Peak(s):  Pacific Pk  -  13,950 feet
Atlantic Pk  -  13,841 feet
Fletcher Mtn  -  13,951 feet
"Drift Pk"  -  13,900 feet
Date Posted:  07/15/2020
Modified:  07/17/2020
Date Climbed:   07/09/2020
Author:  noahgrage111
 Mayflower Cirque traverse + Pacific   

Hello! This is my first report I’ve written so hopefully the formatting is alright! Have never felt the need to do a write up as there have always been plenty of detailed reports for the 14ers but wanted to write up a report due to the limited Beta/reports on the mayflower cirque! Which includes Atlantic, fletcher, and drift. Pacific can easily be included. The loop is about 8 miles in total with a lot of intense scrambling.

I was driving home from Crested Butte last Thursday and saw a perfect forecast across the state. So instantly got the hopes up to get in a couple centennials on the way back. I heard pacific and Atlantic peak were relatively quick hikes with good scrambling on the west ridge of pacific. So I headed to Mayflower gulch to check them out. I arrived to the trailhead at 2 pm, a time I wouldn’t usually start at but felt fine with clear skies and a perfect forecast so I was excited.

Pacific’s west ridge was Awesome with lots of class 4 to low 5th class variations if you stay near ridge crest. Although I came across some nasty loose rock while descending a small tower near the start of the west ridge that was loose and hadn’t seen much traffic. If anything is too tough you can just find your way south of the ridge (right side) and regain the standard route.

20363_0120363_0220363_0420363_03I was on the summit of Pacific at 3:20 and after a nice traverse I was on the summit of Atlantic by 3:45. Staring at Fletchers gnarly north ridge connecting to Atlantic, I hatched the plan to connect it. I honestly hadn’t read much going into the traverse but felt comfortable having spent a good amount of time on high traverses. Drank some water and headed right away to fletcher. This traverse consists of 5 gendarmes or towers each with extremely loose and pretty exposed climbing that is rated 5.7 on with lots of 5.0-5.4 ups and downs.

20363_0520363_0620363_07Tower one is basically just a class 3/4 down climb that comes a few minutes after leaving Atlantic’s summit. Gendarme 2 is more difficult with some low/mid class 5 moves up the face with plenty of cracks to a ledge system that will take you off the backside. One of the hardest parts of this traverse is descending off the tops of these towers as the cliff out frequently on many sides.20363_0820363_0920363_10tower 2

Tower 3 was easily the second most difficult to me in my opinion. I started close to the ridge crest and traversed across right on some large blocks and crack covered in lichen. Although relatively stable this part was a bit sketch while soloing. Found rappel stations at the top of Tower three that are tattered but in a good spot if this traverse is done from Fletcher to atlantic20363_11Tower #3 i strayed left and went direct then cut right under the fin

20363_12Past gendarme 3

The descent is alright and once at the base of gendarme 4 you will feel significantly closer. #4 was more of the same, not necessary to top out whatsoever and the descent goes around the right side. At this point I left my phone in my bag, feeling more focused on the next pitch than I was on documenting it. I stayed direct through the 5.7 pitch on gendarme 5 which I would say is more like 5.6 or soft 5.7 but the loose blocks, exposure, and altitude definitely add an element to it! I personally wouldn’t reclimb this pitch without a rope. But I was unaware of the class 4 sneak around the right side until I read a report on mountain project. Felt totally solid through the whole pitch though and was stoked to be on the 5th gendarme with just a little more scrambling between the summit of fletcher.

20363_13Summit of fletcher looking to drift

Once this traverse is behind you, you can take a big breath. Everything remaining is far more relaxing with one tough down climb remaining 20363_16After descent of drift, looking back at the traverse from Atlantic to fletcher

The route to drift is rather short with only one difficult down climb at the notch. Which can be bypassed with class 3. But that route has its own description in detail on the site. I was on the summit of drift at 5:45 and after a steep talus descent back at the car at 6:50. Felt super happy to have done the mayflower cirque in under 5 hours and to have such a nice afternoon. All in all a good day but nothing to be underestimated. Dave cooper calls this “the most dangerous route” in his book Colorado scrambles. Although shorter it is significantly more technical than both the little bear and crestone traverse. Reminded me of the El diente - Wilson Direct traverse which navigates the organ pipes and multiple gendarmes as well, but looser. Great adventure and would highly recommend if comfortable with the grade!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
07/17/2020 15:27
Put minimal effort into editing typed up on an iPhone.

Great Beta
06/24/2021 18:02
Thanks for the stellar beta Mr. Grage. Looks like it was a splitter day

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