Peak(s):  Milwaukee Pk  -  13,522 feet
Pico Aislado  -  13,611 feet
Date Posted:  09/08/2020
Date Climbed:   09/06/2020
Author:  WildWanderer
 Isolated Peak  

Milwaukee Peak – 13,522 & Pico Aislado – 13,611


20678_01


RT Length: 13.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 4500’


We go family camping with the Girl Scouts every Labor Day weekend, and every Labor Day weekend I spend one of the 4 days hiking. I left the campsite at 1am, intent on driving up to Music Pass trailhead early in the morning when there weren’t any other vehicles on the narrow 4WD road. Just my luck, around 3:30am I ran into a rather large Ram 3500 truck, carrying a trailer in the bed, coming down the road. It took us about 20 minutes to find a way around each other. Luckily, I only had the one truck to pass. The trailhead was full of trucks however (lots of hunters). It was earlier than expected so I took a quick nap and was on the trail at 5am.


The trail starts at the west end of the parking area, and heads west.


20678_02


There’s a trail register shortly after the trailhead.


20678_03


The trail here is easy to follow


20678_04


I made it to Music Pass after hiking for 1.25 miles, and realized I’d forgotten my camera (so, sorry, selfies with my iPhone once again today). There’s an information sign here, and another trail register. Last time I opened this register 50 moths frantically flew in my face, so this time I left it closed.


20678_05


From here I followed the trail as it lost 450’ of elevation and headed northwest along Sand Creek Trail 1337. Here’s an overview of the route towards Milwaukee Peak


20678_06


And step by step, first descending into the basin. I continued straight at this crossing. Note, there were signs saying not to enter the water, as they were being treated to remove all fish from the drainage.


20678_07


I followed Sand Creek Trail


20678_08


Staying right at the second junction


20678_09


Crossing a stream at 11420’


20678_10


The last junction I came to was for Upper Sand Creek Lake and Cottonwood Pass. I turned right and headed towards Cottonwood Pass


20678_11


The trail continued through the basin. Eventually I was going to have to find a grassy ledge and follow it to an upper basin. Here’s that ledge I’d be aiming for


20678_12


But before that I had to make my way across several small streams


20678_13


There was evidence of the fish kill in the streams, as well as tons of dead worms; and bear tracks


20678_14


I came to a sign that said the trail ended, and told me to follow the cairns. The cairns were extremely helpful, but I did get lost crossing the final stream. I couldn’t figure out where to do it, but it was obvious on my way back. If you (like me) aren’t able to completely follow the cairns in the dark, cross the stream and head northwest up the side of the mountain and you’ll eventually hit the trail, as it will become obvious.


20678_15


20678_16


The trail weaves through the forest towards a grassy ramp that leads to the upper basin


20678_17


Once in the upper basin the trail ends, but there are many great cairns that will lead you to the saddle. The ‘trail’ stays to the left.


20678_18


At the end of the basin the goal is to ascend to the saddle. There are cairns that will get you there. This is the basic route


20678_19


At the saddle the trail picks up again. I turned left and headed southwest along the trail, rounding the north side of Milwaukee Peak. Here’s an overview


20678_20


And from the ridge, rounding the corner


20678_21


Once I’d rounded the corner the real fun began. Now’s a good time to put on your helmet if you haven’t already.


Here’s an overview of the rest of the hike


20678_22


And step by step. Here’s the first big obstacle. I went down here


20678_23


And came to a notch with a class 4 rock to climb. This isn’t more than 8-10 feet high. There are plenty of hand and foot holds here. Make sure to ascend to the left


20678_24


Here’s another look at the notch from a different angle. This is how you want to ascend/descend


20678_25


Once past the notch there was a narrow ledge to traverse, with a large drop off. I was toe-heeling it across this area and leaning into the mountain. This would not be a fun place to slip.


20678_26


Next, I aimed for this notch (stop at the notch, don’t go past it)


20678_27


At this notch there’s a boulder a couple feet wide blocking the path. It’s easy to hop over, but don’t. This is your indication to ascend the gully. I’ve circled where the is rock in red


20678_28


Here’s another view. In this picture the rock is circled on the left, and this is how you enter the gully


20678_29


Here’s what the gully looks like


20678_30


And here’s topping out of the gully


20678_31


From there it’s an easy (if airy) traverse to the summit. I summited Milwaukee Peak at 8:55am


20678_32


Milwaukee Peak:

From the summit of Milwaukee here’s the route over to Pico Aislado (which means ‘Isolated Peak’ in Spanish).


20678_33


In the beginning I could just stick to the ridge (better pictures of some of the obstacles here on the description of the way back, but they all stay at class 3). There were some ups and downs but nothing too difficult. At the ‘saddle’ this is the path I took, staying low, keeping under the rock line. There’s no need to stick to the ridge here, as you’ll end up losing elevation later.


20678_34


20678_35


Take note of the ‘cairn’ I’ve circled here. You’ll be aiming for it later. (It’s not actually a cairn, but it’ll look like one from below).


20678_36


I came to the last gully on this side of the mountain, turned right, and kept to the left as I ascended.


20678_37


I kept aiming for where that circled ‘cairn’ was. As soon as I found it, I turned right and followed the ridge to the summit


20678_38


I summited Pico Aislado at 10:30am


20678_39


Pico Aislado:

I headed back the way I’d come, following the ridge to the ‘cairn’ (circled in red) and then the gully back down


20678_40


I felt the gully was easier to go down than up


20678_41


Here’s the route I took back to Milwaukee Peak


20678_42


There were two difficulties on the ridge back. The first reminded me of the knife edge on Capitol, but with less exposure. I probably could have descended to avoid this, but what’s the fun in that? I went straight up and over


20678_43


The next obstacle was this class 3 rock formation. Once again, straight up and over


20678_44


Then it was an easy ridge hike back to Milwaukee Peak. I summited and headed left (northeast) to descend


20678_45


Back down the gully


20678_46


Down the mountain to the notch, which was much easier to downclimb than upclimb


20678_47


And back down the ridge to the saddle, and through the upper basin


20678_48


Here’s an overview of the route to Music Pass


20678_49


And some pictures of the class 1 trail out. The 450’ of gain up the pass isn’t that bad.


20678_50


I saw no less than a dozen hunters in the area after gaining Music Pass, all with bows and arrows. Some were knocking on trees, others were making calls, and some stood guard with binoculars. I’d seen bear tracks, marmots, and pikas, but besides that not another animal all day. I made it back to my truck at 3pm, surprised to see Strava hadn’t logged my route, so sorry, no detailed topo this time. The hike took me 10 hours to complete. I also guestimated on the elevation gain by looking at other reports. I took my mileage off my iPhone (which stated 13.7 miles, 195 floors, and 36,864 steps). Time to finish my weekend of camping! All of my girls are seniors in High School now, so this will be our last Labor Day campout.


Unfortunately, I can only upload 50 pictures per post, so here’s a link to a hand-drawn map of my route: https://wildwandererlmc.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/51.jpg?w=1024





Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 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


 Comments or Questions
jasayrevt

Great
09/08/2020 14:41
Excellent Trip Report as always. Keep writing these. I always enjoy reading them.


BostonBD

Great work! WOW!
09/09/2020 12:20
You have an abundance of stamina and always great trip reports.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.




© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.