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Peak(s):  Unnamed 13223  -  13,223 feet
Unnamed 13144  -  13,144 feet
Date Posted:  10/18/2020
Modified:  10/20/2020
Date Climbed:   10/10/2020
Author:  bergsteigen
 Bag and Tag some scrambly Elks before the weather turns   

13,180B & 13,140

  • Mileage: 11.29
  • Elevation gain: 4,144'
  • Trailhead: Rustler Gulch (4WD)
  • Partners: solo
  • Class: 3

Since I was coming back to the Crested Butte region to hike Belleview, I wanted to explore the area for peaks that require a snow to climb to not be insane. (Ie skiing - YAY!) I saw the trail going up Rustlers Gulch just to the east of Belleview, and figured I could at least just hike up there and get a view of what I was up against. I looked at my remaining 13er map, and noted there was one I could access fairly easily. 13,140 or is it 13,130? On my website list that I got from LOJ many years ago, it is known as 13,130. But when I tried to find TR's for it here, it says that it has none. I found that strange. It would seem that after a bunch of people ran the crazy Pyramid/Maroon ridge line, the peak number changed. So just finding beta at all for it was difficult. (No, I wasn’t going to read the Mega-la-TR’s, as they would t out much about this ridge section) I found a TR on LOJ that was just a gpx & map with a time: 11hrs. So I looked at nearby peaks, 13,180B for more info, and there I stumbled on ChicagoTransplants TR, where he went from Belleview. Ha! Looked like I could combo these two peaks fairly easily. Or at least I could go up 13,140 and scope it out.

Since I had a couple Zoom meetings on Friday, I had a nice day off between hiking. Once free from work, I drove up Rustler Gulch road to check things out. The road is pretty intense right after the stream crossing. A couple of very tight and steep switchbacks. So I walked it, then drove to the next campsite. Walked again, and ended up walking to the trailhead itself. The trailhead has minimal spots to park or even turn around. While looking at the trailhead, an older couple was coming out from hiking the trail, and we got to talking. I ended up walking down the road with them to their vehicle, which was parked at the absolute perfect campsite! So once they left, I drove up and had a wonderful campsite to enjoy the nice warm afternoon. It was only 0.3mi from the trailhead, so I also started from my campsite as well, since my truck was in the shade.

I started at around first light, after multiple vehicles made their way up the road, which is quite heavily traveled. Soon after getting on the trail, the sun started rising, and the views of Gothic were quite pretty.

Sunrise pink
Sunrise and fall bushes

Stream crossing

I was making quick time up the trail and the sun was barely still hitting the peaks above me. Less than a 2 hour approach to where I left the trail to go up into the drainage between 13,140 and Precarious.

12er Belleview

I turned before the washed out gully and went up a very very steep grassy slope with some willows and stunted trees. Eventually I got up a lot of elevation and the sun reached my position to warm me up, which wasn't needed with all that steep elevation gain - I was already pretty hot!

Steep grassy ascent
Looking down valley from the steep grassy slope

Once I got to the upper valley I got a view of what was ahead. The gpx I had from Alyson Kirk showed her going up farther to the saddle with Precarious, before turning up to 13,140. To me that looked to be all steep talus and cliffs. I looked to my left at the ridgeline from 13er Belleview and West Maroon Pass - the one from ChicagoTransplant's TR, and it was just another steep grassy slope all the way to the ridge! Well duh! That's the best way. I knew the ridge went on that side.

Grassy slope to ridge
Steep talus to 13,140... no thanks

So up, up, up I went on some more steep grass. At least every step I took was stable and didn't move! Nothing like gaining all the elevation in a large single push!

From the top of the ridge, it didn't look too bad, a few rocky spots, but nothing to be concerned about.

Ridge to 13,140
Slab fun!

Once getting onto of the false false summit, I could see the true summit off to the right of the ridge line to 13,180B. So I contoured over and attained yet another Elk 13er summit.

13,140 summit from false false summit
Looking down the slope that Alyson Kirk took - no thanks!

