Peak(s):  Ten, Pk  -  13,420 feet
Jagged Mtn  -  13,824 feet
Oso, Mt  -  13,684 feet
Irving Pk  -  13,218 feet
"SoSo, Mt"  -  13,417 feet
"Weminuche Pk"  -  13,220 feet
"North Irving"  -  13,020 feet
PT 13,140 C  -  13,140 feet
PT 13,310  -  13,310 feet
PT 13,340 B  -  13,340 feet
Date Posted:  09/07/2017
Modified:  09/20/2017
Date Climbed:   08/26/2017
Author:  SnowAlien
Additional Members:   Grizzly Adams, mattpayne11
 Wandering in Weminuche - Sunlight Creek to Rock Creek (Part I)   

Dates: August 20 - 29, 2017 (10 days)

13ers climbed: 20 (1 repeat (Jagged), 5 unranked, 14 ranked)

10 Day Totals: ~67 Miles, ~27,500 Gain

Trailhead: Hunchback Pass Trailhead outside of Beartown. 4WD required

Peaks in the order climbed:

Peak 10 (unranked)
Jagged (repeat)
North Irving (unranked)
UN 13,310
UN 13,340 B
"Weminuche pk"
UN 13,140 C (unranked)
UN 13,060 C (unranked)
Peters peak
UN 13,222 A
"P1" (unranked)
UN 13,169
UN 13,308
UN 13,342
Ute ridge

Furthemore's report was instrumental in planning the trip and was a required rain-time/tent-time reading material. The guy should write guidebooks or something...

After the endless snow season, the summer is finally here, which means it's time to plan another long Weminuche trip. Naturally, I reached out to Shawn, who I hiked Silex/Guardian/Pk9/Pk8 with last year. This year we set our eyes on the broadly defined "Oso group". I "needed" Oso for my bicentennial 13er list, but why not add more 13ers once we're there? - and there are quite a few in that basin. Shawn readily agreed. There was only one "problem". He couldn't stop talking about Jagged. Every conversation about Oso somehow ended up about Jagged. At some point he jokingly suggested we should climb it. It set me thinking. With our work schedules, it looked like we could get away with 9-10 days off work, meaning we had a few extra days. It also made sense to start with Jagged, and then make our way towards Rock creek basin. At this point of trip planning, I suggested we should invite 1-2 people to join us for Jagged, and see if they would agree to carry out the no longer needed ropes afterwards. I enjoy repeating class 5 peaks, and it always feels good to help someone else get closer in finishing the Centennial list. Matt Payne agreed to join our small team. I knew him as a strong scrambler from our '13 Dallas/Teakettle trip, as well as an excellent photographer. Our team was set.

Day 1 - backpack into Sunlight Creek

After longer than wanted work week and longer than needed drive from the Summit county, I finally made it to Silverton around 9 am, 2 hours behind schedule. I jumped into Shawn's truck, with Matt driving his jeep, and we set out to Beartown TH. With high clearance vehicles, the drive was manageable, with a few tough spots in the last mile. With 10 days worth of food and supplies, we set out from the TH by 12.30 pm. My pack was so heavy, that I promptly ripped the right strap as I was trying to put it on. Now I just have to deal with Deuter's warranty, but hopefully it will be ok.

~2,800 ft descent, ~1,900 ft ascent, ~9 miles, 6 hours 45 minutes (12.30 pm to 7.15 pm)

The beauty of this approach is that after the first uphill mile, the next 6-7 miles are downhill, and the Vallecito trail is excellent. Because of that we were making a decent time, arriving at Vallecito river crossing around 5pm. Although I was getting mentally ready for the uphill, the brutality of going up the faint and very steep Sunlight creek trail with a 50+ lb pack exceeded my expectations. I was ready for the campsite. Somehow the guys had a bit lighter packs and insisted on going as high as possible. Eventually they agreed to stop around 11.1k. Since it was already past 7pm, I was glad we didn't have to set up our tents in the dark.

Shawn and I inching towards Hunchback pass at the start of our trip - photo by Matt Payne

Shawn crossing Vallecito river

Day 2 - Peak 10 (unranked)

~2,200 ft ascent, ~3 miles, 7 hours (~2 hours on the summit for the eclipse)

Shawn and I were really sore the next day and voted to have a "rest day". In addition, it was supposed to be a solar eclipse day. I was curious about unranked Pk 10, and both Shawn and Matt were interested to add Knife Point (which I already hiked on a prior trip). We set out from camp around 7 am. Shawn decided to go up Pk 10 with me, while Matt headed directly for Knife Point with his camera gear. Our intentions were good. That day was billed as a rest day/watch-the-eclipse day, so in the beginning everything went as planned. We found the "alligator rock" and went to the left of it.

