Ridge is an amazing 14er route that crosses over 3 13ers along the way. This is the route that allows you to actually see the cross couloir. The route finding on Notch Mountain can be a little tricky.


Notch Mountain Summit Viewing the Halo Ridge

6-28-15
Cathedral Peak A (#59)

Trailhead - Cathedral Lake
Route - South Ridge (Class 3)
Miles - 9
Gain - 4,063
Start-3:15am Summit-6:40am End-Unknown
People - 2 but lots at the lake
Notes: This was my first couloir climb and I bought my first pair of crampons specifically for this route.
The couloir is described as a nightmare of loose rocks in late summer without snow so it really seemed best to climb it with snow to lock it down. The route consists of a 500 steep snow climb and then a short ridge scramble to the summit. I got to the base of the couloir at first light and the snow was near bullet proof so kicking steps in was difficult and time consuming. The views at the top are some of the best in the business. When I went to descend the couloir, the sun was shining directly on it but the snow was still really solid and the only way I felt comfortable was to front point all the way down. When I got back down to the base of the couloir there were 2 other climbers heading up and since I had nothing to do for the rest of the day, I decided to hang out at the lake and enjoy the view for a while.


Cathedral Lake and Cathedral Peak


Cathedral Peak Summit View

6-29-15
Castle Peak (#60) & Conundrum Peak (#Unranked)

Trailhead - Castle Creek
Route - NE Ridge
Miles - 12.5
Gain - 4,800
Start-4:00am Castle-7:35am Conundrum-8:05am End-11:15am Total-7:15
People - 0
Notes: Started at the bottom of the road in the 1st dispersed camping area. It was really awesome to be up in Montezuma basin with so much snow. The easy snow climbing was excellent up to the standard trail on Castle Peak, then over to Conundrum and I got a really long glissade down to pond, and got a few more down to the road. These are 14ers and the road is also known for 4 wheeling but somehow had the entire place to myself.


Castle Peak Summit Viewing Montezuma Basin and Conundrum Peak

7-2-15
Handies Peak (#61)

Trailhead - Lower American Basin
Route - SW Slopes (Class 1)
Miles - 7.5
Gain - 2,800
Start-7:30am Summit-9:15am End-11:00am Total-3:30
People - 12+
Notes: Woke up to thunderstorms that went on through the night and was able to squeeze in this peak during a break in between storms.


American Basin

7-3-15
PT 13,811 (#62) & PT 13,832 (#63) & RedCloud Peak (#64) & Sunshine Peak (#65)

Trailhead - Silver Creek / Grizzly Gulch
Route - Multiple (Class 2)
Miles - 16
Gain - 6,500
Start-4:10am PT 13,811-7:05am PT 13,832-7:50am RedCloud-8:40am Sunshine-9:15am
End-11:40 Total-6:30
People - 40+ on RC and Sun, 0 on others
Notes: PTs 13,811 & 13,832 sure are way out there. Returned back over RedCloud


near the summit of PT 13,811 Viewing 13,832 Redcloud and Sunshine

7-4-15
Half Peak (#66) & PT 13,164

Trailhead - Cataract Gulch
Route - South Ridge via Cataract Gulch / Cuba Gulch descent / road (Class 2)
Miles - 14.5
Gain - 4,540
Time: Unknown
People - 0
Notes: Wet and soggy approach was slow moving. I didn't have much luck finding a good route through the willows in Cuba Gulch.


on the South Ridge of Half Peak

7-10-15
Rio Grande Pyramid (#67)

Trailhead - 30 mile campground
Route - East Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 22
Gain - 4,500
Start-5:10am Summit-10:20am End-2:30pm Total-8:20
People - 0
Notes: I took the standard route up as described by Roach but took the longer descent on the way out as it had a much more defined trail. You never know what you will find on the mountain, as there were 2 jackets and a sweatshirt around 13,500 in route to the summit. One of the jackets still had the REI price tag on it and another one of the jackets had a pair of women's underwear in the pocket. I still wonder what the explanation is on why this clothing would have been left s high up on the mountain.


approaching the Rio Grande Pyramid

7-11-15
Wetterhorn Peak (#68) & Uncompaghre Peak (#69
)
Trailhead - Matterhorn Creek
Route - Multiple (Class 3)
Miles - 18
Gain - 6,000
Start-4:25am Wetterhorn-7:15am Uncompaghre-11:55am End-2:50pm Total-9:25
People - 15+
Notes: This was an interesting day of weather. After summiting Wetterhorn in great weather I pushed on across the basin to Uncompaghre. At 10:20am when I was at 13,800 nearing the summit, a blizzard blew in. There about 10-15 other people on the mountain that all turned back. So I followed along. It was really hard to accept defeat considering I had successfully summited over 150 times without failure. But.........at 11:10am when I had descended down to 13,000 ft, the storm cleared. I turned back towards the summit and reached the top at 11:55am in perfect weather.


