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.

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


19656_02
The Blue Lakes Trail offers some nice scenery

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

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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.

19656_04
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.

19656_05
Mears Peak from below the S3 - S5 saddle


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Looking west on the ridge toward Mears' summit


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


19656_09
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.

19656_11
I'm not driving across that...


19656_12
...so I turned around and parked

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

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


19656_15
The finger of snow angling to the left in the center of the photo allows access to an upper basin north of T5


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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


19656_17
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.

19656_18
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.

19656_24
Near the saddle; anyone have any idea what its purpose might have been?


19656_19
This is not T5's summit but is just a 13,337' bump on the ridge


19656_20
A prospect hole below the 13,337' ridge point


19656_21
Nearing the top of the 13,337' ridge point. Don't let the cairn get your hopes up!


19656_22
T5 from the 13,337' ridge point. It's an easy walk on rock and tundra


19656_23
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
Jay521

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


marksilas
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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