Peak 10 in all its glory - Shawn

Approaching Pk 10 (alligator rock seen on the far left)

Alligator rock (detail)

Of course I had to get more familiar with it (photo by Shawn)

We kept the scrambling at a reasonable grade for a while. But it was just too good! Near the summit, I quit searching for the path of least resistance and just picked what looked good - in my case, a low-5 off-width. Shawn found a more reasonable line to my left and had a pleasure watching me struggle to extract myself from the upper chimney. My off-width technique definitely needs a lot of work.

On the upper face

The chimney I took up

Struggling to free myself from the chimney

Just below the summit - photo by Shawn

Upper ridge

Two moves away from the summit

After a few exposed moves on a narrow ridge we settled on the tiny summit to watch the partial solar eclipse. We could clearly see Matt in his blue outfit on Knife Point. It was mostly cloudy, but we caught a bit of the solar action. After close to 2 hours on the summit, it was time to head back down. For a while it went well. We retraced our steps on a narrow ridge and took the Shawn's way down. Just as we were done with all Class 4 and I was envisioning a grassy stroll to my tent, Shawn announced that he wants to do a high traverse and head over to Knife Point. We ended up separating - Shawn stayed high on the ridge and I started descending down.

Shawn heading over to Knife point

Last ledge downclimb to the grass

Avoid the black cliffs

For awhile it was reasonable, at about class 3, but couple hundred feet down it became more difficult - at fairly sustained class 3/4. At that point it finally occurred to me to look at Gaia - and I didn't see the fall line to be mellowing out. Well, I could head back up or see if those ledges would go. With every ledge system I was getting increasingly concerned if it'd go, but stubbornly kept going. I reached the last ledge - and could finally see the grass 50 feet below. Will it go? I went back and forth a few times to see if I can find a reasonable path down. It's either that or I am heading back up. I started heading down the gully, and although it didn't go directly, I was able to round the corner and saw an exposed C4 traverse that took me down to grass. Whew! Now I was worried about Shawn and hoping he was ok. I yelled his name a few times, lingered in the basin for a bit, and headed back down, hoping he beat me to camp (my descent was fairly time consuming). Upon arriving at camp, I only found Matt, who informed me he saw Shawn heading up Knife Point. Shawn came back an hour later reporting an off-route descent off Knife point and the team was reunited. Later we had a talk about staying together and/or better communication. In a nutshell, I don't recommend my descent line off Peak 10 if you don't relish sustained class 4/low 5 level scrambling for several hundred feet.

Day 3 - Jagged (repeat)

~2,500 ft ascent, ~4 miles, 9.5 hours (relaxed pace, particularly on the descent)

It was a second time for the on the peak, and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. It was nice to take a different approach from Sunlight Creek, so the mountain didn't start to look familiar until we got to the 1st crux. Matt wrote a nice trip report (with great photos), so I'll refer the reader there. After the summit, we lingered in the upper basin, enjoyed the surroundings and took our time to get back to camp. Soon after we got back (around 3pm), it started hailing and it went on for couple hours.

Day 4 - packout from Sunlight creek and backpack to the Rock lake

~1,700 ft descent, 2,100 ft ascent, ~7.5 miles, ~6 hours

Sunrise on Jagged from camp - photo by Matt Payne

Next morning was gorgeous. Although all vegetation was wet from a storm the night prior and the creeks were running high, it was a much easier hike down to Vallecito. Matt was up way earlier and left before us, while Shawn and I were still eating our breakfasts. We finished packing and left just around 9 am. The descent to Vallecito still somehow took 2 hours, and we ran into 2 other people heading up to the Sunlight lake. I ended up slipping on a rock and dipping into Vallecito river, but thankfully, my gear mostly stayed dry in the pack. In another hour we reached the Rock creek trail, and our "Oso group" adventure officially got under way. After a short lunch break we arrived at our new campsite near 11,700 feet just below the Rock lake around 3pm and promptly set out to dry our tent gear and shoes. There was a talk about doing Weminuche peak, but I felt pretty tired and decided to spend the rest of the day at camp and rest, but Shawn rallied and wandered around the Rock lake. We agreed for an early start for tomorrow. It rained/hailed for an hour after 8pm that day.