Wetterhorn and Matterhorn

7-17-15
Culebra Peak (#70) & Red Mountain A (#71) & Vermejo Peak (#108)

Trailhead - Below 4 way at 10,900
Route - Northwest Ridge (Class 2)
Miles - 13
Gain - 6,250
Start - 6:45am Culebra-8:40am Red-9:40am Vermejo-10:30am End-2:10pm
Total-7:25
People - 18 on Culebra 0 on others
Notes: This is the only route that requires purchasing an advance permit for $150 as these peaks sit on the privately owned Cielo Vista Ranch. The group size is limited to 25 but I believe only 18 showed on this a day according to the sign in sheet. I started lower than everyone to be able to get the 3K elevation gain. I ascended the shortest line to the ridge and was the first person on the summit of Culebra. I worked my way over to Red Mountain and figured I might as well squeeze in Vermejo while I'm up here and really get my monies worth. Vermejo sure did add a lot to the hike because the only reasonable way back is to retrace your steps over Red and Culebra and I was one of the last people to leave the ranch.


Vermejo Peak Summit Viewing Red Mountain and Culebra Peak

7-18-15
San Luis Peak (#72) & Baldy Alto (#109) & Stewart Peak (#73)

Trailhead - Eddisville
Route - San Luis NE Ridge Traverse to Stewart over Baldy, Descend Nutras Creek, road to TH (Class 2)
Miles - 17
Gain - 6,250
Start-5:00am San Luis-7:40am Baldy Alto-8:40am Stewart-9:35am End-12:10pm
Total - 7:10
People - 2 on San Luis 0 on others
Notes: Fun and fairly easy route with gradual slopes


on the Descent of Stewart Peak Viewing Baldy Alto and San Luis

7-23-15
Pigeon Peak (#74) & Turret Peak (#75)

Trailhead - Purgatory
Route-Standard (Class 4)
Miles-29
Gain-10,000
Start-12:35am Pigeon-8:55am Turret-11:30am End-7:15pm Total-18:40
GPX Credit - 14ers.com user KTC88
People -2
Notes: This was one of those routes that had a 2 page description just to approach these peaks. I left Colorado Springs around 6pm and arrived at the Purgatory TH around midnight, geared up and got started on the trail at 12:35am. This was my first time doing the Purgatory approach and I crossed the needle creek bridge at 3:35am exactly the time I was planning. Filtered some water and started up the Ruby Creek Trail. When I got to the point where you leave the trail and begin to bushwhack up the N. Pigeon creek drainage, there was light on the horizon. Perfect timing, I was right where I wanted to be. The bushwhack wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but it was certainly no picnic and I was glad to be following a GPX file for this one. On Pigeon's upper slope, snow was blocking the easiest route up, and since I had no snow gear, a few difficult moves were required to get past this area. I did have a scary moment, on the descent when I was facing out down climbing one of the difficult sections and my trekking pole caught the rock and I fell about 4-5 feet onto a ledge but the damage was nothing more than a few scratches on my hand. When I had got down to around 13K I spotted a party of 2 which were the first people I had seen all day. I worked my way over to Turret and then slogged all the way back to the TH.


Pigeon Peak


Turret Peak Summit View

7-24-15
Jones Mountain A (#76)

Trailhead - Grouse / Burns at 10,720
Route - Northeast Ridge ascent, South Ridge descent (Class 2)
Miles - 7
Gain - 3,150
Time - Unknown
People - 0
Notes: I originally planned on doing the "American Pie" but I woke up to steady light rain, and the rain continued the entire day. I had to just settle for Jones as a standalone, and I walked right over the summit as there was no fun to be had on this mountain.


Jones Mountain Summit View in the Rain

7-28-15
"Thunder Pyramid" (#77)

Trailhead - Maroon Lake
Route - West Face (Class 3)
Miles - 10.5
Gain - 4,450
Time - Unknown
People - 0
GPX Credit - 14ers.com user USAKeller
Notes: This mountain is loose, and that's being generous. 2 steps forward, 1 step back. While I don't know how long this climb took I'm pretty sure the descent took much longer than the ascent due to loose terrain. The summit has the best view of the bells.


"Thunder Pyramid" Summit Viewing the Maroon Bells


"Thunder Pyramid" Summit Viewing Pyramid Peak

7-29-15
Pyramid Peak (#78)

Trail head - Maroon Lake
Route - Northeast Ridge (Class 4)
Miles - 8.25
Gain - 4,500
Start -4:30am Summit-8:05am End-11:10am Total-6:40
People - 9
Notes: One of the best 14er routes around. Both times I have climbed this mountain it is class 4 going up but class 3 coming down.


