Peak(s):  Cirque Mtn  -  13,686 feet
Date Posted:  09/05/2019
Modified:  09/09/2019
Date Climbed:   08/29/2019
Author:  bergsteigen
Additional Members:   RyGuy
 Afternoon Delight  

Cirque Mountain

  • mileage: 4
  • elevation gain: 2,476'
  • trailhead: Sneffels 4WD 1 (outhouse)
  • partner: Ryan
  • class: 2+


After last years San Juan 13er/4x4 blitz with Ryan and Tony, we had to come up with a plan for this year! Tony would be delayed by 2 days because of a trip to Iceland, but then the 3 musketeers would be reunited! This year Ryan wanted to go after bicentennials. As my lowest % centennial grouping, that would work for me as well, though I had always planned the Yankee Boy Basin peaks as skis. Guess I'll be repeating these peaks in the future!

After working a half day on Wednesday, I was on my way. Well, almost. I did get an email from my boss with 10 minutes left, asking me to swap offices with 2 other people involved before the end of the holiday weekend. Thankfully when I told him I was on vacation for the next week, he deflected the other managers, who's failure to plan was not our emergency. Beyond that, I had a pleasant drive up into YBB for sunset, before getting to my campsite. Ryan was delayed at work, and would arrive very late that night. At least he knew where I was after getting my SPOT location.

19783_01
Potosi sunset truck reflection

I woke up the next morning at 5am, and it was too dark to look out my window to see if Ryan was awake yet, so I hit snooze. 9 minutes later, it was lighter, and I could tell that he wasn't parked in front of me. Hmmm.... A few more snoozes later, I got up. Thought maybe he had parked a bit farther away, and when I would go out to use the restroom, I'd see his Jeep. Nope. Maybe it got too late, and he parked and camped lower down. So at 6am, our agreed departure time, I went to the trailhead and waited. Nothing, still. So I started to photograph the sunrise.


19783_02
T 5 sunrise
19783_03
T 5 sunrise and flowers


19783_04
Gilpin sunrise
19783_05
Trees flashing in the sunrise

At 7 am, I knew something was wrong. Ryan wouldn't be this late without a good reason. All the bad things started running through my head: Was there a traffic jam, was he in a car accident, did he fall asleep at the wheel...?????? Only thing I could do was drive down to Camp Bird and get into cell reception and see if I had messages. Soon as I got service, there was a message. Massive traffic accident east of Gunnison shut down highway 50 and he didn't get around it till early am. So I decided to give him a call, which woke him up! He was out by Blue Mesa, and would be a while. So he gave me his InReach tracker, so I could watch his approach. Not quite as exiting as a 14er record run or Nolans or the like, but it was sure faster! From drive faster, to OMG he's in Ouray, to YAY he's on the YBB road!!!!!! A different kind of excitement, watching a partner arrive via InReach!

19783_06
There he is - hurry up - Oooo turning south - Go faster - Ouray YAY! - OMG heading my way, finally!


19783_07
Ryan still in his work clothes

While I could have gone and hiked something solo, that's not the point of this trip! I figured we might have a chance to squeeze in a later summit with the stable weather. So after all the delays, we got a start on the trail, after talking with Hoot, in the afternoon. Yup AFTER noon. Quite thankful for the short routes in this basin!

We started up the road, and then soon began angling up the grassy slopes. We were eager elevation beavers, and gained a bit too much too fast, and ended up doing a lot more high angled traversing than needed on the way up. On the return, we dropped lower to a better route.


19783_08
Grassy slope up to Kismet - Cirque saddle
19783_09
Looking back on Potosi

The remainder of the trek to the saddle was on talus and scree, but at least there was a bit of a trail in most places to follow.


19783_10
Glamor shot Ryan
19783_11
Route from saddle up Cirque's false summit


19783_12
Sneffels

We went all the way up to the false summit, since we missed the bypass trail. No big deal on such a low elevation day! On the return, we took the bypass. At least the views were good from the ridge bump.

19783_13
Cirque from bump
19783_14
Cirque - Teakettle - Potosi


19783_15
Teakettle zoom
19783_16
Potosi Zoom


19783_17
Ryan on the first "rough" section
19783_18
Ryan crossing over to Cirque

The first ridge cliff was loose but easy.

19783_19
Approaching the first cliff feature
19783_20
Ryan zipping up the first section

Above the first cliff section, was short talus before the summit cliff section.

19783_22
Summit cliffs


19783_23
Ryan going up to the summit


19783_21
Me approaching the summit - Photo: Ryan

After a little 2+ (though likely a way to go 2), we were on the summit at 3pm! The clouds, which had filled the sky a bit, were now dispersing, just as I thought they would. Noon summit rule doesn't always win. Hurray for decades of weather watching experience!

19783_24
Summit pano


19783_25
Teakettle & Potosi
19783_26
T 5


19783_27
Mt Emma
19783_28
Gilpin


19783_29
YBB

After a nice summit stay, we headed down, so we could get some eats in Ouray.

19783_30
Me dropping off the summit. Photo: Ryan
19783_31
Ryan's happy to squeeze in an afternoon summit!
19783_32
Me on top of the lower cliffy section, Photo: Ryan

We had a more pleasant descent taking the lower route, and we even got to walk on snow, my favorite!

19783_33
Emersion in the flowers
19783_34
Snow walking


19783_35
Lower basin, still snow!


19783_36
Potosi sunset
19783_37
Potosi sunset with the noble steeds

On to Day 2..... Potosi Peak


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 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37


 Comments or Questions
Presto

So many ...
09/06/2019 08:18
Beautiful photos! Looks like you two made the most of the situation (personally, I think it's neat to do some afternoon climbs every once in awhile). I enjoyed that "potato chip" rock on Cirque. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


BostonBD

Awesome!
09/06/2019 09:16
Fantastic images and well documented. Great work as usual.


dillonsarnelli

haha
09/06/2019 12:01
great report! and nice work!


Jay521

What they said...
09/06/2019 12:05
Your reports and pics are always top notch, Otina!


MtnHub


Envious!
09/06/2019 14:29
Wonderful!


bergsteigen

Thanks All!
09/08/2019 17:28
Presto - Nice to see a post from you again! It's rare to hike in the afternoon, except on these short routes, or when things go wrong. Though I have spotted a couple others that have potential!

BostonBD - Thanks, YBB is tough to take a bad photo.

Dillon - Gotta do the puns when possible, no?

Jay521 - I wouldn't know how to do a bad TR, I think.

MtnHub - Not great terrain for your ankle, but you could hike in the basins. or live vicariously.



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