Peak(s):  Mears Pk  -  13,496 feet
"T 5"  -  13,436 feet
Date Posted:  08/12/2019
Date Climbed:   08/09/2019
Author:  Mtnman200
 Just Add Water (or Snow)  

I had a couple of orphan tricentennial peaks (Mears Peak and T5) in the San Juans that I'd originally planned to climb in 2016. It only took three years, but I finally had an opportunity to work them into a brief trip. For Mears Peak, I decided on an unconventional approach from the Blue Lakes trailhead, where I had no trouble finding a nice place to camp.

Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. The 3.3 miles to Blue Lakes went quickly on a nice trail.

Some snow near the Blue Lakes Trail where an avalanche had come down

The Blue Lakes Trail offers some nice scenery

I left the trail and climbed west through the trees toward the S3 - S5 saddle.

Ascending toward the S3 - S5 saddle that allows access to the basin south of S6 and Mears Peak

When I was here in 2016, there was no snow near the S3 - S5 saddle. This time, traction and an ice axe were necessary to reach the saddle.

The S3 - S5 saddle is the low point just left of center, with a steep snowfield just below the saddle

Once at the saddle, I dropped down into the basin south of S6 and Mears Peak. Others have reported climbing to Mear's ridge west of the summit, but I saw an obvious route to the summit's east (right in the photo below). The route involved a fair amount of loose rock, but not so much that any colorful metaphors were spoken.

Mears Peak from below the S3 - S5 saddle

Looking west on the ridge toward Mears' summit

Almost to the summit of Mears Peak. with the summit cairn visible

Not a lot of signatures in the summit register in 2019

After a quick lunch, I headed back the way I'd come. This was a tiring day due to having to go over the S3 - S5 saddle twice. Next up: T5 near Yankee Boy Basin.

Friday, Aug. 9. I found a convenient campsite along the road to Yankee Boy Basin and, knowing that T5 was a relatively short climb, didn't even bother setting an alarm. After lazily getting up much later than usual, I intended to drive to about 12,040' in Governor Basin. A snowfield across the road at 11,940' had other ideas.

I'm not driving across that...

19656_12 I turned around and parked

I hiked up the road until an obstacle blocked my path.

The obstacle in the road. As it turns out, no "moving machinery" was found

The finger of snow angling to the left in the center of the photo allows access to an upper basin north of T5

Near the top of the finger of snow, the upper basin below T5 began to come into view. T5's summit is out of view to the far left

Looking down toward Governor Basin from the same location as the previous photo

I headed toward the T5 - Mendota Peak saddle and climbed a bit higher until I got the following view that made me wonder if summer is ever coming to this basin in 2019.

The low point right of center is the T5 - Mendota Peak saddle, and that's where I headed

The gendarmes on the ridge are nothing to worry about, as they are easily bypassed on obvious paths on the south side of the ridge.

Near the saddle; anyone have any idea what its purpose might have been?

This is not T5's summit but is just a 13,337' bump on the ridge

A prospect hole below the 13,337' ridge point

Nearing the top of the 13,337' ridge point. Don't let the cairn get your hopes up!

T5 from the 13,337' ridge point. It's an easy walk on rock and tundra

The unremarkable summit of T5 did not have a summit register

I returned to my car, only slightly disappointed that I didn't see any moving machinery all day.

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

Nice one, Eddie.
08/12/2019 15:20
Beautiful area...

Bolt in the Rock
08/12/2019 15:43
I'm not sure, but I think the route for the Hardrock 100 race goes through that notch. In years that there is snow in that basin, I was told that a fixed rope is set up there to help the runners to get up or down that snow slope. I think that there might also be an aid station somewhere around there as well. (I obviously have never done the race.)

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