Where the Climbing Begins on Pyramid Peak

8-5-15
Mt Eolus (#79) & N. Eolus (#Unranked)

Trailhead - Purgatory
Route - Northeast Ridge (Class 3)
Miles- 35.5
Gain - 8,800
Start-Midnight N. Eolus-8:00am Eolus-8:30am End-5:15pm Total-17:15
People - 10+
I left Colorado Springs around 5:00pm and arrived at the trailhead around 11:30pm, geared up and got started on the trail at midnight. This route was supposed to be everything I had trained for, as I planned to make a run to cover all 5 Chicago Basin peaks, but my body had other plans. After reaching the Needle Creek bridge approximately 9 miles in, I could already feel that my body felt tired and sluggish, and this was only the beginning. I pushed up the Needle Creek trail but when I got to around 11K, I felt like I had to rest, something I never do on the approach. So I took a break for about 30 mins, and tried to recover. The sun had started to come up and I got moving again. When I reached the Summit of Eolus I started to feel like I had a bit more energy, but when I started descending I immediately started to feel sick. I got down to Twin Lakes, I laid down and tried to recover, but when I threw up, it was game over. I was super bummed knowing that I had no choice but to return back to the car.


the "Catwalk" on Mt Eolus

8-9-15
Kit Carson (#80) & Challenger Point (#81)

Trailhead - Willow Creek
Route - North Ridge Kit Carson (Class 4) / North Slope descent off Challenger (Class 2+)
Miles - 12.5
Gain - 5,765
Start-4:40am Summit-9:35am Challenger-10:00am End-1:00pm Total-8:20
People - 10+
Notes: The Kit Carson N. Ridge has got to be one of the best routes within the 14ers with mostly sustained 3rd class climbing with an occasional 4th class move and good exposure.


Excellent Scrambling on the North Ridge of Kit Carson


Willow Lake

8-14-15
Capitol Peak (#82) & "K2"

Trailhead - Capitol Creek
Route - Northeast Ridge (Class 4)
Miles - 17
Gain - 5,500
Start-4:00am Summit-8:50am End-1:50pm Total-9:50
People - 10+
Notes: I can't believe it....I littered on the mountain. When I got back down to the creek to fill up on water, I noticed that my little bag with my water filter was gone and I have no idea where I lost it. It sure was a thirsty walk back to the car. Took the capitol ditch trail approach and brought back the creek trail which adds a little elevation gain on the return trip.


Pierre Lakes Basin


on the NE Ridge of Capitol Peak

8-15-15
Hagerman Peak (#83)

Trailhead - Marble at 8,000
Route - SW Ridge (Class 3)
Miles -17.5
Gain - 6,400
Time - Unknown
People - 0
Notes: My Jeep Compass was defeated by both the Lower road to Crystal and the upper road to Lead King so I had no choice but to start from a small public parking area in Marble. I walked the lower road into the town of Crystal up to the Lead King TH. The climb up the SW ridge was fun and should be a classic. I descended the same route. This is really remote peak if you don't have a high clearance vehicle and I gladly accepted a ride back to Marble from the Lead King TH.


The SW ridge on Hagerman

8-16-15
Snowmass Mountain (#84)

Trailhead - Snowmass Creek
Route - East Slope (Class 3)
Miles - 22
Gain - 5,800
Start-5:00am Summit-10:20am End-3:00pm Total-10:00
People - 10 but a lot more at the lake
Notes: I originally planned for a 4am start, but that's when the rain started so I held off till 5am but the on and off rain really slowed the approach. I really wanted to get this done in 10 hours so I was running the last few miles.


Snowmass Mountain Summit Viewing Geneva Lake

8-24-15
El Diente Peak (#Unranked) & Mt Wilson (#85) & Gladstone (#86) & Wilson Peak (#87)

Trailhead - Killpacker
Route - Multiple (class 4)
Miles - 22
Gain - 8,500
Start-3:50am El Diente-7:25am Mt. Wilson-9:10am Gladstone-11:25am
Wilson Peak-2:30pm End-7:10pm Total-15:20
People - 0 on Gladstone around 10+ on others
Notes: The S. Slope route up El Diente is mostly solid and should be the standard route in my opinion. The traverse between El Diente and Mt. Wilson is one of the 4 great traverses and is the easiest of the 4. After summiting Mt. Wilson and descending down to 12,400 in Navajo Basin I ascended what I believe to be the easiest couloir to the saddle of Wilson Peak and Gladstone and continued up the N. Ridge of Gladstone to the summit. The N. Ridge on Gladstone didn't seem to be quite as bad as described but most of the time I stayed just below ridge proper. On the return, I attempted to stay ridge proper all the way over to Wilson Peak but felt that the ridge at one point was getting too time consuming so I bailed off into Navajo Basin without losing too much elevation gain and connected the trail up to the Rock of Ages saddle to the summit of Wilson Peak. I then descended the same route into Navajo basin and took the Killpacker connector trail back to the TH, but about a mile before reaching my car, I heard a ruckus in the woods and it was 2 bears! At this time I had done nearly 200 summits over 13k and this was the first time I have ever seen bears while hiking.