Gorgeous approach to the Rock lake, I enjoyed it despite the still-heavy pack

Buffalo peak (right) makes an appearance, as well as Weminuche peak in the distance. Weather was an ok all day - shoes started to dry out

Our great campsite for next 5 nights

Day 5 - Oso-Irving-Soso

5,100 ft ascent, 8 miles, 12 hours

Alarm went off at 4.30 am. While cooking breakfast I felt a few drops, but it was still too dark to see what's going on. After some hesitation, we decided to keep going with the plan. We left the camp by 5.45 am, after breakfast. It was a cloudy morning. We had some light by the time we reached the lake, so finding the trail wasn't too difficult. In another hour we reached the Half Moon pass. It was disheartening to see the descent and then ascent of the Soso-Oso saddle. We went up the grassy/rocky gully on Oso's side to reach the ridge. It was a straightforward climb from there and we got to the Oso summit by 9 am (I stopped at the saddle for a few minutes to check the weather radar and catch up on emails). We could see the rain over Silex/Guardian and approaching fast, but we didn't see any lightning. After staying on the summit for about 5 minutes we hustled down, trying to beat the rain. We decided to head in the direction of Irving lake and wait out the storm there. Pretty soon the rain caught up to us and for the next hour we were hopping on wet talus, and it was not pleasant. But by the time we were ready to head up Irving, the rain subsided and even sun tried to come out. The wet talus was drying out fast. We went up the same gully mentioned in Derek's report, and yes, it was very steep mud near the top of the ridge. From there, it was an easy ridge stroll to Irving, where we arrived around 11.40 am and settled for an extended break. After half an hour, we headed back. I wanted to add an unranked summit ("North Irving"), so we hiked a couple hundred feet up an unmarked bump on the ridge. I wasn't quite sure where it was at the time, but looks like we tagged it. We immediately turned around and went to check out the ridge to the next unranked one, but it didn't go. After that, we headed down the steep mud/then grass/then talus gully back into the basin. I was mentally preparing for a slog back up to the Oso-"Soso" saddle, although it turned out to be not too bad. It started drizzling on us again as we were heading up to the saddle. It was a gray, soggy, cloudy day, perfect for peakbagging non-technical peaks. By 2.50 pm we made the saddle, and I convinced Shawn to tag "Soso" - after all, it was just 600 more feet. We didn't have any beta on that NE ridge. We avoided the initial difficulties by staying to our right (east), but then rejoined the ridge proper which went at class 2+ for a while. Only near the top we had to do some minor route finding, again, staying east, and ended up making up a couple class 3+ moves, arriving on the summit by 3.30 pm. We could see rain in several sectors of the sky, so after a short break and a debate about the descent route, we went down the same way we came. All that's left was a long and painful slog back to the tent, where we arrived by 6pm. It rained again for a short bit after we got back to our tents.

Heading up Oso-Soso saddle

Heading up Oso - yay, I got 4G after couple days off the grid - and immediately checked the weather forecast

Our summit views from Oso - Shawn already put on raincover on the pack

Me getting off Oso in the rain

Irving lake

Rain, rain, go away

Sunlight Basin looking moody L->R Knife Point, Pk 10, Jagged (photo by Shawn)

Oooo, this steep mud is lovely!

Looking back at Oso from Irving

Summit views from Irving

Jagged is erupting (photo by Shawn)

Hidden lake from "North Irving"

Irving from "North Irving"

The ascent/descent gully on Irving

Heading up "Soso"

Shawn tops out on the final summit of the day 3/3 (Oso in the background)

Back at Half Moon pass around 5pm - around this time I saw a lightning bolt in the RGP area

