Peak(s):  Rinker Pk  -  13,783 feet
Date Posted:  11/01/2015
Modified:  11/02/2015
Date Climbed:   10/31/2015
Author:  Hoot
Additional Members:   Crestoner
 Rinker Peak with a Southwestern Finish   

Rinker Peak (13,783', Colorado # 114)
31 October 2015
Climbers: Dave and me with Kiefer
Trailhead: Willis Gulch
Distance: 11.5 miles
Elevation gain: ~4500'

The last time I climbed with Dave was on Y Couloir in June.  It had been way too long!  We left Colorado Springs at 4:30 am and arrived at the Willis Gulch Trailhead just above Twin Lakes at about 7am.  The sky was just lightening for the latest daylight savings time sunrise of the season.  We started started hiking at 7:23 am crossing the bridge over Lake Creek and following the Willis Gulch trail initially on 2-3 inches of snow.  Dave and I had followed this trail in 2008 and 2009 into Little Willis Gulch to climb Mount Hope.  This morning we turned right into Big Wills Gulch.  The trail into Big Willis Gulch was easy to follow and steadily gained elevation crossing a large boulder field and then winding through willows and more pines.  Hiking on 5-6 inches of soft snow was wonderful. 

As we got higher in the valley, both Dave and I locked our sights on Point 13,302 incorrectly assuming this was Rinker Peak.  I was so sure that this was our target that I didn't bother looking at my GPS as we hiked right past our intended ascent route which was clearly marked on my GPS.  It was not until we had begun climbing the slope leading to Point 13,302 that I looked at my GPS and realized we were headed toward the wrong summit.  As it turned out, our "alternate route" worked out very well.  Instead of taking Point 13,302's east ridge where we had been headed, we veered slightly to the right aiming for the Rinker-Pt13,302 saddle.  We climbed toward the saddle on a moderate slope, mostly on snow.  At about 12,800' we turned toward Rinker and reached the ridge at about 13,400'.  At this point we were briefly in the wind and we put on our jackets and heavier gloves.  But we quickly ducked out of the wind while climbing about 20 more minutes in a low-angle gully to the summit. The big unintended benefit of our southern approach to Rinker's summit is that it largely kept us out of the cold wind blowing from the northwest.

We arrived at Rinker's summit at 12:24 after 5 hours of hiking.  Dave and I were both surprised that the climb took us that long.  Lots of old man jokes ensued but I'm blaming my pace on having run a marathon earlier in the week.  Dave measured the temperature at 27 degrees on the summit with the wind at 17 mph with gusts in the mid-20s. My fingers got very cold as I was only wearing mid-weight gloves with one finger sticking out a hole.  However, with blue skies and new snow, the views were spectacular in all directions.  We had a particularly cool view looking down on La Plata's Ellingwood Ridge to the west.  After about 15 minutes on the summit, we headed down Rinker's east ridge to the Rinker-Twin Peaks saddle fully exposed to the wind.  This was the top of our intended ascent route.  On the way down we plowed through some deeper snow and even got in a short glissade.  After descending a while on snow from the saddle, we joined an obvious trail with many switchbacks.  Had we been looking up this slope on our way in, we'd have seen this fairly obvious route up.  Once back at the valley floor, we cruised down the trail on the soft snow.  We got back to the trailhead at 3:30 pm after a 2 hour and 50 minute descent for a round trip of just over 8 hours.  Dave made excellent time driving back and I was home by 6:15 pm. 

Rinker Peak was my 18th bicentennial peak since 22 August!  It's been an unusually productive couple of months for me as far as climbing goes.  I hope to climb two more before the end of the year, but the coming winter will certainly slow my pace.

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

Nice pics
11/02/2015 15:47
Some really nice pics of a fun mountain!

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