Peak(s):  Grizzly Pk C  -  13,700 feet
McCauley Pk  -  13,554 feet
Jupiter Mtn  -  13,830 feet
Date Posted:  09/02/2020
Date Climbed:   07/31/2020
Author:  Marmot72
 Jupiter Trio from Trimble Pass   

I decided to hit Jupiter, Grizzly C and McCauley from the south. I considered a shorter approach from the scenic Lime Mesa, but chose the more customary Endlich Mesa approach because of the established trail. En route to Durango City Reservoir, I deviated from the trail to ascend the 12ers to the right, terminating in the aesthetic Sheridan Mountain (12,795). The USGS map shows a trail on the near side of Sheridan, but on my descent from the summit, all I found were annoying game trails that contoured the north slopes. After wasting 40 minutes, I contoured back to the main trail for the descent to the lake.

Rising moon and setting sun on Sheridan Mountain.

Camping is not allowed by the lake, so I continued around it and on the trail that leads to Lake Marie and also up to Silver Mesa. I didn't take the turn to Lake Marie but continued up the Silver Mesa trail. I camped on a broad grassy shelf - either the one below the 11,600 contour or above, not sure - but a camp by Lake Marie would have been prettier.

I was tired from my 12 hour work day on Friday and the drive and slog from Denver on Saturday, so I slept in and didn't hit the trail until 6:30. The trail up Silver Mesa went well. The southern end is dotted with some ponds and the whole of the mesa is interspersed with rock slabs and outcrops. The trail that is so strong up to the mesa and then along the largest pond suddenly vanished in some boggy grass and I followed cairns and posts from that point on. The cairns and posts are separate systems, but intersect in several places. Generally, the posts stick closer to the eastern edge of the mesa.

Southern end of Silver Mesa, with Sheridan in the background (taken on descent in afternoon).

The romp across the mesa made me think of Scotland or northern England, and then I found myself at Trimble pass, where the north wind, which had been calm to this point, greeted me with a steady blast. The excellent trail makes an efficient high traverse of the basin and at one point I walked an avenue of wildflowers. I followed the trail to Columbine Pass, just to look down into Chicago Basin, where I'd been 11 years ago, before turning my attention to getting over to 12,800' high pass between Columbine Lake and Hazel Lake. I had originally thought to tag the summit of unranked Hope Mtn from there, but skipped it because the morning sky did not look as clear as the forecast.

The view from Trimble Pass. Eolus center, Sunlight, Windom and Jupiter at right.

I traversed above the north shore of Hazel lake and then made an ascending traverse to the saddle between Grizzly C and McCauley. The route up McCauley was nothing more than a walk, while the way up Grizzly from the saddle appeared much more formidable.

Hazel lake and unranked Hope Mountain from the shore beneath McCauley's west face.

Grizzly C (with Windom in background) from the Grizzly-McCauley saddle.

Having read Derek's and Natalie's reports (Furthermore, Snowalien) earlier enabled me to make quick work of the route finding to reach the summit pitch for Grizzly. In short, the ridge goes until it makes sense to traverse beneath it on the right. I walked the entirety of the generous ledge beneath the squarish summit block that is a morass of slabs and pinnacles, looking for what seemed like class 4 terrain. Then I walked around the SE corner. The edge of this corner sports an airy upswept slab, but as I moved along beneath and past that, I was surprised to find easy class 3 terrain leading upward. I took that route to the summit. This was my main reason for writing this report: to let people know that Grizzly C goes at class 3 from both sides.

View N from Grizzly C. Windom dominates left, while Arrow and Vestal show their butts at center and Jagged suits its name at right.

The descent of Grizzly's north side went easily and I traversed high beneath Jupiter. I climbed a convenient gully north of point 13155 to gain the ridge, and followed the well-cairned route up to Jupiter's summit. The skies had darkened and I determined that a continuation to Aztec and then Valois would not be in the cards.

I enjoyed a snack and chatting with kmikwilliams on the summit, and then I hurried down the ridge toward Columbine Pass. At some point subsequent to the small saddle SW of point 13155, the ridge does not provide great passage, and so I'd have been better off simply dropping down to the trail from the saddle. I was halfway up the climb to Trimble pass when the wind picked up again and it began graupeling. The adverse conditions motivated me along the mesa and quickly these winds of change brought a return to sunny weather. I unlaced my shoes and soaked my feet in the large pond by the trail, opting for a quick rest in the sun over any notion of heading back up the trail for Aztec. I value efficiency in my peakbagging exploits, since time is at a premium, but I wouldn't mind a return to the southern Weminuche.

I walked down the trail to my tent, hungry for dinner and excited for the next day's itnerary of the Amherst group.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
09/03/2020 09:44
Glad you found a good route. I remember ours being an awkward squeeze off the deck, but it also quickly eased up after that.

09/05/2020 08:03
Nice work Steve, those are good peaks, glad you got them! Also, nice to see you getting into 12ers buddy haha.

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