Peak(s):  Bartlett Mtn  -  13,400 feet
Little Bartlett Mountain, 12,935' (unranked)
Carbonate Hill, 12,060' (unranked)
Date Posted:  05/12/2020
Date Climbed:   04/08/2020
Author:  supranihilest
 Dream Sequence   

Close your eyes and begin to relax.
Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Concentrate on your breathing. With each breath you become more relaxed.
Imagine a brilliant white light above you. Focus in on this light as it flows through your body.
Allow yourself to drift off as you fall deeper and deeper into a more relaxed state of mind.
Now, as I count back from ten to one, you will feel more peaceful and calm.
Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six.
You will enter a safe place where nothing can harm you.
Five. Four. Three. Two.
If at any time you need to come back, all you must do is open your eyes.

- Excerpt from "Scene One: Regression" from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory by Dream Theater

I awoke from a dream into another. A dream inside of a dream. It was 3:30am in this dream, the one I had awoken into. My alarm played tones, once pleasant, now jarring and outlandish after the 10,000th time. I rolled out of bed and staggered to the bathroom, then back to my bedroom. I was an explorer. Some called me the Beast. I put on my winter suit. I walked to the door then into the cold to my awaiting chariot, trying not to wake my roommates, if they existed in this dream. Not a peep; why waste precious neuronal activity creating roommates that added nothing to the dream? Anton Chekov would be pleased.

The dream flashed forward. I was at the Clinton Gulch trailhead. I met an old friend there, one who had no face: the Wraith. I met a new friend there, one who had no face: the Vodyanye. Two faceless friends. We had our own dream within this dream: climb Bartlett Mountain, forbidden. We completed suiting up by lacing our boots on tight, placing hats on heads, gloves on hands. We stepped into and strapped on our snowshoes. We walked.

The snow crunched icily under our feet as we walked. It was difficult to even talk with how icy the snow was and how loud it was, making noises with our metal-clad feet and featureless faces. It was light out in the dream and the moon was setting in the azure morning.

Early morning in a sacred place. Vision: The Wraith

The initial terrain over Clinton Dam Reservoir and into the trees was exceedingly gentle, almost imperceptible in its elevation gain. Ahead of us lay the legendary Peak of the Gods, Bartlett Mountain.

Clinton Peak (left), Little Bartlett Mountain (foreground), Bartlett Mountain (rear). Vision: The Wraith

Before us lay a great cirque, and behind us lay the home of another god, Jacque Peak.

We must tread lightly.
Another deity lives here.

As we penetrated farther into the gulch the terrain leapt up around us in stark contrast to the nearly flat U-shaped valley we traveled through.

"Drift Peak" on the left with the tower-studded ridge connecting it to Clinton Peak.
Clinton Peak and Bartlett Mountain's east ridge. Vision: The Wraith

We slowly snowshoed past Carbonate Hill and then the east ridge of Little Bartlett Mountain, a route we intended to use to ascend the subsidiary peak. We neared the backside of the valley, a wall formed by Clinton's north face, where it turned hard to the west and up Bartlett's snow-laden east slopes.

The Vodyanye and the Beast with Clinton's north face and north couloirs in the background. Vision: The Wraith
Clinton and the toe of Bartlett's east ridge.
Steep lines up Clinton.

As we continued to float onward I noted that a prominent rib on Bartlett's east ridge would potentially make a good scramble and/or snow climb, as would the full east ridge.


The mountain here became more hostile. Us three spirits could feel the malevolence begin to rise as we left the easy ground behind.

So far so good. Vision: The Wraith
The Vodyanye and the Beast. Vision: The Wraith

The angle of the slope which we crunched up grew steeper and steeper as it wrapped around onto even steeper snow. The eastern slopes of Bartlett stood wide and inviting in front of us, but harbored dark secrets. Steep snow, rock more crumbly than solid, and sinister creatures lay ahead of us. It was time to commit.

It doesn't look like much but it gets quite steep. The saddle with Clinton is on the left.

We began to snowshoe towards the open slopes with the aim of stopping at a rock in the harsh sun of this dream's world. It was burning cold in the shade; burning hot in the light; our ambitions burning on the inside.

As we traveled the Vodyanye and I broke out in song.

Subconscious strange sensation
Unconscious relaxation
What a pleasant nightmare
And I can't wait to get there again

Every time I close my eyes
There's another vivid surprise
Another whole life's waiting
Chapters unfinished, fading

Closer now- Slowly coming into view
I've arrived- Blinding sunshine beaming through

- Excerpt from "Scene Two: II. Strange Deja Vu" from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater

Song and dance. Vision: The Wraith

We stopped at the rock to regroup. We were alone yet together on a quest to plumb the heights which few ever venture to. We might be transient spirits on the move, but we were all united in our quest.

