Peak(s):  "Baldy no es Cinco"  -  13,313 feet
Baldy Cinco  -  13,383 feet
PT 13,162 A  -  13,162 feet
PT 13,510 A  -  13,510 feet
PT 13,020 C  -  13,020 feet
Date Posted:  09/24/2019
Modified:  09/29/2019
Date Climbed:   09/02/2019
Author:  supranihilest
 San Juan Sentries: Baldy Cinco? Baldy no es Cinco? Baldy es Muy Confuso  

This is part two of a four part report. Over a four day Labor Day weekend in 2019 I climbed 17 of 21 13ers in the La Garita Wilderness. You can find all parts here:

With one more day left on this trip I was stoked. I was about to climb five more thirteeners for 17 total in four days. Not too shabby. I wasn't entirely sure what today would entail but knew it was going to be easier and longer than the previous day's scrambling on death choss. An early start from Spring Creek Pass went dead east into the forest. The joint Colorado/Continental Divide Trail was great and easy to follow.

Without this skyscraper of a cairn I would have never known there was a trail here.

The trail slowly made its way up a ridge and then into a rocky drainage where it ascended steeply north for a short distance and onto Snow Mesa.

Sorry for the washout, early morning shot straight into the sun and all. This was the only rocky terrain until the upper reaches of the first 13er, "Baldy no es Cinco".

The views on Snow Mesa might be the best of the entire weekend. It's an incredible place and my first visit had impeccable views on every direction. To the north and northeast: the 13ers I'd be climbing. To the east and south: flat alpine mesa as far as I could see. To the west: San Juan splendor, including Wetterhorn, Matterhorn, and Uncompahgre.

"Baldy no es Cinco" and Baldy Cinco. The other three 13ers aren't visible here but extend along the ridge for miles.
Wetterhorn, Matterhorn, and Uncompahre.

It wasn't readily apparent from the top of the drainage that there were additional drainages north and south of my position. As I approached "Baldy no es Cinco" the next drainage to the north appeared, almost moatlike, guarding the peak.

The Great Moat of "Baldy no es Cinco".

This drainage didn't circumscribe the entire mountain and it was easy to bypass it on mostly Class 1 tundra without too much elevation loss by simply hiking northeast to north around it to the grassy south slopes. Any rocks on the slope were easily avoided and soon I stood on top of the first thirteener of the day.

Pointy from afar, broad up close, "Baldy no es Cinco" was a very easy peak.
Looking at what's to come, Baldy Cinco. Point 13,510 A is visible behind and to the left of Baldy Cinco.

There was a long drop between the two Baldies and I could see more of the day's route even farther away so I didn't linger on the summit. There was some water at various points of the crossing but I was easily able to keep my feet dry.

More Class 1 grass on Baldy Cinco.

Though it looked far away and felt like it took me longer than I wanted to get to Baldy Cinco, mostly because I'd already had a long weekend, it was less than 30 minutes between peaks. Two down, three to go.

Looking back at "Baldy no es Cinco", which for some reason seems even farther away from Baldy Cinco than Baldy Cinco did from it.
The three remaining peaks. Point 13,510 A left of center (the far left peak is just a sub-summit of 13,510 A), diminutive Point 13,020 C slightly right of center, and Point 13,162 A with the big cliffs on the right.

Between Baldy Cinco and Point 13,162 A I got good views of more volcanic rock; Baldy Cinco's north ridge studded with hoodoos and the entirety of the ridge between Baldy Cinco and 13,162 A, which lies on the Continental Divide.

Baldy Cinco's north ridge. Doesn't look very inviting.
En route to Point 13,162 A, which is off frame to the left.
Closeup shot of the most dramatic of the fins along the ridge.

While the ridge was all easy, it was very long, close to a couple of miles.

A look back at Baldy Cinco from the Baldy Cinco-Point 13,162 A saddle. She's a long ways back.
Final slopes up Point 13,162 A. The Class 2 talus hop at the top was only a minute or two in length.

The very easy route ended here, on top of Point 13,162 A. From here it became only easy. Shucks. I wasn't quite sure what the south ridge of Point 13,510 A held but it looked like it might be some scrambling along a couple of towers and outrcrops.

Nothing tremendous looking, just some potential for scrambling along the ridge. Point 13,510 A is the obvious peak on the left, and Point 13,020 C is the bump that doesn't look like anything right of center.

Getting off Point 13,162 A was really the only challenge of the day. There was a steep saddle between it and 13,510 A with loose cliffs on both sides of the saddle. The saddle was due east but I had to go due south down steep Class 2+ terrain to avoid the cliffs and gullies on the 13,162 A side, then joined the trail before traversing under the outcrop on the 13,510 A side to a grass slope.

