Peak(s):  Jackson, Mt  -  13,670 feet
PT 13,433  -  13,433 feet
Date Posted:  10/20/2020
Date Climbed:   10/14/2020
Author:  WildWanderer
 From Cross Creek  

Mt Jackson – 13,670 & UN 13433


20823_01


RT Length: 28.33 Miles

Elevation Gain: 6674’


I’m not entirely sure why I chose this approach, but I wouldn’t recommend it; the route finding below treeline is arduous. In any event, if you still want to do this hike, this is how I climbed Mt Jackson and 13433.


I arrived at the Cross Creek Trailhead and was the only vehicle in the lot. It’s a poorly designed lot that doesn’t offer much room but can fit 5-6 cars if everyone parks nicely. It looks more like a horse corral than a parking lot, and there’s not a lot of room to turn a vehicle around. There is parking across the way as well. I arrived and left in the dark, so unfortunately, no pictures of the trailhead. I was on the trail at 3:45am. Cross Creek trail starts behind obvious signage at the west end of the parking area.


20823_02


This is an easy to follow class 1 trail. There’s a new bridge to cross over Cross Creek, and some nice stairs to ascend.


20823_03


After hiking for 3 miles I came across some avalanche debris on the trail. As I was navigating at night I stepped over a log, and instead of hitting solid ground my right foot sank in watery mud up to my thigh.


20823_04


I quickly extricated myself and did a quick assessment. My shoe and pants were soaking wet, cold, and covered in a layer of mud. It was only around 5am, 30 degrees outside, and I had a serious decision to make. Did I turn around now or continue hiking? I was worried I’d eventually have a Raynaud’s attack, especially if I didn’t dry out before making it to treeline (where it would be windy: I could already hear trees snapping all around me in the dark). I cursed myself for not bringing at least an extra pair of socks. In the end I decided the only way to dry off would be to keep moving, and I could do that either by heading back or forwards, so I continued on. I followed this class 1 trail for a total of about 8.5 miles as it paralleled Cross Creek, staying straight at the Grouse Mountain Trail Junction (but noting where it was in case I wanted to make this a loop).


20823_05


After hiking for 8.5 miles I crossed a stream and the real route finding began


20823_06


After crossing the stream, I turned right and headed straight up the mountainside, passing a small pond to my left. There is no trail here, and the bushwhacking is intense. I passed several sets of bear tracks while route finding here.


20823_07


20823_08


20823_09


I’d gained 800’ of elevation in 1 mile heading northwest when I came upon a trail! Woot! This was a pleasant surprise. It looked like a game trail, but every now and then I’d see a cairn.


20823_10


I followed this trail southwest for just over half a mile, until it suddenly ended.


20823_11


There was a cairn here, but it didn’t seem to lead anywhere. I went about 20 yards in every pertinent direction and couldn’t locate a trail. The snow on the ground wasn’t helping. I got out my map and realized I’d gone too far south, so I turned right and headed north up this drainage.


20823_12


At the top of the drainage I headed west. You can see how much fun route finding was here as well. I kept wishing for treeline so I’d have a visual of my route. On a positive note, my shoes and pants had dried out, so while I was still dirty, at least I was dry.


20823_13


I also passed more bear tracks here. These tracks had a different gait than the ones I’d encountered before, so I figured there were multiple bears in the area.


20823_14


Hiking west eventually led me to a marshy area, and here I was finally able to get a good view of where I was headed


20823_15


I skirted the marshy area to the south and then headed southwest. It’s important to head up over the rocky area and not stay low because going low will lead you to a large rock wall bordering a pond with no way to cross. Here’s an overall view of the route


20823_16


And step by step up the (first) gully


20823_17


And second and third gullies. This was really just one long gully that leveled out at times and started again. The snow was bothersome because it was sugary and every once in a while, I’d posthole. It did make me roll my eyes at being worried my feet would be wet from the swampy water: the snow had made sure of it.


20823_18


At the top of this long gully I continued southwest


20823_19


Until I hit another (you guessed it) gully. It was here the battery in my camera died and I had to switch to using my cellphone (I’m still figuring out my new camera, and the battery seemed to die rather quickly).