Wilson Peak Summit Viewing Gladstone and Mt. Wilson

8-25-15
Teakettle Mountain (#88)

Trailhead - Junction Governor / Yankee Boy at 10,700
Route - SE Ridge (Class 5.3)
Miles - 4.5
Gain - 3,200
Start-7:00am Summit-9:45am End-11:30am Total-4:30
People - 0
GPX Credit - 14ers.com user SnowAlien
Notes: I guess I should have compared the GPX file I was following to the route description as this was not the approach I was planning on. However in the end it was a route in the Roach book and it did work. At around 12,300 I was ascending one of the worst scree gullies ever that looked nothing like the pictures in the route descriptions I had originally researched, and where is the Black Gully? Here I had reached the top of the black gully without even realizing it. Since this was a fairly short approach, I had lugged up a 60 meter rope, harness, and necessary rappelling gear which added an extra 12 pounds to my pack. When I reached the summit tower I threw on my rock shoes and climbed up to the summit. This was a huge relief, as I had now tackled one of the 3 peaks that required technical climbing. The summit tower is fairly short (30-40) feet so a quick rappel and I was on my way down. The weather was completely bluebird, but just 30 mins later it began to hail as I was exiting the Black Gully and then I was able to scree ski down the super loose gully.

Thoughts on difficulty: Out of the Big 3 (Dallas, Teakettle, Jagged) I felt that the move inside the chimney (Class 5.3) on Teakettle was the hardest move required on any of these mountains. I actually hesitated for a couple mins looking for a larger hand or foot holds but was unable to find anything. But it's only one move, not too exposed and the summit is just feet away. Climbing shoes were a big help.


why it's called Teakettle Mountain


Teakettle Summit - Yes I am wearing sock liners in my climbing shoes

8-26-15
Mt Sneffels (#89)

Trailhead - Junction Governor / Yankee Boy at 10,700
Route - South Slopes (Class 2+)
Miles - 7.5
Gain - 3,450
Start-6:05am Summit-8:10am End-9:55am Total-3:50
People - 0 but there were 2 groups (1 from IA) that were getting started once I got back to upper TH
Notes: My second time on this mountain with threatening weather so I took the standard route rather than the SW ridge I was planning.


in the upper Couloir on Mt. Sneffels

8-27-15
Via Ferrata in Telluride CO

Trailhead - Lower Parking area
Time - 1:50 Total
Notes: This isn't even a peak but was a cool experience. This was a forced rest day due to weather and I was able to squeeze in this short climb / hike in between rain showers. I walked up the road past the falls to the 3rd switchback and headed up to the Via Ferrata. The route is basically a short exposed hike/traverse across a cliff band. There is a line that is anchored to the cliff that you can anchor yourself to if needed when traversing the exposed sections where a fall would most likely be fatal. None of the moves are difficult and probably do not exceed class 3. I was a little disappointed as I thought the exposed traversing areas would be longer. When I reached the end of the cliff band there was a nice trail that took me straight back down to my car.


Excellent Exposure on the Via Ferrata

8-28-15
Dallas Peak (#90)

Trailhead - Mill Creek
Route - East Face (Class 5.3)
Miles - 9.5
Gain - 4,589
Start-4:10am Summit-9:10am End-12:50pm Total-8:40
People - 0
GPX Credit - 14ers.com forum user SnowAlien
Notes: It rained overnight and I was concerned from the start that the north face would be too wet to climb but the weather was supposed to be excellent all day. I did not take the "Stan's Shortcut" nor did I even bother looking for it. The route finding up to the summit tower went fairly smooth and soon I was at the small gully that leads to the North face. Roach wasn't kidding about the cold feeling of the north face. As soon I stepped around to the summit pitch, I immediately began to shiver, but the great news was that the north face was dry! I put on my climbing shoes and climbed straight up the face and within a few seconds I was above the most difficult crux (Class 5.3). A fall in this area would most likely be fatal as the exposure level is very high. There were just a few more moves that were not nearly as exposed to reach the top. I never planned on down climbing the summit tower, I had lugged up a 60 meter rope, harness, and necessary rappelling gear which added an extra 12 pounds to my pack. Most of the rappel was free fall so it was very exciting. When I got back to the TH, a guy was leaving the water treatment facility asked, "How did it go?" I said, "Great" He said, "Did you take Stan's shortcut" I said, "No." He said, "I'm Stan by the way" So we got to chat for a while.....