Looking east off Point 13,162 A. It was too steep and loose to either descend to or ascend from the saddle on direct routes.
The trail is barely visible through the debris field below the cliffs.

Once it made sense to turn north off the trail again I did so, ascending easy grass to a level spot below 13,510 A's summit ridge. It was long since apparent that what appeared to be difficulties from the west side could be easily bypassed on simple, low angle Class 2 talus. There was a lot of elevation gain - the second most out of any peak in this group - but it was entirely manageable compared to initial impressions.

Summit ridge to Point 13,510 A.

The distance back to the first peaks of the day was a little startling. Just like with the Baldies earlier in the day the distance seemed much farther in reverse.

Point 13,162 A on the left and the Baldies on the right. That's so far away!
One to go, Point 13,020 C on the left. The peak on the right is actually higher but has significantly less prominence. Neither is ranked.

With four peaks out of the way I had to just traverse one more bowl to reach the fifth and final peak of the day. It involved going over another, higher but less prominent peak en route. All of this went at Class 2, and meant I'd have to reascend or skirt the first peak on my way back to the trail and out. Descending back down 13,510 A's south ridge I went southeast where it made sense, then up the bump prior to 13,020 C; the former was much rocker than the latter.

Point 13,020 C from the unnamed bump.

The rest of the short hike over to 13,020 C was uneventful. I opened the summit register to find an absolutely ancient and crumbling scroll inside. I only took a picture of the last page but it had a mere two names on it from four and seven years ago! It went all the way back to something like 1995, by far the oldest register I've seen so far. Unfortunately there was nothing inside to write with (and I may have avoided it anyway, the thing was so brittle) but it was cool to page through and see names from decades ago.

Certainly people have climbed this peak more frequently than this, but this was still super cool!

From here, as mentioned, I had to skirt the rocky unnamed, unranked bump back to the grass slopes where I could descend back to the trail.

Going to the saddle on the right's general vicinity, then down the far side.
A look across the basin to Point 13,510 A. It's almost like the talus is sloughing off the mountain.

Reaching the trail I was just behind a trio of mountain bikers. I'd play catch-up with them for the next hour or so as they biked ahead of me and then I caught up as they carried through difficult sections of trail. I passed under some more volcanic hoodoos, ever wondering if one of these things is just going to collapse or explode or spontaneously combust like the chosspiles they are.

Just out for a stroll, minding my own busiKABOOM I'm dead.

The trail miles stretched on for what seemed like forever on Snow Mesa. By now the bikers were way ahead of me, until they stopped and began looking confused. When I finally reached them they asked me if I had any idea where I/they were. I only had somewhat of a clue, as they were looking for the Miners Creek drainage which they would ride to Creede and their shuttle car. They'd passed it an hour and a half or so prior, where I first met up with them. They turned around and rode back from whence they came and from there on I was alone to the trailhead. These three bikers were once again the only people I'd seen all day, on a busy holiday weekend with perfect weather. Amazing how empty this incredible place is.

This is the trail that never ends...
... it goes on and on my friends!
Better shot of the first rocky drainage I ascended.

I dropped into the forest and hiked down the ridge to the highway and my car, where I scarfed down a bunch of M&M cookies, a truly unbeatable mountain food. As a long but easy day this was a great way to end a huge trip. It was a doozy but the La Garita Wilderness really shone as a special place. I made the long drive home satisfied with how successful the trip had been and already raring to come back for more.


Climbers: Ben Feinstein (myself)
Total distance: 17.97 miles (this day) / 71.38 miles (weekend to this point) / 71.38 (weekend total)
Total elevation gain: 5,694 feet (this day) / 22,798 feet (weekend to this point) / 22,798 (weekend total)
Total time: 8:30:20
Peaks: Five 13ers (four ranked, one unranked)

  • "Baldy no es Cinco", 13,310'
  • Baldy Cinco, 13,313'
  • Point 13,162 A
  • Point 13,510 A
  • Point 13,020 C (unranked)


Starting Location Ending Location Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
Spring Creek Pass Trailhead "Baldy no es Cinco" 1:56:45 1:56:45 0:00
"Baldy no es Cinco" Baldy Cinco 0:26:35 2:23:20 0:00
Baldy Cinco Point 13,162 A 0:54:09 3:17:29 0:00
Point 13,162 A Point 13,510 A 1:10:41 4:28:09 12:16
Point 13,510 A Point 13,020 C 0:50:50 5:31:15 0:00
Point 13,020 C Spring Creek Pass Trailhead 2:59:05 8:30:20 Trip End

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

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