Peak(s):  PT 13,510 A  -  13,510 feet
Date Posted:  04/09/2016
Date Climbed:   04/08/2016
Author:  piper14er
 An Orphans Embrace   

Additional Team Members: Billie Jean

Nearly a year and two months ago we headed down to the Spring Creek Pass area to satisfy a 13er fix we were in need of at the time. I was having issues with some plantar fasciitis and after the third peak it was too painful to attempt the last and farthest peak, 13510A. I should have gutted it out but for some reason the additional 1200-1300 feet of gain seemed to be more than I wanted to take on in, that and in addition to the long hike out.

Well that peak has been on my mind off and on since then, you know how that is. After picking up some AT's at the end of last winter I figured this was a good peak to use them on. There is a groomed trail that follows the Colorado Trail up onto Snow Mesa which helps. Last February was pretty ideal conditions, good snow and sunny. This time around the snow was not so good, hard crusty, dirty snow in the early hours and sugar sink holes on the way out. The weather was okay though, gray skies, mid 30's or so and a bit of sun trying to break through for the trip out. Some snow and then hazy sun for half the way back and then dark gray skies to the car.

I had the day off with a no work day on Friday and so I told the wife it would be a good day to embrace this orphaned peak. I had some obligations over the weekend and so of I went Thursday after work for the 5 1/2 hour drive. Slept in the car and after a short night we were up at 6:30, out by 7:30 for a long day of skiing and hiking. Drove back home after the hike for a 12:30 am return. 11 hours driving and somewhere around 11 hours to nab the peak. My wife thought that sounded like fun.

It was slow going for me with the cruddy snow and the boot up from 12200 to the summit. I am not the greatest skier but I was sure glad to have them crossing those sugar sink holes.

We parked at the Spring Creek Pass lot south of Lake City and past Slumgullion Pass, all the amenities, paved and a restroom. We (Billie Jean and myself) crossed the highway and started skinning up towards the narrow funnel that pops out on Snow Mesa. It was gray skies, brown and crusty snow.

The funnel.

Baldy es no Cinco

Once up on the Mesa it is ski, ski, ski past the first three peaks.

The Colorado Trail with no snow part way across the Mesa.

We made our way past this ridge that drops down off of 13162. In retrospect, and I did give some consideration to going this way, this may be the better route when there is snow.

We made it to this point after a number of ups and downs across the Mesa. There is a trail that heads past this signboard, Trail 787 as I recall. It skirts across and below the rock and cliffs. In the summer it would be the way to go so you don't have to drop down the 300 plus feet that takes you down to Miners Creek. You can see the drop off to the right.

I skied down to the creek which was okay, the climb back up was tedious. It was at this point I left the skis and booted my way up the moderately steep slopes toward the summit. There was not enough snow to make the effort of trying to ski higher worthwhile. At that point we had about 1400 feet to go.

13162 from the hike up the lower slopes of 13510A.

After a mix of snow patches and rock we made to just below what I would call the Druids Reach. A combination of rock stones and towers on a flat spot about a half mile below the top.

The summit from the Reach.



All Class 2 stuff.

The summit post.

A look west. There is a 12er over there but not easily gotten to from here.

A look at the other 13ers.

A beaver dam in Miners Creek on the way out.

A beaver house.

The Colorado Trail from Miners Creek.

A look back at 13510A as it starts to snow.

Gray skies on the long ski out.

There is a hillock and a post for the Colorado Trail that you can see from quite a distance out as you make your way back. If you head for that it takes you to the point above the funnel. It is good for a marker to guide by but it doesn't seem to get any closer for a while and then there you are.

It was somewhere between 14.6 and 15.7 miles depending on whether I look at the GPS unit or my base camp software, the lower number looks right. I think it is approximately 3600 feet the way I went and the software says 4100. There are a number of ups and downs but the 3600 seems closer when I look at the map but it did feel like more due to conditions with the snow. I think if you were to fall into a 3 foot sink hole about 150 times that might account for it.

That clears the board for the Baldy Cinco Group of 13ers and it is off my list of peaks I tried for and should have had.

Oh I carried crampons and ice axe because of the hard and sometimes icy morning snow and did not use them.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Comments or Questions

Fantastic summit & accomplishment
04/10/2016 14:11
Great, good work getting out in the hills and enjoying the beautiful high country. Nice report and photographs! Love the Beaver house photo, and views of the other 13ers as well. Thanks for posting


You're killing me smalls!
04/11/2016 07:20
Oh man, you just brought up an orphaned peak for me as well. We were down there about this time last year and missed 13,510A after getting the first three on the mesa. Need to get back there again, maybe a trail run in the summer this time sounds a bit better though! Thx for posting!


04/11/2016 07:38
VT thanks for the comments
Aaron, funny I was thinking when I was out there, that maybe a mountain bike/hike would be good, follow the trail to the saddle



You just keep getting them!
04/11/2016 08:26
I always enjoy your reports, Al. And I see that Billie Jean has led you up yet another mountain!


thanks Jay
04/11/2016 10:49
She told me her name was Billie Jean
As she caused a scene
Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
Who will dance on the "mountain" in the round

if I could bottle her energy...


Nice report, Al
04/11/2016 12:20
Sounds like a great ski tour, albeit with a bit more snow. I might just follow the idea next winter.


yes better snow
04/11/2016 12:38
better snow would help the tour, as compared to last year in February, which was good (snowshoes that time, also these are good winter peaks, thanks Ryan

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