Thoughts on difficulty: Out of the Big 3 (Dallas, Teakettle, Jagged) I felt that Dallas had the most sustained climbing. For the summit tower, most climbers start left in a dihedral like feature. The rock was wet in this area and the move looked awkward. When I took a second look at the face, all I could see were little steps going straight up, but more exposed. I believe the climbing shoes really helped for this area. Above this area the exposer level went way down and the difficulty never exceeded 5.0


Approaching Dallas


Long rappel off the summit tower

8-29-15
Jagged Mountain (#91)

Trailhead - Vallecito
Route - North Face (Class 5.2)
Miles - 35
Gain - 6,500
Start-1:30am Summit-10:20am End-7:30pm Total-18:00
People - 2
GPX Credit - 14ers.com user Warg
Notes: This is the BEST Mountain on the list and probably the most difficult overall when you include the mileage elevation gain and class difficulty. I was expecting to bush whack up the sunlight creek drainage, but I was surprised to find a faint or solid trail. When I reached the top of the drainage around 8am I could see that the Chicago Basin peaks were socked in with clouds and I was starting to think that I may have just done this huge approach for nothing because any weather that goes through Chicago basin usually hits Jagged shortly after, but I pushed on. When I reached the base of the 1st crux I saw two backpacks in which one had a marmot rummaging through one of them. The route finding went rather smooth and when I entered the notch, I could see the other 2 climbers were just a few feet from the summit. We chatted on the summit for a few mins and I took off before them.

Thoughts on difficulty: Out of the Big 3 (Dallas, Teakettle, Jagged) Jagged has the most climbing of them all but the climbing was the easiest. I was really nervous all summer about attempting this peak and was concerned about being able to down climb all of the cruxes. So I put together a lite weight rappel system with 70 ft of Cord and some webbing to make a harness just in case I needed to do an emergency rappel because carrying a full rope and rappelling gear just wasn't an option due to the long approach. I even brought along my rock shoes. It turned out that the extra gear was all dead weight as I used none of these items and was able to ascend and descend in my normal hiking shoes. For some reason, I actually felt that the down climbing was easier than the up climb. The first crux (rated 4th class) I thought was the most difficult of the 3 cruxes on the North Face. I avoided the slab by doing a more difficult move to the right of this area. The exposure level goes way up on south face once you pass through the notch. Overall, most of the moves I made on this mountain involved lots of stemming.


Jagged Mountain when approached from the Sunlight Drainage


Jagged Summit View

9-6-15
Jupiter Mountain (#92) & Windom Peak (#93) & Sunlight Peak (#94)

Trailhead - Purgatory
Route - Multiple (Class 4)
Miles - 36
Gain - 10,700
People - 0 on Jupiter, 15+ on Windom and Sunlight
GPX Credit - 14ers.com user SnowAlien
Start-1:40am Jupiter-9:10am Windom-11:15am Sunlight-12:25pm End-9:00pm
Total-19:20
Notes: Well I knew that this would be the longest day of them all, and it was. I left Colorado Springs around 4pm as I planned to lie down for a couple hours before starting. It rained heavily the evening before and I wasn't looking forward to the wet approach. The only solution I could come up with was to bring 3 pairs of socks and wear gaiters and try to stay as dry as possible while making my way through the thick vegetation. I made the approach a little faster this time, and took the standard route up Jupiter. I then descended directly off the summit what I believe to be "Europa", and made quick work up to the Windom ridge. After summiting Windom I descended a little ways down the ridge and dropped down a loose couloir and joined the standard route of Sunlight. So I have to admit that the first time I summited Sunlight I chickened out on the summit block and wanted redemption this time around. The summit block consists of scrambling up steep slab to a gap called the "Leap of Faith" and then a quick move to sit on the highest point with near maximum exposure as a fall to climbers left would result in serious injury and a fall to the right would most likely be fatal. On the way up the "Leap of Faith" didn't seem like too far of a gap, but on the way down the gap seemed so much bigger. I paused for a few seconds and then made the leap, and what a relief it was when I stuck the landing. When I made it back down to the basin, I was completely exhausted, so I slow walked all the way back to Purgatory.


Jupiter Mountain Summit Viewing Windom and Sunlight Peak


the "Leap of Faith" on the Sunlight Summit Block

9-8-15
Vestal Peak (#95)

Trailhead - Molas Pass
Route - South Face (Class 2+)
Miles - 19.5
Gain - 6,925
Start-4:20am Summit-10:25am End-4:00pm Total-11:40
People - 0
Notes: I felt the crux was getting up to the Vestal /Arrow saddle as the slope is super loose. The rest of the route was rather straight forward and had many cairns that avoided the loose gully that Roach describes.