13140 Pano north

13,140 pano southeast

Ridge to 13,180B from summit
13,180B zoom

Len Shoemaker Peak (skiing this one on the other side)

Precarious looks precarious
Golden Tops

I didn't spend too much time on the summit, since I knew the ridge to 13,180B would involve scrambling, and that's always time consuming. There is a decent climbers trail that is visible along much of the route, but still the route finding + scramble enjoyment took me 1:40 to complete. The return was less than an hour. So plan accordingly!

I got to the false summit, and found the first class 3. It was a fairly exposed blocky descent. A little intimidating, but it is the hardest part of the entire ridge. With the sun in my face, I got better photos on the return.

Ridge overview
Start of ridge after first class 3 section

On top of the exposed class 3 section

After the first class 3, and then a little bit of narrowness, the ridge widens and had some nice smooth angled slabs to walk along. At the next white rock, there is the next class 2+ down climb.

Looking down the class 2+
Look back at class 2+

In the center saddle area of the ridge it looked to get very complicated, but there was always a simple route around or through. Some minor scrambling, but no real exposure like the first move on the ridge.

Exciting ridge features are nice to look at

Another easy scramble

Halfway view of 13,180B
Halfway look back on 13,140

Starting up the other side of the ridge, I found one of the few loose talus zones, thankfully it was short - so it wouldn’t detract too much from the enjoyment factor!

Loose talus scramble

Looking back on 13,140

When I got up to the false summit scramble, I thought it was the true summit, so I decided to leave my hiking poles. Then I got on top, and realized I had farther to go!

False summit of 13,180B
Class 3 false summit block

Looking at the true summit from false

The final pitch up to the summit was also loose talus, but you can stick to the solid areas, mostly.

Loose summit scramble

Was nice to get to another Elk 13er summit, that didn't involve loose death terrain! This was actually enjoyable! AND I get to go back along the ridge too! Bonus! Still didn't take too much time on the summit, since I had a ways to go back and down to my truck.

13,180B pano north

13,180B pano south

The Bells

Was nice to see my peak from 2 days ago across the valley, as well as seeing future 13ers. I do like getting my own eyes on peaks.


The descent off 13,180B wasn't great for the first few feet, but then was back to enjoyable again.

View directly off summit, down route
Looking down from top of false summit blocks

Once down the initial summit scrambling, it was an easy stroll without all the route finding (not like it was that tough with tracks)

Looking towards 13,140
Looking back on 13,180B with sunshine on the route - loose section behind the green tree

For the most part, I stayed on the ridge proper for much of the way. Only a few spots I dodged a little to the right or left. I never found ChicagoTransplants golden ledge, but I didn't need it apparently.

Back on the slabby section near 13,140
Approaching the stout class 3 up to 13,140 false summit

I got to the final exciting class 3 scamble, and finally got a decent photo without sun in the lens.

Exposed class 3 at start of ridge

I got up on the false summit, and took a quick break to enjoy the views some more.

Bells shadows

From there, I retraced my steps back along the ridge and then down my first steep grass slope. I decided to cut a corner on my route, and found myself on stupid steep scree-grass. I should have just gone the slightly longer way, it would have been faster!

As I made my way down the super duper steep grassy slope back to the nice easy trail, I got views of the intimidating Elk 13ers in the sun. Dang, they look intense! Can't wait to see them with some sexy snow on their flanks!

Precarious, Cassi and Golden Tops from steep grassy slope
Precarious, Cassi and Golden Tops from the trail

Once back on the trail, the exit was very fast, since the slope was very mellow and the trail was quite smooth.

One final view up valley

I didn't expect to like these unnamed peaks so much! Not bad for rolling the dice, something that hasn't gone well on other rolls this season. But now I have my own beta for future missions in the region!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Those look fun...
10/19/2020 3:28pm
And a beautiful area too. Nice combo!

Worth it!
10/20/2020 11:50am
Andrew - Your car would only add on 2mi and ~600‘, since you would park before the stream crossing. You will enjoy these!

10/20/2020 6:55pm
We are prioritizing an Elks trip for next summer (spent more time in San Juans this year). These will be on the list!

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