Peak(s):  Mosquito Pk  -  13,781 feet
Kuss Pk  -  13,548 feet
Treasurevault Mtn  -  13,701 feet
Date Posted:  01/06/2020
Date Climbed:   01/05/2020
Author:  WildWanderer
 Winter Loop   

Kuss Mountain (UR) – 13,548, Mosquito Peak – 13,781, & Treasurevault Mountain (UR) 13,701


19997_01



RT Length: 12 miles

Elevation Gain: 3409’

Time: 6.5 hours


I’ve been excited to head to the Mosquito Creek/Pass area since I was here last month. I’d avoided the area in the winter in years past, thinking it would be closed, but the 2WD dirt road in is actually plowed quite a ways.


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In fact, it’s plowed at least past the turnoff to Mosquito Pass, which is where I parked.


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I started on the trail at 5:30am, wearing my snowshoes. I kept them on all day even though they were overkill at times. The 4WD road was impassible in a vehicle, with the conditions ranging from bare dirt to ice and drifts with several feet of snow.


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I followed the road, making fresh tracks as I went


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Passing the London Mill


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And hiking along the road for a few more yards until I reached the junction of 12 and 856. Here I turned left (west) and followed the snow covered dirt road


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The road was covered in drifted snow and difficult to walk in, even with snowshoes. Around this time the ptarmigans began to wake up and the sun started to rise. I could see the white birds flying against the pink landscape and thought to myself how lucky I was to be here right now.


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I continued following the road around London Mountain towards the North London Mine


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From the mine is where things got a bit tricky, as the road I was supposed to take was covered in snow.


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It didn’t start out difficult, but about a quarter of the way to the London/Kuss saddle I switched my trekking pole for my ice axe. The path felt similar to the alleyway on Kit Carson and I was glad I was wearing my snowshoes: a lot of the snow was consolidated but every few steps I’d sink up to my knees in an unexpected drift.


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I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally made it to the saddle. From here it was a straightforward hike up the ridge.


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I kept my snowshoes on, and they became helpful towards the end


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Cool findings at the top


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Also, it was windy


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Making this a loop, next I was headed for Mosquito Peak. There were cornices the entire way, but sticking to the ridge it was easy to avoid any danger. Snowshoes here were overkill but I was too lazy to take them off.


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Looking back up at Kuss Peak


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And up the ridge to Mosquito Peak


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Snowshoes were helpful once again for the final push to the summit


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Summit photo


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I was anxious to finish this ridge loop before the wind picked up this afternoon so I didn’t stay long on the summit of Mosquito Peak. I turned towards Treasurevault Mountain and immediately slipped on the soft scree/snow mix, landing on my knee. Wonderful. I could tell before I even hit the ground it was going to hurt, but picked myself up right away and headed down the side of the mountain, more careful now, realizing the snow was sugary atop loose scree and talus.


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At the Mosquito/Treasurevault saddle I saw a bunch of mining equipment, which I thought was pretty neat for 13K+.


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Here’s looking back up at the scree/snow that is the ridge down from Mosquito Peak


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And a look up the ridge to Treasurevault Mountain. All three of these peaks had similar ridges to their summits. Snowshoes were nice.


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There weren’t any rocks to set up my camera on and my trekking pole was tied to my backpack so I just set it up on the snow for a picture. Not the best, but it gets the point across.


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Completing the loop turned into a really long ridge hike from Treasurevault over to Mt Tweto, which felt more like 2 ridge hikes


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The cornices were fun to look at along the way


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Just before the saddle with Mt Tweto the wind really began to pick up. I’d considered re-summiting Mt Tweto again today, but with the increased winds thought it would be best to just head back. I’m kind of kicking myself for that decision now…


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There was a lot less snow here today than there had been last month. Here’s the route back into the basin


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And back up towards the saddle for Mt Tweto


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Hiking out of the basin I aimed for the trail I’d hiked on the way in, making this upper part a loop


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The snow here was sugary and I kept sinking to my knees while wearing snowshoes. Here’s another view of the route I’d taken up to the London Mine. On my way out I was just headed back towards the road, as all the 4WD roads in the area were covered with snow and I couldn’t find them.


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Here’s a look back at my trek out of the basin


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I followed the snow packed 4WD road back out


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And just before making it to the road noticed a recent (and small) avalanche slide.


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I made it back to my truck at noon, just as it was starting to get really gloomy out. It felt like snow was approaching.


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This was a really fun and easy winter hike. I look forward to exploring more of the area this winter, but will most likely do so from the South London Mine side next time.


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

Up there the day before
01/06/2020 15:45
I see my footprints hadn't completely blown away on Mosquito.


TomPierce
The afternoon winds...
01/06/2020 16:21
Maybe you made the right call about the wind. I was nearby yesterday, up on Silverheels, and in the late afternoon the wind was pretty stiff and annoying. Almost knocked me over a couple of times. Glad you had a good time,

-Tom

PS: Don't mean to be nosey (but you've raised it in past TR's): How is your Raynaud's? Has your body adapted, or is it just something you put up with? Just curious, you've certainly persevered through it, way to go.


WildWanderer

No blue toes
01/07/2020 07:55
LetsGoMets: Nice work getting a snowflake!

TomPierce: yeah, the clouds and wind picked up as the day went on. The cold I can deal with (kind of) but the wind makes it miserable :/ As for my Raynaud's, "no blue toes" is one of my goals this year. I've learned a ton of tricks, (things like hiking with a jetboil to make warm water to warm up my hands and wearing snowshoes from the beginning of a hike to prevent my feet from postholing and getting cold prematurely), I've bought better gear and have found prevention is key. I still get really cold really fast, I cannot take off my gloves (ever, no matter what) and my feet are blocks of ice when I get back from hiking, but so far, no blue toes!


Altitude High

Snowshoes
01/08/2020 19:22
Wondering what kind of snowshoes you have. I can't really tell from the pics. And do you like them, or thinking of upgrading?


Phill the Thrill

Nice trip report!
01/09/2020 08:37
Thanks for sharing!


WildWanderer

Snowshoes
01/09/2020 08:41
Currently have MSRs, and they work well. I had trekkers before that ($60 on Amazon) and I actually liked those better due to their ratchet bindings. The only thing better about the MSRs are the heel risers, which are totally worth the extra cost. I'm not a fan of their bindings (too much work for my gloved hands).


TomPierce
Snowshoe ideas
01/09/2020 09:24
Altitude High (and WW): If you're ever on the market for new snowshoes, consider Tubbs Mountaineers. I've had them for a long time, I think I've now entered my second decade with them, got them after my old Sherpa snowshoes bit the dust. IMO they are great backcountry tools, tough as sh*t. Beefy decking, heel risers, stainless steel multi-directional crampon. And yes, WW, mitten-friendly ratchet bindings. I've looked at the MSR's before and didn't like the attachment mechanism, heard a few complaints. Some like them, I like the Tubbs better. Just me.

-Tom


WildWanderer

Thanks Tom!
01/09/2020 14:31
I'll keep those in mind when I'm in the market for my next pair



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