Vestal in the upper basin

9-9-15
Vermillion Peak (#96) & Fuller Peak

Trailhead - South Mineral
Route - SE Ridge (Class 2+)
Miles - 10.5
Gain - 4,330
Start-7:15am Vermillion-10:30am Fuller-11:00am End-1:10pm Total-5:55
People - 0- but lots in the basin
Notes: Ice lakes basin is a really amazing place


Vermillion Summit View

Finishing the 14ers for a second time and completing the Centennials in the same day!
I never planned it for it to end this way. I had just 4 peaks to go (Meeker, Edwards, Oklahoma, and Harvard) and two days completely open with a clear weather forecast. The days were on a Friday and Saturday and there was no way I was going to the Longs peak trailhead on a Saturday due to overcrowding so I had no choice but to start with Meeker on Friday, so the story goes a little something like this......

9-11-15
Mt. Meeker (#97) & Meeker Ridge & "Southeast Longs"

Trailhead - Longs Peak
Route - Iron Gates ascent, Loft descent (Class 3)
Miles - 12
Gain - 5,150
Start-7:00am Meeker-10:20am SE Longs-11:30am End-2:15pm Total-7:15
People - 2
Notes: The knife edge on Meeker Ridge is just about as exposed as the Capitol Peak knife edge. When I reached the summit there was a party of 2 that was coming up from the loft side. I can't remember the name but for 1 of them it was his centennial finisher. The drive to Argentine pass TH took forever as traffic was backed up on i-70.


The "Iron Gates"


The Knife Edge on Meeker Ridge

9-11-15
Mt. Edwards (#98)

Trailhead - Lower Argentine Pass at 10,800
Route - Southwest Ridge (Class 2)
Miles - 10
Gain - 3,100
Start-5:50pm Summit-7:35pm End-9:15pm Total-3:25
People - 0
Notes: Starting this late I knew it would be long dark before I got down so I really made a push to get up there by sunset. Evening summits are the best as the lighting is amazing. I then drove to Halfmoon rd. and got some sleep.


Sunset over Grays and Torreys on Mt. Edwards

THE BIG CENTENNIAL FINISH!
9-12-15
Mt. Oklahoma (#99)

Trailhead - Lower N. Halfmoon creek at 10,240
Route - Southeast Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 8
Gain - 3,605
Start-6:50am Summit-9:40am End-11:55am Total-5:05
People - 2
Notes: I had passed a party of two early on the hike and by the time I reached the summit I could see that they were about 45 mins behind so I actually had the summit to myself. There was NO summit party, no summit dance, no alcohol, no cookies, no banner, and no costume party. After just a few minutes I headed down as I wanted to get to the N. Cottonwood Creek Trailhead as quickly as possible and hopefully get up and down Harvard before dark.


Summit Register on Mt. Oklahoma

The BIG 2X 14er FINISHER!
9-12-15
Mt Harvard (#100)

Trailhead - N. Cottonwood creek
Route - South Slopes (Class 2)
Miles - 14
Gain - 4,600
Start-2:00pm Summit-5:20pm End-7:50pm Total-5:50
People - dozens coming down but 0 on the mountain
Notes: Starting this late in the day, I ran into lots of people coming down as this is a rather popular mountain on a Saturday, but I knew that I would most likely have the summit to myself. And I did, and once again there was no summit party, no summit dance, no alcohol, no cookies, no banner, and no costume party, however since I didn't have a picture of myself completing the 14ers for the 1st time I decided to take a selfie, something I never do. As I was descending just about 100 ft. below the summit, I heard what I thought was a prolonged explosion; it was a fighter jet that flew by. The sound was so loud that it literally scared the daylights out of me. Speaking of daylight, I knew that there wasn't much left so I pushed as quickly as I could down the mountain.



Fun Facts
Timespan it took to complete all peaks - 20 Months
Total mileage - 938 miles
Total Elevation Gain - 363,582 ft.
Most Difficult peak overall - Jagged
Most Difficult Peak by technical move - Teakettle
Most Difficult Traverse - Maroon
Failed Attempts - Zero
Favorite Peak - Jagged
Favorite Route - Little Bear NW face traverse to Blanca traverse to Ellingwood Point Descend SW Ridge
Most Boring Peak - Dyer Mountain via Iowa Gulch
Best Range - San Juans
Worst Range - 10 mile / Mosquito
Earliest start time - Midnight Eolus's
Latest Start time - 5:50pm Mt Edwards
Earliest Summit time - 6:30am Cathedral Peak
Latest Summit time - 9:15pm Mt Edwards
Longest Day - 19 hours 20 mins Jupiter/Windom/Sunlight via Purgatory TH
Shortest Day - 1 hours 35 mins Dyer Mountain
Longest walk in the dark - 6 hours Eolus's
Biggest week - (9/6/15 - 9/12/15) 100 miles with 35,310 elevation gain
Bear encounters (1) Killpacker Trail
Famous people met (4) - Andrew Hamilton /Alana Arnette / Stan of "Stans shortcut" / Dave Landers