The Vodyanye and the Beast plotting next moves. Vision: The Wraith

After libations and breaking bread we set out to finally enter the lair of a god. It would be steep snow from here until the summit plateau. We steeled ourselves.

The Wraith and I went straight ahead to the rib. The Vodyanye went around it on the left.

I led up ever steepening snow towards the top of a rib in the middle of the slope. It seemed like the safest way up and the Wraith followed me up until it grew too steep for her snowshoes. She cut across the slope and met with the Vodyanye who was taking a shallower route to the saddle between the two peaks.

The Vodyanye making his own heroic way. Vision: The Wraith
The Beast on moderate terrain before the steeps. Vision: The Wraith

I was now on my own. Ahead of me lay increasingly steep snow. I wasn't totally comfortable with it but the dream stayed a dream and didn't turn into a nightmare. Stability reigned.

Snow on snow on snow.
Windows Vista: Snow Edition.

I was now far ahead of the Wraith and the Vodyanye. I hauled up the snow as it softened under my snowshoes, reaching the height of the saddle at 12,900 feet, then higher and higher until my companions in this journey were no longer in sight. I just wanted to get off anything of suspect angles. If you die in a dream do you die in real life? That's not a theory I wanted to test in this meta-dream.

Clinton dwarfing the Wraith and the Vodyanye (laying on the slope).
My route up. Go fast.

Meanwhile the Wraith and the Vodyanye made their way up to the saddle where their route split. A shallow snow gully led left and ended in the sky. The ridge went right and it too ended in the sky. They took the ridge ever higher.

The gully and ridge. The gully, I believe, leads to the summit plateau and will be important to remember for later. Vision: The Wraith
The Vodyanye making his way across the toothed ridge. Vision: The Wraith
My two companions also had steep terrain to contend with. Vision: The Wraith

I waited for my partners for about 15 minutes as they climbed behind me. We all topped out below a hideous summit pyramid, the first clear sign that this route would straddle the line between benign dream and malignant nightmare.

Probably 40-60 feet of heinous choss. The snow was steep and exposed and the rock was stacked talus all the way up. Vision: The Wraith
The ridge in profile, potentially the only way up this thing.

We all gawped at the pyramid. The god of this mountain was an angry, vengeful god, one prone to fiery, explosive outburst and with massive, gnashing, metal teeth. This god shaped its domain into one in its own image, one of towering fury ready to crash over onto interlopers and of crumbling rock so soft that a glance could collapse the very walls of the dream onto the dreamer. This house of cards ready to unleash violence upon us made us second guess our climb of Bartlett. We knew the summit block was an extremely sketchy Class 3 but this was something else. I hadn't gone up it despite having the time since it looked too awful. This just couldn't have been the summit.

Beyond the pyramid and across the summit plateau was another outcropping, this one looking even more loose but less severe. Our treasure maps, carefully laid to parchment by our forebearers, showed that the true summit was on this other outcropping. It wasn't far away, and most of the terrain in between was flat, but a steep and absurdly loose down climb was needed to get beyond the pyramid. I went first, gripping the rock as I made my way down the icy chute. The rock of the pyramid was of almost no use, it simply sloughed off the wall and disintegrated in my hands. I kept my snowshoes on and used them to kick into the slope, but it didn't work all that well. I carefully picked my way down the chute hoping I wouldn't be going for a ride, even though it was short. I'm not sure this was what I'd call climbing on steep, icy snow and disintegrating rock in snowshoes and without an axe, and it left something to be desired. The earlier gully from the saddle mentioned previously would have provided direct access to the flats, but there was no getting into it now except this way.

It doesn't look too bad from this angle. Vision: The Wraith
But this doesn't look as fun.

We walked across the summit plateau, wary of any of the god's minions who might be up there catching foolhardy adventurers such as ourselves, but there was no evidence of any recent passings. Perhaps this god was also arrogant and didn't expect anyone to have made it this far, so no sentries were posted. The closer we got to the secondary summit outcrop the more apparent it became that there was absolutely nothing solid on this entire mountain. No wonder this god was so angry; its mountain was collapsing even without any supernatural assistance.

How this doesn't just collapse is beyond me. It must be magic.
Cool but scary looking.
Absolutely awful choss.

Fortunately this pile, despite being far more loose, had a better way to its top. It provided an access ramp on its far side which we could then traverse back on snow to the short bump on the near end. We hoped that this was, in fact, the true summit, since we didn't want to climb back up that collapsing slope nor the pyramid of death.

