Peak(s):  Pk 10  -  13,633 feet
Crystal Pk A  -  13,852 feet
Pacific Pk  -  13,950 feet
Atlantic Pk  -  13,841 feet
Date Posted:  10/19/2015
Modified:  07/02/2019
Date Climbed:   10/16/2015
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Tenmile Range Peakbagging Rampage  

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Sunrise over Lower Crystal Lake


The forecast for this week was better than I'd normally expect for mid-October and was just too good to pass up. A perfect opportunity to go on a short climbing trip: "Who's with me?" My older son, Randy, only had 12 centennial peaks left after our climbs of Ice Mountain and Apostle North a few weeks ago. I told Randy we could get him down to single digits by going on a peakbagging rampage from Lower Crystal Lake near Breckenridge and asked if he was interested. This trip report tells you his answer to my question.

All photos were taken by Randy Mack (except Nos. 6 and 16), and none were digitally altered or enhanced.
No marmots were punted in the making of this trip report.

Thursday, October 15. After narrowly escaping the afternoon rush hour traffic, Randy and I drove to Blue River (about three miles south of Breckenridge) and headed west up Spruce Creek Road until we reached Lower Crystal Lake. By the time we arrived, it was dark. The previous time I was here (1990), it was possible to drive at least part of the way to Upper Crystal Lake, but the road has since been closed at Lower Crystal Lake. We set up camp, ate dinner, and soon were asleep.

Friday, October 16. We ate a quick breakfast and started hiking up the now-closed jeep road toward Upper Crystal Lake. Much of the road is now a single-track, which was fine with us.

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Father Dyer Peak (13,615') and Crystal Peak (13,852') above Upper Crystal Lake


At about 12,800' on the old jeep road, we were surprised to find a cairn marking a well-used climber's trail that headed west up the slope toward Peak 10. We reached the ridge north of the Peak 10 - Crystal Peak saddle and ascended the ridge to the summit of Peak 10 (13,633').

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Crystal Peak and the Crystal - Peak 10 saddle from our route up Peak 10


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Father Dyer Peak and Upper Crystal Lake from our route up Peak 10. There is an old building at the eastern (left) edge of the lake


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Mt. Helen (13,164') and Father Dyer Peak. Both are subpeaks of Crystal Peak (out of sight to the right)


After 10 minutes, we headed toward the Crystal - Peak 10 saddle and continued southwest along the ridge to the summit of Crystal Peak (13,852'). Winds along the ridge were around 15 - 20 mph, a bit higher than we'd expected from the forecast. No problem, as we were equipped for it...

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Looking east into the morning sun toward Father Dyer Peak from Crystal Peak


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A look back at Peak 10 from Crystal Peak. Peak 9 (13,195') is to the north (left) of Peak 10


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Atlantic Peak (13,841') from Pacific Peak, with Quandary Peak (14,265') at the far left of the photo


The wind had died down a bit by the time we left Crystal Peak and headed southwest along the ridge toward Pacific Peak. From the Crystal - Pacific saddle up Pacific Peak's north ridge to Pacific's summit was the most fun section of the day, though none of it was difficult. Once on the summit of Pacific Peak, we relaxed and enjoyed a much-needed and well-deserved lunch of BLT sandwiches. I think I've discovered my new favorite lunch to eat in the mountains.

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Eddie on the summit of Pacific Peak, with Crystal Peak and Peak 10 visible in the distance


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From Pacific Peak, our next goal (Atlantic Peak) has a snowfield to the left of its south ridge. Quandary Peak is behind the lake near the A-P saddle


Re-energized by lunch, we descended to the Atlantic - Pacific saddle. We saw a climber reach the summit of Atlantic Peak (13,841') from the east, but by the time we arrived there, the climber was gone. The only other climbers we saw all day were on the summit of Quandary Peak.

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Looking back at Pacific Peak from near the Atlantic - Pacific saddle


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The summit of Atlantic Peak is getting closer


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From Atlantic Peak's summit, Pacific Peak, Crystal Peak, Peak 10, and Father Dyer Peak appear to be very far away. Well, they are...


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Eddie on the summit of Atlantic Peak, with Pacific Peak, Crystal Peak, Peak 10, and Father Dyer Peak behind


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Randy on the summit of Atlantic Peak. The tailings ponds of the Climax Molybdenum Mine are visible behind him


Now for the fun part: we have to go past Pacific Peak and Crystal Peak to get back to our campsite.

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A look back at Pacific Peak as we descended its north ridge to the Pacific - Crystal saddle


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Mohawk Lakes and Mayflower Lakes to the east from Pacific Peak's north ridge


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Crystal Peak and Father Dyer Peak (far right) from near the Pacific - Crystal saddle


Rather than reclimb Pacific Peak and Crystal Peak, we bypassed the top 30' or so of Pacific Peak by contouring around its summit to the west, and we contoured around the Crystal Peak's summit to the Crystal - Father Dyer ridge before descending directly toward the road above Upper Crystal Lake. Once at the road, we put our brains on autopilot and cruised back to our campsite, packed up, and drove home.

Today's prizes: three centennial peaks and one bicentennial. That brings Randy to 91/100 centennial peaks, while I have 10 more centennials to go on my second tour of duty. We hope to bag some more peaks before winter arrives.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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