Achieving Goals & Steps to Success
I don't know it all, but I do want to share a few things I have learned along the way. If you go back to the beginning of this report I mention that "We all start somewhere" and I probably started right where everyone else starts, unprepared, ignorant, and out of shape. It's amazing how the mountains can really change you. Most people probably wouldn't believe that I made it through the entire 14er list as well as the centennials without a single failed summit attempt. I believe luck was the biggest factor in this. Of course I had to wait out a few storms, change my plans on the spot, summit in the rain, and even had a restart. I certainly had a few failures in the past, and it's OK to turn around. I have learned that it really comes down to 2 things; proper planning, and speed. Without proper planning and carefully studying the route, a good weather forecast, and the right gear, you just can't get to where you want to go. And without speed, you can't get to where you want to go fast enough. Luckily, I have been very fortunate to have a lot of flexibility in my schedule so I can base my plans around the weather and make last minute changes. I strongly recommend starting at the bottom and work your way up adding miles, elevation gain and class difficulty. Study the routes and just when you think you know it, study it again. Look at lots of trip reports especially for complicated routes and be prepared with the right gear. The information available on these mountains is practically endless. Something I like to do is break down the route and figure out how long each section will take me so I can better estimate my total time. I really like to push the approach as quickly as possible, take my time ascending and descending the more difficult sections of the mountain, and then slog back to the trailhead taking a few breaks along the way.

10-1-15
The UNOFFICIAL Pikes Peak Marathon

Trailhead - Barr
Route - East Slopes
Miles - 24
Gain - 7,400
Time - 3:47/Ascent 6:14/Total
Notes: It has been a tradition of mine to do what I like to call "The Unofficial Pikes Peak Marathon" and attempt to improve my time which I have done for 5 years running. I'm not into crowds and I will probably never sign up for the official race that happens every year. I know that the official marathon starts at Memorial Park which adds a little over 2 miles to the course to actually make it a marathon, but I like to just keep it simple and just start the clock at the Barr TH. In 2014, I pushed myself up and down with a total time of 6:57 and I really didn't think I would ever be able to improve my time all that much as I felt I had pretty much reached my limit. But this year was different; I had way more peaks and longer routes under my belt. I really like to challenge myself and was very happy with the end result.

A Special Thanks to
My two children who put up with me being gone all the time. My parents for helping with the kids. Dave, my climbing partner who has taken me up about 100 multi pitch climbing routes and Bill Middlebrook, who has created the most amazing and educational mountaineering website ever. 14ers.com members who actually post useful information.

Conclusion and what's next?
This has certainly been a fun ride. I would also like to add stressful, cold, hot, nerve racking, intimidating, long, tiring, exhausting, restless, lonely, painful, and frightening. I think it would have been a better experience had I not rushed through the list and taken the time to enjoy it more, but I had a goal and I just couldn't get it out of my head. I have already started working on the Bi-Centennials but have no time frame for completion and I highly doubt I will complete them in the same fashion. It would be great to actually start climbing with people and pick up a few new skills along the way. I would also like to knock out as many winter 14ers as possible.

This report is continued with SOLO Day Hiking the HIGH 200 or here https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=19173

Live the Dream...

Preston Dennis



 Comments or Questions
Hoot

Get a tent!
10/10/2015 08:27
Seriously, congrats on an incredible accomplishment and a fantastic post!


thatmushroom
Dang
10/10/2015 09:10
It’s not quite a novel, but that’s the longest "trip" report I think I’ve ever seen. A tip of the hat to your family for putting up with it .

Congrats! What a way to climb!


youngk2844

Amazing Story
10/10/2015 10:20
Great photos and well written. Congratulations on achieving your goals. Hey, I wear sock liners with my rock shoes too.


k-berger
Awesome!
10/10/2015 10:50
Very impressive, thank you for sharing!


crazymarmot

Master of Solitude
10/10/2015 13:16
Great job! Seriously impressed by your day trips up the Sunlight Drainage and Chicago Basin.


cbrobin

Incredible
10/10/2015 17:12
Your pace is amazing. If you come to the Fourteener Happy Hours I can introduce you to someone that can keep up with you.


SnowAlien

Awesome job!
10/10/2015 18:41
Congrats! I do agree that Jagged is the best peak of all Although all class 5 peaks are super fun. Good luck with your next goals!


Acorn22

Speed
10/10/2015 20:55
Nice job man! Glad you got the cents knocked out and hope you keep going!


dillonsarnelli

20 months?!?!
10/12/2015 07:47
holy crap. This is a great TR! Very well done man and congrats!


TomPierce
Now this is impressive...
10/13/2015 09:46
I really enjoy seeing people push accepted paradigms. Climb all the Centennials as a day climb? Check. Climb them alone (except for the random nearby unassociated climber(s)). Check. Do so without significant injury/epic? Check. Very impressive, Preston, I enjoyed reading this.