But still sunny at the Rock lake

Day 6 - UN 13,310 and 13,340 B

3,600 ft ascent, 8 miles, 9.5 hours

This morning was sunny and gorgeous. We woke up to clear skies around 6.30 am, and finally headed out by 8 am. Fatigue was setting in. I was debating an easier day on Weminuche peak, but Shawn was up for 2 "Soso" neighbors, so we decided to head over there. Derek made it sound easy. We made it up to the pass in an hour again. After that was a long couple miles/800 ft descent to Moon lake. We found the creek crossing, but soon after that the trail petered out. We bee lined to the unnamed basin another mile, staying on game trails as much as possible. After getting to the unnamed lake ~12,400 ft, we had a discussion. We could follow the Derek's route to the saddle between 2 13ers, but it didn't look particularly easy. So we decided to go to the saddle between UN 13,340 B and Point 13,050, mostly because we couldn't figure out which bump on the ridge was the actual summit. After making the saddle, we headed towards PT 13,050, but quickly realized it wasn't the summit. We reversed our route down to the saddle and started making our way up 13,340 B, just as weather was getting more cloudy. I opted for the direct finish, i.e. north ridge with a short class 3 section, mostly because I can't stand false summit bumps. The first thing I saw when topping out was a summit cairn - what a relief for the sore eyes. Shawn chose a slightly more friendly-looking NW ridge. We reconvened on the summit around 1pm. After a short break, it was an easy stroll to the summit of UN 13,310, where we arrived 30 minutes later. We had another discussion about the descent route and eventually decided to head down the west ridge just to see how bad the traverse to "Soso" would get. It got pretty narrow and exposed fairly quickly. Lacking the energy or interest to do the traverse (and congratulating ourselves for tagging "Soso" the afternoon prior from the other side), we headed down the friendly-looking grassy slope back to the basin. From the unnamed lake we fairly expediently (for us) retraced our steps back to the Half Moon lake, where I lost Shawn for a while, as he was taking pictures of fish swimming in the lake. After that I was making enormous effort to stay positive and eating all my energy GU and jelly beans, as the 800 reclimb/slog back to the Half Moon pass loomed ahead. It took me every ounce of the remaining energy to get back to the pass. After that I was on the autopilot/in the zombie mode. This 13er peakbagging can be so hard, mind-numbing and energy-zapping! I stumbled down the rock trail down to the lake. I felt like I couldn't make it to camp, so I sat next to the trail and rested. Told Shawn to go ahead. After 10 minutes of "rest" I slogged myself down to the tent with a huge migraine and feeling nauseous. This was a low point of the trip for me, but at least I had some idea what to do. I had a classic tension headache from a head-forward posture for hours. I massaged the occipitals, and thankfully, the migraine went away, and I was able to take an hour nap. I woke up with some appetite back, cooked dinner and retired early with no alarm set. Tomorrow will be a true rest day.

Clear morning at Rock lake

Moon Lake and the drainage behind is out destination

One of the 13ers finally becomes visible

Unnamed lake ~12,400 ft

North ridge of UN 13,340 B

Broad summit of UN 13,340B

Heading up UN 13,310

Ridge to "Soso"

Looking back at UN 13,340B and Pt 13,050 to the left on the descent

Back at the Moon lake - Oso is on the left

Day 7 - Weminuche Peak, UN 13,140 C (unranked) and 13,060 C (unranked)

2,200 ft ascent, 4 miles, 6.5 hours (lots of time on the summits)

'tis was another beautiful bluebird morning. I woke up at 6.30 am to the alpenglow on Peters peak after 9.5 hours of rest. Shawn was still sleeping. I went out to fetch and filter water, brushed the teeth, changed clothes, took another 30 min nap. Shawn is still sleeping. Finally around 8 am I asked him if he was still alive. He was. Strange. And I thought I was the one dying yesterday! We cooked and ate our breakfasts and finally felt ready to start hiking by 9.30 am. Today for once, our goal sounded reasonable - an East ridge of the Weminuche peak and then some unranked 13ers nearby if we're feeling up for it. We left the Half Moon lake trail around 12,200 ft and hiked up the small basin on the north side of UN 13,140C. I have to say that the north faces of both UN 13140C (unranked) and Weminuche pk are incredibly impressive. By the time I reached the top of the basin near 12,600 ft, I lost Shawn. He later told me he waited for me for 15 minutes - that's what 12 hours of sleep would do to a man. Anyway, by the time I saw him, he was well on his way to Weminuche peak via NE face. He knew there was no beta on that route, but it looked interesting (I guess he was feeling antsy on top of well-rested after 2 days of mind-numbing slogging, as was I). Meanwhile, I decided to stick to the sexy-looking (in red) the East ridge of the Weminuche peak. After some very enjoyable Class 3 scrambling, I arrived on the summit 2 hours after leaving the camp, just as clouds were building. Shawn was nowhere to be seen, and he didn't sign the register. I decided to stay on the summit and wait. After a bit I left my pack on the summit, and went down the ridge, yelling his name, and I finally heard him. Not surprisingly, the route he picked got progressively harder and more time consuming. After a brief break, we headed over the saddle for UN 13,140C, as the weather kept building. After that summit Shawn decided to head back to camp, while I set my sights on UN 13,060C. I wanted to get a glimpse of the Peters ridge, our goal for tomorrow. I took the direct west ridge line off UN 13,140C, and then hiked up past the Half Moon pass. It was an enjoyable stroll to what turned out to be one of my favorite summits of the trip, especially as the clouds decided to go away, revealing the sunny ridge. The summit stay in the Oso shadow was incredibly peaceful and I stayed there closer to 40 minutes. For the descent I decided to get creative - I like loops - and descended the NE ridge to the saddle with Peters. Initially mellow steep class 3 became increasingly steeper and and I couldn't see if it connected to the saddle. I ended up descending more east, encountering a few moves of Class 4. From there, I traversed under the very steep East face of Peters on easy, but exposed ramp over the cliffs, finding at least one cairn. I wanted to find a trail leading to the saddle between Buffalo peak and Peters, but didn't see it. Satisfied with the recon for tomorrow and in good spirits, I arrived back at the tent by 4pm. Today was a decidedly good day. All that's left was to rest and to get day packs completely ready for tomorrow, as the Peters' ridge was anticipated to be a highlight of the entire trip.

