Peak(s):  Traver Pk  -  13,852 feet
Clinton Pk  -  13,857 feet
Buckskin, Mt  -  13,865 feet
"Drift Pk"  -  13,900 feet
Fletcher Mtn  -  13,951 feet
Atlantic Pk  -  13,841 feet
Pacific Pk  -  13,950 feet
Date Posted:  01/23/2017
Date Climbed:   01/15/2017
Author:  Dad Mike
 Escaping Potty Training in the Tenmile / Mosquito Range  

I find it easy to make comparisons between parenting and climbing peaks. You know...ups and downs, overcoming obstacles, two steps forward - one step back, journey that never ends, celebrating successes, learning from mistakes...and on and on. So if raising a kid is like climbing mountains in summer...raising twins is like climbing mountains in winter, in the dark, in a blizzard, with frozen goggles, with no idea where you are going, no food, no water, while carrying 2 children on your back who are yelling at you and punching you in the face. It's not all bad though. When you do find your way back home and those kids say something sweet, make each other laugh, or do what you ask for once...all is forgiven and that beating you took in a whiteout can be turned into a beautiful memory.

The battle we are currently waging is known as potty training. Unless you like cleaning up piss and shit and yelling at 2 year olds, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm hoping there is someone out there who can give me some advice or at least tell me it will all be ok. Fortunately for me, my wife is a saint and far more patient than I. For some reason, she doesn't give me a hard time for escaping into the hills and leaving her behind. I do my best to limit my time away by packing as many peaks I can into as few days as possible. So last week, I figured I would try to climb my remaining Tenmile and Mosquito Centennials in a couple days.


McNamee and Clinton
Date...January 15th
Time...7am - 12:15pm
Distance...5.5 miles
Elevation Gain...3383 feet
Trailhead...Fremont Pass
Route...Ceresco Ridge

Parked and slept at a plowed area off of Hwy 91 that I assume is the Fremont Pass TH. I walked up the road a little ways and then made my way up through the trees to the start of Ceresco Ridge. I only crossed one plowed road in the Climax Mine area. I must have trespassed a little, but never saw any signs and I didn't get shot.
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The route as seen from the start of the ridge. The Climax mine was right behind me & to the left and was humming with activity all day. I fully expected for someone to fire up a snowmobile and come after me, but they probably never even noticed I was there.
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This mined area of the ridge made for the most interesting climbing of the day. The rock is pretty bad and the best way around it is to take a couple switchbacks on a mining road to the right of it.
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The upper, unmined part of the ridge
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Climax Glory Hole...I feel dirty just writing that
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The clouds started to move in and out once I hit the summit of McNamee, creating some pretty epic views. I think this was Democrat and Traver.
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Clinton Summit
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I was going to take a quick stroll over to Traver, but when I got back to McNamee I couldn't see it and wanted to give myself as much time as possible to get up Buckskin before it got dark. Looking down the ridge on descent.
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Buckskin
Date...January 15th
Time...2pm - 7pm
Distance...9 miles
Elevation Gain...2867 feet
Trailhead...11,000' on Buckskin Road
Route...East Ridge

The drive from Fremont Pass to Alma gave me some time to rest and recover. I knew I would be hiking in the soup for this one, but wanted to make sure I could summit before 5pm so I could get a better look at the terrain and avoid any loaded slopes. I figured on 3 hours to summit and started walking up Buckskin Road just after 2pm.
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I was looking for a safe way to access Buckskin's SE Ridge and finally settled on this option just below Kite Lake.
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The visibility was just good enough to see where I was going. Once you get up the initial slope in the last picture, it was pretty easy to stay on or near rocks and grass the rest of the way.
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I got to the summit just as it was starting to get dark...perfect timing. I chilled up there for 10 minutes or so before heading back down the way I came.
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This was the latest I've been on a winter summit and it was intimidating knowing that I would be descending in the dark. But it was actually really peaceful. I fell into a great rhythm on the way down and didn't want this hike to end.
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My possible routes in black and actual route in red
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Drift, Fletcher, Atlantic and Pacific
Date...January 18th
Time...7am - 3:30pm
Distance...9.5 miles
Elevation Gain...4746 feet
Trailhead...Mayflower Gulch
Route...NW Ridge on Drift - Ridge to Fletcher - Ridge to Atlantic with Detour on East Side of "The Rock Fountain" - Ridge to Pacific - Descent from Pacific/Atlantic Saddle