–Tom


benners

Impressive Feat
10/14/2015 09:47
Your list of peaks climbed and dates sequence is pretty impressive. You got out there a ton in a very short period of time and hit several Centennials that aren’t often daytripped. Congrats on the Highest 100 and in such a unique fashion to boot!


Jay521

Wow..
10/14/2015 11:35
What an incredible report. We have a couple things in common – I prefer to go solo and I can’t sleep in a tent to save my life, but that is probably about the extent of the commonalities. I doubt I could ever do the big days that you do although your report makes a few peaks seem possible to me that I had pretty much written off.

Thanks so much for posting this and best of luck to you, Preston!


FireOnTheMountain

finisher partys
10/14/2015 16:07
are way overrated. nicely played sir


BostonBD

Amazing report!!
10/14/2015 20:58
WOW Factor Achieved! Excellent photos as well!


jblyth

Great TR
10/15/2015 06:54
Thanks so much for sharing...I really enjoyed your story. Congrats on reaching your goal.


nyker

NICE
10/15/2015 09:36
Cool chronology of events and your climbs. Congrats on the top 100. As for what’s next: do the Adirondack 46ers!


Stratosfearsome

Great Read.
10/17/2015 03:41
Congratulations, Preston. I wish I had your meticulous and very accurate report in my hands years ago. And I think this would make an great slide show presentation at a place like Neptune Mountaineering. To climb is sublime.
–Rob


dannyg23

Day Trip Jagged
10/18/2015 21:43
I just tried day tripping Jagged from Vallecito. Although I came close, I didn’t summit, suffered mightily, and pronounced it impossible. If I heard of somebody having done it, I would’ve said "yeah well they probably don’t have two kids". Guess that excuse is no good now. That is a seriously impressive accomplishment alone, and when combined with the other 99 peaks on here I think you’ve done something very special. Congrats, and good luck with whatever you get into next man.


hop2it

I second the Wow Comments!
10/22/2015 06:09
Very impressive work Preston! Congratulations!


illusion7il

Thank You !
10/22/2015 10:16
I appreciate all the kind words. When I put all this together I honestly know if people would even take the time to skim through it, let alone actually read it due to the length. I also wasn’t sure if I would take any heat for going solo on so many peaks.

Hoot – I have a tent, a backpack, and all necessary gear that sits very nicely in my closet.

Cbrobin & Hop2it – It was great meeting you last night at the Happy Hour.

SnowAlien – I’m not sure if you noticed but I used a couple of your GPX files and gave you credit for them above, and I know I used several of your trip reports to study a few other routes as well. Your contributions to this site are awesome. Keep the Trip Reports coming so I can follow right behind you on the bi–centennials.

Jblyth – According to my records, we met on Mt. Lindsey on 10–20–2012. If I remember correctly it was at the bottom of the standard gully and your partner was just kinda hangin around at the saddle.

Tom Pierce – The only injuries I had to deal with are due to over use. Patellar Tendinitis in Right knee and Achilles Tendinitis in left foot.

Dannyg23 – There is another Trip Report on here from Dadmike called "94 feet" that gave me the inspiration that Jagged could be done in a day.

Thanks Again......

Preston Dennis


Caleb Braun
Inspirational! Thanks
10/26/2015 20:47
Good job man! This is an awesome reference for combining mountains!


nsaladin

I passed you on my way down Harvard on 9/12/2015
05/02/2016 08:46
I passed you on your 2X finisher coming down Harvard, I was with my gf and a tiny dog (may have been in the pack)

Amazing story, congrats on the journey!


mattpayne11

Holy &^%$
08/09/2016 22:52
Damn... this is epic indeed. Well played.


seano
Nice!
02/25/2017 16:14
You are clearly one of the "it-getters" -- camping sucks. May you dayhike many more peaks outside CO.


montanahiker

Inspiring
08/06/2017 14:33
I've read this multiple times as I'm also a solo hiker that doesn't do tents and am working on the Centennials. If I ever finish I hope to get a flyover as well.


SkiColorado93

Just wow!
09/05/2017 13:30
You are an absolute beast. I'm clearly a wimp after reading all of these excursions.

Also, I can see why you said Dyer was your most boring mountain... however, we climbed the Class 4 West Ridge and it was a blast! The descent down the standard route was boring though, and I sprained my ankle twice on the annoying tufts of grass.

Great TR! Mad respect.


strayster2

This TR Has Kept Me Up At Night
09/06/2017 20:02
This trip report is genuinely haunting. At least a dozen of these mountains on their own are things I don't think I could do, much less in one day, and all by myself. I'm 28, and if I could accomplish this by the time I'm 40, I'd feel like I'd lived a good life. You did it in 20 months.

"Mad respect" seems almost a comically inadequate thing to say, but it's the best I can do right now.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.




© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.