Peak(s):  "Magdalene Mtn"  -  13,762 feet
Date Posted:  10/01/2020
Date Climbed:   08/28/2020
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Some Rainy Friday   

After our two-week trip to the San Juan Mountains in August, Randy had two of Colorado's bicentennial (200 highest) peaks left: "Magdalene Mountain" (13,762') in the Sawatch and Mt. Powell (13,580') in the Gore Range. Randy decided that Mt. Powell would be a better finisher, and I have to agree.

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. Randy and I drove up the washboard County Road 390 to Rockdale, where we turned and drove past a parked ramp truck to the Clear Creek crossing. The steep climb out of the creek is the crux of 4WD road to Clohesy Lake. About a mile up the road, someone's vehicle was getting an expensive tow down the road, and the reason for the ramp truck at Rockdale became apparent.

We set up our tent about 1/4 mile before the end of the road. Avalanche debris soon blocks the road, so there's no point in trying to continue farther. Tomorrow's weather forecast wasn't good (60% chance of afternoon rain), and we hoped the rain would wait until we were off Magdalene Mountain.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. We followed the trail south past Clohesy Lake and managed to lose the trail in the dark. Back on the trail again, we continued over the pass between "Pear Peak" (13,462') and Emerald Peak (13,904') to Pear Lake, where the trail ends.

Looking southwest at Pear Peak from the trail to the Pear Peak - Emerald Peak pass

Looking northeast at Emerald Peak as we neared the Pear Peak - Emerald Peak pass

Magdalene Mtn. and Pear Lake from near the Pear Peak - Emerald Peak pass

As we descended on the trail to Pear Lake, we could see someone packing up a tent near the lake. By the time we reached the north side of Pear Lake, that person was gone. We contoured SSE toward Magdalene Peak and then climbed ESE toward Magdalene's western summit.

Lots of tedious scree awaited us on the way toward Magdalene Mountain's 13700' western summit

From Magdalene's western summit, the true summit is an easy stroll. Mt. Harvard is in the distance to the left of Magdalene Mtn.

A prospect not too far from the Magdalene's summit

Mt. Harvard from the summit of Magdalene Mtn., with unfriendly clouds nearby

Looking north from the summit of Magdalene Mtn. toward Emerald Peak, Iowa Peak, and Missouri Mountain

Looking west from the summit of Magdalene Mtn., with its western summit at left

In 1994, the peak was known as "Silver King Peak." The register's still in good condition.

Even though though a CMC register has been on the summit for close to 30 years, someone also left a makeshift register. We signed both.

Looking NW toward Pear Lake from Magdalene's western summit, with unfriendly clouds in the distance

Another view from Magdalene's western summit. Yes, that looks like the 60% chance of rain in today's weather forecast

Given the clouds in all directions, we hustled back to Pear Lake. Rain began before we reached the lake, but it felt good for Randy to reach 201/202 bicentennial peaks. (A five-way tie for no. 198 results in 202 bicentennial peaks, not 200.)

We returned to our campsite, packed up, and drove past Vail for an attempt on Mt. Powell tomorrow from the Piney Lake trailhead. The weather forecast was less than ideal: a 40% chance of rain in the morning and 80% chance of afternoon rain/thunderstorms.

Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. We got an early start in an attempt to stay ahead of the afternoon rain, figuring we wouldn't care if the rain began as we descended from Mt. Powell. Unfortunately, steady rain began about 6:30 AM, and about 200' below Kneeknocker Pass we decided to call off today's climb. A finisher peak should be fun, not a slog in the rain, so we decided to return over Labor Day weekend when the weather would be better. Mt. Powell won't be going anywhere, right?

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

10/02/2020 07:25
Just collecting data on that creek crossing here... what kind of car do you drive? I'm starting to get the vibe that the exit after the crossing is a little overhyped and most likely doable for stock high-clearance.


Clear Creek Crossing
10/02/2020 09:53
Patrick: We drove Randy's stock 3rd-generation 4Runner. The exit from the creek crossing definitely had gotten a lot worse since I was there in Sept. 2016, but on 8/30/2020 someone smoothed out the road with a bunch of rock and made it a lot more drivable.

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