I love it when a plan comes together. This was a combination I had been eyeing for a while and was just waiting on a good forecast. I slept in the Mayflower Gulch parking lot and got started at 7am. This must be a popular spot to ski and snowshoe because there was a great track on the road till treeline. Here is the route up and over the first 3 peaks.
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Early light on the Gore Range. Anyone know what peak that is? I'm thinking Snow or Silverthorne.
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Holy Cross Group
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The snow devils on the ridge made me a little nervous about the wind, but it didn't end up being too bad.
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Looking down at Drift's NW Ridge and the Clinton Resevoir
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My objectives for the day from the summit of Drift. The two unknowns on this ridge were the 5th class step on the way to Fletcher and finding away around the "Rock Fountain" on the way to Atlantic.
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I first climbed these peaks in spring and took a more direct route on Drift from the east. So I didn't know anything about this rock step except from what I read in Cooper's book. I really didn't want to have to traverse across the south side and was excited when I was able to find a line I felt comfortable soloing. The red line was dry and what I ended up taking. I didn't think the climbing was too difficult, but had a hard time keeping my hands warm. I stopped a couple times to blow on them. The yellow line looked easier, but I didn't want to mess with the snow. Note to anyone wanting to do this in the opposite direction...I wouldn't have wanted to down-climb this section without a rope.
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Looking back down from the top of the step
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The rest of the ridge to Fletcher is easy. Quandary looming to the east.
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The last time I did this ridge, I dropped down to the Fletcher-Quandary saddle before descending into McCullough Gulch. This time I took a little more direct line. I tested the snow before descending and found it to be safe enough for my liking.
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I cut across the valley and under the 5 towers before heading back up to the ridge.
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Looking back at my tracks. This would not be a safe line if the snow conditions hadn't been so good.
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Summit of Atlantic
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Next up...the easy ridge to Pacific
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Summit shots on Pacific...pretty happy to get this one in such great conditions and weather.
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I dropped back down to the saddle between Pacific and Atlantic and descended down this talus slope.
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The walk down Pacific Creek was great except for the occasional Copper Avy bomb. It's amazing how far that sound carries.
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Mayflower Gulch
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Jacque Peak
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Potential routes in black, actual route in red
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Thanks for reading.



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

Nice escape!
01/24/2017 10:50
Love your comparison of twins and winter peaks. Very nice write-up and photos on a great group of peaks.


Dad Mike

Thanks
01/24/2017 10:57
Jay


Tornadoman

Great Report!
01/24/2017 20:52
Looks like some challenging peaks with this amount of snow. I really like the view of Jacque from Mayflower Gulch. Good times!


Trotter

nice
01/24/2017 21:54
great photos


TomPierce
Father of twins here...
01/26/2017 08:28
Hang in there, Mike! You're in one of the darkest periods. You've passed through the Desert of Insomnia, skirted the Shoals of Teething, and are now dodging the Cliffs of Potty Training. Hang in there, it does get better! Once they are potty trained (consistently, and that takes a bit of time) the next big hurdle is pre-school, and that begins the period of relief for your wife (and you!). I now am entering the Nightmare of Puberty, may God have mercy on my soul...

All that aside, great report! Curious, how many winter Cents do you have left? I think you're close? Good luck, be safe out there!

-Tom


Dad Mike

Tom
01/26/2017 09:08
Thanks for the laugh. I'm pretty sure I have fallen of the Cliffs of Potty Training a few times. It's a good thing my wife is a far better climber than I am.

I think I have 22 cents left. Sounds like I'm close, but a lot of those will require multi-day trips...and Jagged is still out there looming. So it doesn't feel close


blazintoes

Target practice
01/29/2017 09:49
Just like you drawing squiggly lines on MS paint denoting your course, put cheerios in the toilet and tell him to point and shoot! Now as for girls...maybe they have a she-wee for little girls?? This could be your next best invention!


terrysrunning

Did winter conditions help?
06/08/2018 14:13
Hey Mike. Great report, and some of your pics are super helpful. I'm trying to plan a day from Mayflower hitting Fletcher first, then heading over to Atlantic, Pacific, Crystal. But since I'll be alone and no gear, def want to avoid the Fletcher/Atlantic traverse, as you did. I'm wondering if I can do what you did, or if that route would by lousy without snow holding it together? Same with your ascent and getting to Fletcher; do you think I could go from Mayflower straight to Fletcher, or should I do Drift first ans drop down to avoid that traverse too? I'm not afraid of miles, just don't want to get in over my head in class 5+ stuff alone, and don't want to make 2 trips...



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