Peak(s):  "West Apostle"  -  13,568 feet
Ervin Pk  -  13,531 feet
PT 13,462  -  13,462 feet
Browns Pk  -  13,523 feet
Middle Mtn B  -  13,060 feet
Date Posted:  07/09/2016
Modified:  10/24/2018
Date Climbed:   07/06/2016
Author:  Mtnman200
 Winfield Tricentennials   

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The Three Apostles (North Apostle, Ice Mountain, and West Apostle) in the early morning light


I had commitments in town on Wednesday morning, plus a dinner date with my wife on Friday. Could I squeeze in three climbing days in 48 hours? I settled on three tricentennial peaks in the Winfield area as giving me the best odds of success.

Wednesday, July 6.
I arrived in Winfield mid-afternoon and headed up the Lulu Gulch jeep road. Rain chances were only 10% this afternoon, which made me feel pretty good about getting such a late start.

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The Lulu Gulch Road from not far above its intersection with the South Fork Clear Creek Road


At about 11,600' I left the road and headed toward Browns Peak (13,523'), which would allow me to make a loop out of the summits surrounding Lulu Gulch. My dad and I had climbed Browns Peak in 1980 on our way to Huron Peak (14,003') back in the days before CFI trails on 14ers.

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Looking up Lulu Gulch toward Browns Peak


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Going up the far left side of the grass looked like the easiest way to the ridge, so that's what I did


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The final approach to the ridge west of Browns Peak


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Huron Peak from Browns Peak. If you look carefully, you can see the trail switchbacking its way up Huron Peak


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Unnamed 13,462' from Browns Peak, with a very tame ridge between the two


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The final approach to UN 13,462'


When I reached the summit of UN 13,462', I was surprised to find a CMC summit register.

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Summit register on UN 13,462


I was even more surprised to see Bill Middlebrook had been here just two days earlier. I'm glad I gave Bill permission to take a break from maintaining his awesome website so he could spend some time in the mountains instead. (You can thank me later, Bill. )

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Looking back as I headed down


I went over Middle Mountain (13,060') because..., well, why not? I soon reached an old jeep road and followed it down to my car and then drove to the end of the South Fork Clear Creek Road. This is the trailhead for the Huron Peak Trail as well as the Lake Ann Trail. I set up camp and cooked a leisurely dinner. I say "leisurely" because my stove clearly needs a tuneup.

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Blue = ascent route from Lulu Gulch; red = descent route


Thursday, July 7.
After breakfast, I set out on the Lake Ann Trail as soon as it was light enough to hike without a headlamp. Today's goal: West Apostle (13,568'), which I've wanted to climb for many years.

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The Three Apostles (North Apostle, Ice Mountain, and West Apostle) in the early morning light


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The Lake Ann Trail winds through the trees as it follows the drainage from Lake Ann


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At this trail intersection at about 11,280', take the left fork toward Lake Ann


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The trail ends at Lake Ann. I crossed the lake outlet, climbed the rise behind the lake, and turned right.


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I headed up the ramp climbing to West Apostle's ridge near a 13,088' ridge point


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I hit the ridge just left of center and then headed ENE toward West Apostle


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The final climb to West Apostle's ridge


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The view of the rock glacier in the valley below is impressive


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There's a 13,540' false summit in the way on West Apostle's west ridge. This isn't it.


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This isn't the false summit either, but you can see it peeking around the left side of what looks like the high point


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I stayed on the ridge over the top of West Apostle's 13,540' false summit and on to its true summit


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North Apostle and Ice Mountain from the summit of West Apostle


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The CMC summit register on West Apostle was soaking wet and coming apart. I tried to dry it, but it's still quite wet


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The makeshift Apostle West summit register left by Alyson (Mrs. Lists of John) Kirk on 8-13-2015. Ken Nolan signed 11 days later


My descent route from West Apostle's ridge (marked with a cairn) began about 1/4 mile west of the false summit. It probably would have been a better ascent route than the one I took, if for no other reason than less time on the ridge.

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Looking up at my descent route from West Apostle's ridge


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Looking down at my descent route from the same location as the previous photo. The rock glacier is barely visible at the left edge of the photo


I considered following the drainage from the lake in the above photo, as it would have led to the trail that branches off from the Lake Ann Trail and heads toward Ice Mountain and North Apostle. After consulting the map, it didn't look like that route would be much shorter, if any, so I headed down to the rock glacier. After traversing around its north side, I returned to Lake Ann and followed the trail back to camp. After a two-hour nap, I moved camp to just NW of Winfield.

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Blue = ascent route on West Apostle; red = descent route


Friday, July 8.
Today's goal is Ervin Peak (13,531'), which is located 1.5 miles N of Winfield. Again, I was moving as soon as it was light enough to hike without a headlamp. I followed a creek from just NW of Winfield and, after about 1/4 mile, began climbing out of the drainage to Ervin Peak's south ridge.

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Bushwhacking through young aspen trees isn't on my bucket list, but the climb was fun once I got above the trees


Usually, the aspens are the first trees to move in after an avalanche or fire, and I wondered why so many aspen trees were on Ervin Peak's south ridge. After climbing higher, I saw numerous fire-damaged (and dead) mature pine trees, so there must have been a fire on this slope many years ago.

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I'm staying on the west side of Ervin Peak's south ridge so I don't burn to a crisp in the hot morning sun


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Looking back toward Winfield and the jungle of trees below


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A prospect hole along the ridge. Apparently, I'm not the first person to be here.


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There's not a lot of ridge left to ascend


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Ervin Peak's summit block


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The summit of Ervin Peak


I felt rather slow while I was bushwhacking but made it to the summit in four hours, which is a little over 800' per hour. The best I could do when I was half my current age is 1200' per hour, so that made me feel less slow.

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Ervin Peak's summit register contained some familiar names


I enjoy summit registers because I like seeing familiar names, where people are from, how many signatures each year, etc. Ervin Peak's summit register did not disappoint, as it included Kevin Baker, bergsteigen, benners, CarpeDM, SnowAlien, and lordhelmut. All are climbers I've either met, corresponded with, or climbed with in the past two or three years.

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The ridge from Ervin Peak to Mt. Blaurock (13,616') looks longer in person than it does on the map


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Mt. Hope (13,933') and Quail Mountain (13,461') from Ervin Peak


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My descent route from just south of Ervin Peak's summit


My descent route headed to the grassy/rocky area (just right of center) and then headed directly toward Winfield (where the road makes a 90 degree turn). I emerged from the woods less than 50' from my car at 11:35 AM, in plenty of time to go eat lunch in Buena Vista on my way home. I was early for my dinner date as well, which was nice.

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Blue = ascent route on Ervin Peak; red = descent route



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Jay521

Nice!
07/10/2016 05:54
A nice 3 day outing, eh? Nice, nice report.


CarpeDM

Aspens
07/10/2016 13:20
They're pretty to look at - especially in fall - but, man, descending through them was the worst part of my day! Good to see you making progress on that next hundred.


Matt

Much appreciated
07/11/2016 11:35
I've rediscovered my liking for the CR 390 area this year and "need" to pick up Browns, Ervin/Blaurock, and the orphaned West Apostle.
Thanks for posting!


Jessie_s Dad

Good memories
07/15/2016 06:08
Liked your report. Looks like you had nice weather all 3 days. Brought back memories of bushwacking up from Winfield to Ervin. Thought they would never end.



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