All loose trash but it sloped down to give access on the far side.
Not fun to climb but not going to kill either.
Two tiers to the top.
The Beast en route to the summit. Vision: The Wraith
Bartlett's still sketchy but now merely Class 2 summit. The tower on the left is the pyramid and all agreed that it was shorter. Vision: The Wraith

We quickly backtracked to the start of the summit pile and took stock of our situation. We had guessed we had been spotted by the minions yet we still had two summits we wished to plunder. If we were fast we could tag them without sufficiently angering the god and bringing wrath down upon us. We didn't put our snowshoes on and opted to just posthole down the mix of rocks and snow in an effort to save time.

Little Bartlett on the right. The Climax mine is peeking out on the left edge.
The mine. Surely we've been spotted now.
Looking back up at Bartlett from the saddle.

The god had built a road up Bartlett for its war machines, both for the purpose of resource extraction as well as defense, should it be necessary. However the road was too snowy for the war machines and we didn't have as much to worry about here. We still moved swiftly and found ourselves on the summit of diminutive Little Bartlett Mountain quickly.

The snow would prove too deep for the god's minions and war machines.
A couple hundred feet to go.
The largest summit cairn I've maybe ever seen. It was taller than any of us.
Bartlett from its Little companion.
Left to right: Pacific Peak, Atlantic Peak, "Drift Peak" (foreground ridge), Wheeler Peak (near center), Clinton Peak, Bartlett Mountain, Sawatch Range.

We took a short break and contemplated going down Little Bartlett's east ridge back into Clinton Gulch but that was too steep for any of our tastes. We decided to take the risk of dropping back to the saddle and then west onto the road farther down - where it was plowed - and make a break for Carbonate Hill. We wore our snowshoes to the saddle then once again took them off as the steep hillside down was dry. Loose rock and dirt kept us on our toes. This would not be a place to fall and injure ourselves. We carefully picked down and met at a switchback.

The Vodyanye coming down from the top, about 900 feet in total.

Minions were surely gathering to stop our quest but we paid no heed. We would outrun the hordes. We quickly donned our snowshoes and busted down towards Carbonate Hill, a barely there bump that really shouldn't be anything yet somehow is. At this point we were going away from the mine, which was good. We figured we were in the clear at this point but didn't stop to waste time on Carbonate. It was a joke of a "peak" anyway, what with 40 feet of prominence, but it is officially named in the great and mystic Geologic Names Information System and therefore it must be "climbed".

That almost invisible bump where grass meets snow? That's Carbonate Hill.
A bit close for comfort.
Little Bartlett and Bartlett.

All we had to do now was get back to the gulch and we'd be home free. No more angry gods. No more gnashing, bloodthirsty minions. No war machines. Just our primitive lands and lives, free. We continued north along the now broad ridge looking for a way into the trees. The eastern margin of the ridge fell away steeply most of the way and had a small cornice to boot.

Out of harm's way.

The Wraith and I dropped down on a short section of more moderate snow between chunks of the cornice and ran into the trees. The Vodyanye continued north looking for better ground. The Wraith and I, now in the safety of the trees, slowed our pace and enjoyed the remaining descent to our tracks in the gulch. The forest was warm and inviting, a pleasant change from the decay of the upper mountain. The trees were thick and we had to weave around them but we cared little, throwing off the menacing nightmare which had followed for the last several hours. As we walked out onto the frozen reservoir the Vodyanye broke through the trees behind us. We had all made it. Triumphantly we returned to our chariots, happy with our foray into the Forbidden Lands and grateful that we would never have to return. We had snuck under the nose of a god and stolen its treasure. May tales of our valor and songs of our glory ring through the halls of time.

You are once again surrounded by a brilliant white light. Allow the light to lead you away from your past and into this lifetime. As the light dissipates you will slowly fade back into consciousness remembering all you have learned.

When I tell you to open your eyes you will return to the present, feeling peaceful and refreshed.

Open your eyes.

- Excerpt from "Scene Nine: Finally Free" from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater

Dream Statistics

Mythical creatures: The Beast, The Wraith, The Vodyanye
Battlefront: Clinton Dam Reservoir Trailhead
Dream distance: 9.03 miles
Dream elevation gain: 2,990 feet
Length of dream sequence: 6:45:02
Peaks of the Gods invaded: One ranked thirteener, two unranked twelvers

  • Bartlett Mountain, 13,400'
  • Little Bartlett Mountain, 12,935' (unranked)
  • Carbonate Hill, 12,060' (unranked)


Starting Neuron Ending Neuron Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir Bartlett Mountain 4:05:49 4:05:49 0:00
Bartlett Mountain Little Bartlett Mountain 0:39:24 4:45:13 14:12
Little Bartlett Mountain Carbonate Hill 0:39:13 5:38:38 0:00
Carbonate Hill Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir 1:06:25 6:45:02 Awoken From Slumber

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 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 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

Comments or Questions
Jon Frohlich

A question and an observation
05/12/2020 17:10
Did any of you mythical creatures happen to get a current elevation of this well earned summit?

