Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
PT 13,795  -  13,795 feet
Whitecross Mtn  -  13,542 feet
"Every Mtn"  -  13,691 feet
"Cooper Creek Pk"  -  13,688 feet
Wood Mtn A  -  13,660 feet
PT 13,688  -  13,688 feet
Gravel Mtn A  -  13,577 feet
Seigal Mtn  -  13,274 feet
"Animas Forks Mtn"  -  13,722 feet
Date Posted:  09/02/2020
Modified:  09/21/2020
Date Climbed:   08/10/2020
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack, alexhenes
 Everything's Coming Up Roses   

Monday, Aug. 10, 2000. Having finished the Cataract Lake backpacking portion of our trip, we drove to American Basin where our primary goal was Unnamed (UN) 13795. We headed up the Handies Peak trail but didn't stay long once we reached the summit. Instead, we headed east along the ridge toward UN 13795. The ridge to UN 13795 is fairly long (about 1.5 miles) but not difficult, and we were able to follow informal trails much of the way.

Looking down the Handies Peak trail

American Peak from the Handies Peak trail

The south ridge of Handies Peak

Lichen on a rock along the Handies Peak trail

UN 13795 from the summit of Handies Peak

Wetterhorn Peak (center) from Handies Peak

Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak in the distance, with the much closer Whitecross Mountain visible to the right as seen from Handies Peak

Half Peak from UN 13795

Colorful lichen on a rock on UN 13795

Rock formations below the summit area of UN 13795

The summit block of UN 13795 is getting closer

A look at the Handies Peak - UN 13795 ridge as we headed back to Handies

We returned to Handies Peak, where there was no shortage of people with cardboard signs (including one showing the wrong elevation for Handies). Randy and I decided to split up so Randy could descend via Grizzly Gulch and climb Whitecross Mountain (13,542’) along the way.

Looking north from Handies Peak

UN 13795 (left) and Handies Peak as seen from the summit of Whitecross Mountain

Randy's grassy descent route from Whitecross Mountain

Looking back at Grizzly Gulch

The Grizzly Gulch trail

I returned to American Basin, drove to Burrows Park and set up camp in one of the few available campsites, and then waited in the old cabin for Randy. Meanwhile, Randy left the Grizzly Gulch trail and headed ENE up the ridge to the summit of Whitecross Mountain. He descended more directly to the Grizzly Gulch trail and moved quickly enough that I only had to wait about 45 minutes in the cabin.

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2000. Today’s goals were “Every Mountain” (13,691’) (a contender for the silliest mountain name ever) and “Cooper Creek Mountain” (13,688’). We drove the short distance (about 0.7 miles) to the Cooper Creek trailhead and followed the trail to a mine prospect at about 12,860’. From here it was easy to head east along the ridge to the summit of “Every Mountain.”

Looking SW down the Cooper Creek drainage toward Whitecross Mountain

Looking SW down the Cooper Creek drainage toward Whitecross Mountain (zoomed view)

We passed by an old mine on "Every Mountain" and found this pump/blower interesting

Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak from "Every Mountain"

Uncompahgre Peak from "Every Mountain"

We continued southeast and south along the ridge to the summit of “Cooper Creek Mountain.” After a break on the summit, we descended north along the ridge and then headed west into the basin. After following an unnamed creek down the valley, we rejoined the Cooper Creek trail and returned to the trailhead.

Deer or elk seen below the summit of "Cooper Creek Mountain" on its north ridge

Looking back at the north ridge of "Cooper Creek Mountain"

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree below the north ridge of "Cooper Creek Mountain"

The Cooper Creek trail has been rerouted to get through this avalanche debris

A snowbridge across Cooper Creek

An old car had been converted into a trailer with some of the sloppiest welding imaginable and now was upside-down in Cooper Creek

A closer look at the car/trailer in Cooper Creek

We’d initially planned to stay at our Burrows Park campsite for another night but returned so early that we broke camp and drove to Cinnamon Pass, the starting point for tomorrow’s climbs of Wood Mountain, UN 13688, and “Animas Forks Mountain.”

