Peak(s):  "Gudy Pk"  -  13,566 feet
"C.T. Pk"  -  13,312 feet
PT 13,540 A  -  13,540 feet
Whitecross Mtn  -  13,542 feet
Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
PT 13,795  -  13,795 feet
Date Posted:  09/17/2016
Modified:  10/01/2020
Date Climbed:   08/30/2016
Author:  Mtnman200
 Tri It, You'll Like It (Lake City Area Tricentennials)   

Friday, Aug. 26, 2016.
A sharp pain went through my left knee, and I found myself limping around all day and wondering if I would be able to go on a trip to the San Juans as planned. My knees have occasionally been problematic since I was 11 years old and forced me to stop running when I was in my late twenties and switch to lower impact forms of exercise.

Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016.
My niece, Laura, was visiting for several days and asked about going for a bike ride. I hesitated but then agreed. It turned out that the low impact workout made my knee feel a lot better. Thanks, Laura!

Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016.
After Laura left, I made the nearly six-hour drive to Burrows Park near Lake City and set up camp not too far from one of its old buildings. The mountains in this area had received some recent snowfall, and I looked forward to a September climb in August tomorrow.

Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.
I drove about 3/4 mile to the Cooper Creek Trailhead. My plan was to climb Unnamed (UN) 13540, "C.T. Peak" (13,312'), and "Gudy Peak" (13,566') but decided to reverse the order to have a trail-less descent from the final peak instead of a trail-less ascent to the first peak.

I followed the Cooper Creek Trail to about 11,120' and then promptly lost the trail where the topo map shows a creek crossing. Rather than waste time looking for the trail (which I was planning to leave in 1/4 mile anyway), I climbed north up a nice ridge toward Gudy Peak. I don't have any photos of my ascent route because I wasn't familiar enough with the camera I'd borrowed from my wife to realize that I was just focusing and not actually taking photos. Once I reached the ridge a few hundred feet SW of Gudy Peak's summit, I corrected the photographic error of my ways.

Cooper Lake from the summit of Gudy Peak. The snow was no more than two inches deep

It was overcast and windy, so I didn't spend a lot of time on the summit before heading SW along the ridge toward C.T. Peak.

Looking back toward Gudy Peak from the ridge to C.T. Peak

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree stands forlornly on the ridge between Gudy Peak and C.T. Peak (in the distance)

It took me an hour to reach the summit of C.T. Peak, where I enjoyed the fine views but not the increasingly threatening weather. A 3/4 mile ridgewalk to the SW brought me to a broad plateau where I turned right and continued about a mile west to the summit of UN 13540. About halfway across the plateau, I left most of the snow behind.

Gudy Peak from the summit of C.T. Peak

UN 13540 from the broad plateau about a mile east of its summit

Some bumps along the way to UN 13540

Approaching the summit block of UN 13540

Here's where the climb suddenly had some unexpected fun scrambling.

Scrambling up the summit block of UN 13540

The final approiach to the summit of UN 13540

Due to threatening weather (light snow), I descended several hundred feet SW to a low point and then SE toward Rock Creek before stopping for lunch. I continued SE along the Rock Creek drainage and eventually followed a trail from a mine to a lower mine. The trail continued to someone's cabin, and from there I walked about 500 feet along the road to my car. Back at my campsite, it was time for a three-hour afternoon nap.

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.
Today's goals: Whitecross Mountain (13,542'), Handies Peak (14,048'), UN 13795, and "Campbell Creek Peak" (13,454'). I didn't really need a fourth ascent of Handies Peak and a second ascent of UN 13795, but that was the easiest way to combine the other two peaks.

I hiked up the Grizzly Gulch Trail, eventually catching up to a couple who were headed to Handies Peak. They would be the only people I'd see all day. At about 12,500', I left the trail and climbed NW toward the Handies - Whitecross saddle.

Whitecross Mountain from Grizzly Gulch

A closer look at Whitecross Mountain

Once on the ridge, I headed NNE toward Whitecross Mtn. Some of the lighter-colored rocks along the way were icy, while the ice on the darker rocks was melting.

Whitecross Mountain has a fun summit block

UN 13795 (left) and Handies Peak (center) as seen from the summit of Whitecross Mtn.

Handies Peak from the summit of Whitecross Mtn.

I headed back along the ridge toward Handies Peak and eventually contoured over to the Handies trail. At the top of Handies Peak, I had the rare experience of solitude on a fourteener in August. Don't get used to it!

After enjoying the views from Handies Peak, I headed east along the ridge toward UN 13795. When my dad and I traversed from UN 13795 to Handies Peak in 1994, we saw no evidence that anyone else had combined the two peaks. This time, however, there was an informal path.

The ridge to UN 13795 (left) from the summit of Handies Peak

The summit of UN 13795 is getting closer

A closer look at the summit block of UN 13795

The summit register on UN 13795. Dave "CarpeDM" and I keep crossing each other's paths this summer

The ridge was long but not difficult, and soon it was three peaks down and one to go. The traverse to Campbell Creek Peak was easy until ridge difficulties required a descent and contour on the south side of the ridge. Past the ridge difficulties, it's an easy stroll to the summit of Campbell Creek Peak.

Campbell Creek Peak from its ridge to UN 13795

Clouds were building, so I didn't hang around for long on the summit of Campbell Creek Peak. I descended NNW directly from the summit until I reached Campbell Creek and found an informal trail and followed it for about a mile. When the trail degenerated into a bunch of trail segments, I headed steeply downhill toward Lake Fork Gunnison River, conveniently reaching the river at a narrow point where a fallen log allowed an easy crossing. A one-mile walk up the road brought me back to my campsite. Seven peaks in two days was a nice start to a trip that I wasn't sure my left knee could handle. I was definitely in a good mood!

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

09/19/2016 08:45
Love that first picture.


09/20/2016 10:15
That's a great shot of Cooper Lake from Gudy with the snow coating the ridge line. Congrats again on a productive trip


09/21/2016 17:01
I'm just getting around to reading this one. It looks like you're killing it out there the past few weeks! Someday, I'll tell you the story of my unique and death-defying route up Pt 13,795.


09/25/2016 15:19
Thanks, Jay, Ben, and Dave. I've been trying to make up for my 2015 season in which I only reached 15 summits, and only one of the 15 wasn't a repeat. 2016 definitely has been much more productive.

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