Also, still not doing it. It's a myth. I'm good.


05/12/2020 17:53
No, nothing that would be accurate. I wish I had the equipment to take an accurate reading! My watch claims 13,481 feet, after adjustment, which is higher than the previous measured height. My inReach claims 13,220.21 feet, which is probably low. I'd guess it's just under the previous 13,400 foot readings, which I believe were taken when the mine was closed. The awful Class 3 tower that was the previous summit is gone in any case!

Edit: the Wraith has an unadjusted reading of 13,322 feet.


05/12/2020 19:04
The saddle to Clinton looks like 12920, so once Bartlett gets down to 13220, it will become unranked.

I've heard that the mine guys can call up sheriffs to wait at the TH for the uhhh spirits to arrive back to their cars, then accost them there.


Double secret probation
05/12/2020 22:27
Nice bag, doubly so during a lockdown.


05/12/2020 22:34
@Trotter: Yep, hopefully it won't be long before they chop the remaining 200 feet off and people can finally stop fretting about Bartlett. I think it'll be a good day when it drops off the list of ranked 13ers, since it's obviously trouble. No issue with the police on this climb, though I did think about it. I don't know how they would have known it was us without following our tracks all the way up and down Bartlett themselves. ;)

@cougar: Livin' on the edge!


05/13/2020 07:19
One of my favorite all-time albums! Good choice.


05/13/2020 12:27
@12ersRule: Scenes From a Memory is one of the greatest albums of all time, period. The story, the history with Jordan Rudess, the music (for the life of me I don't know if it's possible not to blast Beyond This Life or Home)... It's really a hard album to beat. \m/

Chicago Transplant

Cool update
05/13/2020 08:54
Nice to see what it looks like now. I climbed it in 2007 when it still had the sketchy "razor fang" summit that you couldn't even stand on. I have some zoom shots from November from Buckeye and could tell it had changed a lot. Who knows how much longer this one will be ranked, and what phases of sketchy it will still go through as it comes down. People should probably get it while its class 2, the next mined iteration may be worse than it was before!


05/13/2020 09:12
I think they're only running at 50% or so right now (or at least they were a few weeks ago), so there are likely very few people on shift now. My husband worked there last winter and heard stories about how the workers would chase people down in pickups...They really hate when people summit, couldn't even get permission for us to do it with him working there! There is also a camera up there somewhere, so maybe they take those images/video to the sheriff? No idea. But anyways, good job and great report!


Razor fang
05/13/2020 12:52
@Chicago Transplant: That's a great name for what the summit used to look like. I was expecting to find that exact thing when we climbed it but it's obviously gone now. I'm sure pictures on SummitPost etc. will show the razor fang for quite a while, though we did get Lists of John to update Bartlett's difficulty to Class 2 based on this climb. I kind of expect the "Pyramid of Death" to become the new summit eventually, and it's a truly heinous piece of choss. Here's a high res pic of it since the one in the TR is compressed:

And here's one from the side, which looked like the only feasible way up it:

Incredibly sketchy either way.

@Chelsea: That makes sense. Nobody came after us, which was good, but we did go quick on the descent and there was a lot of snow. I think most folks climb this one by moonlight so there's less chance of being seen. We did see a weird thing on a tripod on the summit plateau but didn't investigate it in case it was, in fact, a camera (or some kind of measuring device that we'd screw up). Thanks for reading!


Iron Maiden
05/13/2020 15:08
One time I saw Dream Theater open for Iron Maiden. They crushed it and Iron Maiden just sounded OK after. That's all to my story.


IM vs DT
05/13/2020 15:37
As a fan of both Iron Maiden and Dream Theater I don't know whether to be offended or readily agree. Probably the latter, as I like DT better.


Poor set list
05/13/2020 19:38
It was a bad set list (to me) from Maiden. 2010 Final Frontier tour, with the exception of a 3 song encore, the set list was all 80s and 90s basically, not my favorite era. Anyway....back to climbing.


Nice report
05/14/2020 08:19
Glad you were successful and escaped any wrath (from the loose mountain, the mine, the cops, the gods, etc).


One helluva day!
05/14/2020 09:59
I'm glad you got it, Ben.


Gettin' it got
05/14/2020 10:06
@Andrew and Jay: thanks guys, we're all glad too. If this peak was anywhere else it'd be less than exciting but it's got an edge to it for sure!

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