It was quite windy at Cinnamon Pass, and we had to use guylines to anchor our tent to the ground. A guy on an ATV stopped to ask us how cold it would get overnight and seemed amazed that we would camp at such a high elevation. Someone else was camped about ¼ mile west of Cinnamon Pass; we would meet him tomorrow on Wood Mountain.

Campsite at Cinnamon Pass

Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2000. We awakened to the sound of high winds and frozen precipitation hitting our tent. After quickly breaking camp, we sat in our car while waiting to see if the weather improved. After about a half hour it did, so we grabbed our packs and started hiking a bit behind schedule.

We headed north across the tundra from Cinnamon Pass and eventually climbed onto the southeast ridge of Wood Mountain. Another climber was headed up the ridge, and he was clearly faster than us, so we waited on the summit of Wood Mountain for him. It turned out to be Alex Henes, who intended to climb the same peaks today. Alex and Kristi Henes own Bentgate Mountaineering in Golden, and (shameless plug alert) I encourage my fellow climbers to support local small businesses like theirs.

An old mine road heads west from near Cinnamon Pass toward Wood Mountain

Looking SW from Wood Mountain

UN 13688 from Wood Mountain

The three of us descended west to a 13,300’ saddle and then down steep loose rock into the upper reaches of Hurricane Basin. We’d heard that the third couloir along the ridge between Wood Mountain and UN 13688 would allow us to reach the ridge a bit south of UN 13688's summit, but none of the couloirs looked particularly appealing.

UN 13688 from the upper reaches of Hurricane Basin. Which couloir is the correct one?

Alex had a GPX track from someone who’d climbed UN 13688 previously, so we headed up the steep couloir suggested by this track. Who knows if it was the third couloir, but it did lead us to the ridge. Once on the ridge, it was an easy walk north to the summit of UN 13688.

The couloir we ascended to the south ridge of UN 13688

The couloir was full of loose rock and lousy handholds

Wood Mountain from UN 13688

UN 13688 from the summit of Gravel Mountain

None of us wanted to downclimb the way we’d ascended, especially when we knew that we could continue north about ½ mile to unranked Gravel Mountain (13,577’) for an easy descent into Hurricane Basin. Once in the basin, we looked at the restored historic mine buildings before heading west toward Seigal Mountain (13,274’). Because I’d previously climbed Seigal Mountain, I told Randy and Alex that I would meet them at the saddle between Seigal and a 13,708’ ridge point between Wood Mountain and Seigal.

A restored mine building in Hurricane Basin

The Golconda Boarding House in Hurricane Basin has been given a new roof and the walls reinforced with steel to stabilize the building

Gravel Mountain and UN 13688 overlooking Hurricane Basin

Alex (far left) heads toward Seigal Mountain (right)

Seigal Mountain and its south ridge

The summit cairn on Seigal Mountain

Once the three of us met at the saddle, Alex headed on to “Animas Forks Mountain” (13,722'). Randy and I did as well, just at a slower pace. We contoured west of the 13,708’ ridge point and then climbed south along the narrow ridge to the summit of “Animas Fork Mountain.” After the questionable weather this morning, we were pleased to have good weather the rest of the day.

We bypassed a 13,708' ridge point (left) on our way to "Animas Forks Mountain" (right)

The narrow ridge to "Animas Forks Mountain"

We returned to the saddle between 13,708’ ridge point and “Animas Forks Mountain” and then descended into the basin south of Wood Mountain for an easy walk back to Cinnamon Pass.

After driving through Animas Forks to Silverton, we headed to Molas Lake Campground and were happy to get the last available campsite.

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. After sleeping in late and spending some time hanging out in Silverton, we drove 22 miles south of Silverton and then 15.3 miles past Purgatory ski area to the end of Forest Road 579, where we set up camp and cooked dinner. Tomorrow's goal: Grizzly Peak B (13,738')

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

Well Done!
09/03/2020 20:32
Love the San Juans. Nice work. Bet you heard Julie Andrews singing in your heard while you were on Every Mountain.


Thanks, Gene
09/18/2020 12:27
No, but I'm hearing Julie Andrews now.

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