Small basin on the north side of the Weminuche peak

Gaining the saddle on the east side of the peak

Solid, slabby start of the East ridge

Beautiful pink rock dihedral - I was more conservative and went right on the gray blocky rock

RGP from the East ridge

Summit register

"Weminuche pk" as seen from UN 13,140 C

Oso and UN 13,060C as seen in the distance

Oso and Lake Mary Alice from UN 13,060C

Nice views from UN 13,060C

Peters and UN 13,222 for the next day

Ridge descent off UN 13,060C

Rock lake from the other side


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

Comments or Questions

09/07/2017 16:24
Natalie - so good! Thanks for letting me tag along... and oh man, that second leg of the adventure looks like it was incredible. I really like the view of Jagged/Pk 10/Knife from Irving, wow! And RGP photo was amazing!

I know where I'm going next year!


A great complement...
09/07/2017 20:52 Matt's report! Wow! What a fabulous area! Gorgeous rock! Thanks, Natalie!


Alligator Rock
09/08/2017 07:28
I was thinking Crocodile Rock, but Elton John already took that name. I've been using your seemingly annual Weminuche trip reports and GPS overlays for my trips. Matter of fact... I climbed peak ten a couple weeks before you and while climbing told my brother, "I bet snow alien will be climbing Peak 10 this summer", since it seems like you have done everything else in that area. Gray needle next??


Wander to wonder
09/08/2017 18:55
Wondering to wander the Weminuche? But why wander to wonder?
Why it's the Weminuche! Ever wonder why people wander there?
Wonder no more!
This report shows why.


Wandering minds
09/09/2017 09:56
Thanks for the comments everyone! Darin, thanks for correction.

Wombat - I learned about Pk 10 a week before the trip. It was Shawn's idea. Unranked summits in Weminuche are rarely a disappointment. We'll deal with the area to the south of Jagged (Chi Basin 13ers) on our future trips.

Matt, I am jealous such an area is in your backyard. And thanks again for hauling out the ropes and my harness. And of course, your photos from the trip are amazing, as usual. Good luck on the rest of Cents!

Shawn - good peak choices and good routes! And you might be right (once again!) about my GPX track - I have Delorme set at 5 min frequency, so looks like it may be skipping some "ebb and flow", but sure looks cleaner that way. I was really digging your sparse use of alpine starts. and I'm already looking forward to the next trip, hope we'll find some good scrambling.

Grizzly Adams

Weminuche will never disappoint
09/08/2017 23:14
An awesome trip! Mentioned Jagged as a joke since we'd be staring at it from every Oso group summit but when you bit I was stoked and it of course delivered. Matt's report rocks, be sure to check it out! Pk 10 is a gem and as you said the unranked rarely disappoint! Not gonna lie, the loose stuff was wearing on me and I was getting a bit burned out before Weminuche Pk came along but was able to get some fun scrambling/climbing in there and then there was the Peter's ridge...
Thanks for the write up and always happy to share the pix if you do the hard part! Your GPX is a little too clean though, cheated yourself out of quite a few miles. Can't wait to see the second part of this guy!!


Great report
09/09/2017 21:04
Nice job in such remote area! I camped at exact same spot that you guys picked near Rock Lake a few weeks ago when I did Oso group! Special place,thanks for posting.

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