Peak(s):  Fletcher Mtn  -  13,951 feet
"Drift Pk"  -  13,900 feet
Date Posted:  07/31/2016
Modified:  10/24/2018
Date Climbed:   07/20/2016
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Fletcher Mtn. & Drift Peak from Blue Lakes  

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The final approach to the summit of Fletcher Mountain


When I completed the centennials in 1992, my dad and I had climbed all the named non-separate peaks for a total of 110 peaks. Drift Peak had yet to be discovered at the time but now stuck out on my peak list like the proverbial sore thumb.

My older son, Randy, is working on the centennials and needed both Fletcher Mtn. and Drift Peak, so we joined forces to climb them together from Blue Lakes. We believe our Fletcher - Drift traverse is much easier than the 14ers.com "Fletcher+Drift Traverse" route description, so pay attention because our route will be on your final exam.

Tuesday, July 19
Randy had to work until 10:15 PM, so it was well after midnight by the time we arrived at Hoosier Pass and crawled into our tent. This was the only way we could squeeze in a climb tomorrow, however.

Wednesday, July 20
We slept in a bit due to our late arrival last night but could get away with it because the Blue Lakes Trailhead (which is also the TH for Quandary Peak's west slopes route) is fairly high (11,700'). After the short drive to the dam at upper Blue Lake, we headed up a trail that climbs northwest as it follows a drainage.

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Just getting started on the trail


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A look back at upper Blue Lake; it's obvious we didn't get a pre-dawn start today


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Looking to the northwest as the trail's about to fade away; Fletcher Mtn. isn't visible yet.


The trail goes higher than shown on the topo map. Soon, you don't need a trail.

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Fletcher Mtn. is just coming into view


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Looking back down the drainage. The sun's above Quandary Peak, and North Star Mtn. is to its right


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The final approach to the summit of Fletcher Mountain


We reached the summit of Fletcher Mtn. (13,951') but did not find a summit register.

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Randy on Fletcher Mountain's summit, with Drift Peak behind him


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Eddie on Fletcher's summit


After taking a break, we headed along the ridge toward Drift Peak. As we descended toward the Fletcher - Drift saddle, we met Mike Hill (username: mike14) as he was heading up Fletcher Mtn. The ridge to Drift Peak looks easy enough, and it is, for a while. Eventually, the ridge has difficulties that can be bypassed by dropping a bit into the basin southeast of Drift Peak.

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A look down into the broad basin SE of the Fletcher - Drift saddle


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You want to aim toward the 13,380' saddle (see arrow) between a 13,515' point (left) and Drift Peak


We didn't drop all the way to the 13,380' saddle but began contouring SW and WSW a bit above it. The traverse might be easier if you actually drop all the way to the 13,380' saddle.

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Quandary is at the far left. You can see we traversed a bit above the 13,380' saddle in the lower center of the photo


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You just need to lose enough elevation to get below the difficulties at the right side of this photo


We traversed to the snowfield at the right side of the photo above and then began climbing the couloir.

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Here we're climbing west up the couloir. There are several different options that all work well; take the path of least resistance


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Once on the ridge, it's a short distance to the summit of Drift Peak (13,900'), where we found a makeshift summit register in an ammo box


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One of Bill's old 13ers.com stickers! (Not exactly in mint condition, so we decided not to sell it on ebay)


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Looking back at Fletcher Mtn. (left) and Quandary Peak from the summit of Drift Peak


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Another nice view from the summit of Drift Peak


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And then there's the tailings ponds of the Climax Molybdenum Mine...


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Clouds were building by now, so Randy figured he should hang onto the steel rod (set in concrete) on the summit of Drift Peak


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Eddie on Drift's summit with Fletcher Mtn. (left) and Quandary Peak behind him


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Looking up at our descent route from Drift Peak


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Looking SE down the Monte Cristo Creek drainage


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Ancient mining artifacts next to one of a series of PVC poles we found on our descent


Rather than return over the 13,380' saddle and go back the way we came, we decided to head southeast down Monte Cristo Creek and then head east back to the trailhead. That worked fine until we had to do some bushwhacking through willows and pine trees as we neared upper Blue Lake. Other than that, our route worked well, but next time we'll simply return the same way we came. You should also.

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Blue = ascent route; red = descent route we took; green = a better descent route from Drift Peak



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
pman
Fletcher
09/08/2016 21:37
Good job guys.



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