20823_20


Here I got my first good look at the upper basin. There are several routes I could have taken from here. I’d heard there was a path up the north side of 13433, but I wanted to gain the saddle between UN 13433 and Mt Jackson. I figured my best shot for today would be to stay high and hugging the south side of Mt Jackson. Here’s my overall route


20823_21


And step by step.


20823_22


20823_23


The ground here was surprisingly stable, I just had to watch out for rolling rocks every now and then


20823_24


Here’s how I gained the saddle


20823_25


Up until this point I wasn’t sure which peak I was going to climb first. I had the possibility of making this a loop (coming back down via the Grouse Mountain trail), but once I got to the ridge I was able to feel the wind I’d been hearing all morning. Winds were predicted at 20-25mph, sustained, with 45mph gusts. They were at least that. And brutally cold. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make one mountain today, let alone three. I got out my balaclava and heavy-duty winter gloves, turned right, and headed north to the summit of Mt Jackson. This was a fairly easy ridge hike.


20823_26


20823_27


I summited Mt Jackson at noon. The summit was relatively flat.


20823_28


Mt Jackson:

The wind was blowing so hard all the straps on my gear were slapping me in the face and several times I had snot fly into my sunglasses. Ah, to be a mountaineer! I turned and headed back the way I came, bracing myself against the wind as I made my way towards the Mt Jackson/13433 saddle.


20823_29


From the saddle here’s looking back at Mt Jackson and up at 13433


20823_30


It was a short and simple ridge hike to the summit of 13433. I summited at 1pm.


20823_31


UN 13433:

Here’s a view of Mt Jackson from 13433


20823_32


At this point I couldn’t feel my fingers, so I quickly retraced my steps back to the saddle. The wind refused to let up, and was blowing loudly long after I left the ridge. I saw two crows playing with the currents above the saddle.


20823_33


Here’s my route back down into the basin


20823_34


20823_35


And down the gullies


20823_36


20823_37


Here’s how I ascended the rock to avoid the pond to my left


20823_38


And headed back out of the marshy area


20823_39


20823_40


Let the route finding begin again. I tried to re-trace my steps, but it just wasn’t happening. I kept looking for my original route in, but finally realized that wasn’t going to happen. I knew Cross Creek Trail was below me, and as long as I headed down and east I’d eventually run into it. So I headed east.


20823_41


20823_42


After wandering down and east and down and east I connected up with Cross Creek Trail and followed it back to the trailhead. I heard trees snapping in the wind the entire hike back. They’d make a loud, booming sound I initially thought was rockfall, except there were no reverberations from rockslides, just a loud crack and boom!


20823_43


20823_44


I got back to my truck at 8pm, making this a 28.33 mile hike with 6674’ of elevation gain in 16 hours, 15 minutes.


20823_45


20823_46






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


 Comments or Questions
9patrickmurphy

Bushwhack
10/21/2020 07:42
I found that basin to be pretty unique, and I'm quite glad I spent some time up there. But I feel "arduous" is too generous a descriptor for that bushwhack. 2,000 solid feet of elevation of constant, steep, thick bushwhacking. Props to you for doing this in a single day, I was destroyed after the ~10-mile RT from camp.

I'm curious, have you done any other routes that have had a worse bushwhack than Jackson, or does this one take the cake? Certainly the worst I've done.


WildWanderer

Bushwhacking
10/21/2020 08:24
This was definitely one of the worst as far as 13ers go, mainly because it lasted for so long and without a clear visual I was always wondering if I was in the best place at the time, but close contenders are Rinker Peak's east ridge, 13626 from Grouse Canyon (I got 3 ticks on that one), heading down from "Campbell Creek Peak", and heading down from Ervin Peak. Great job getting this route done!


9patrickmurphy

Thanks!
10/21/2020 15:26
You too! Are you done for the season? Your TR for Quarter seems to imply that'll be the last bi for the season, but only five to go! I'd bet you're getting just a tad bit tired of the drive all the way to the San Juans every weekend though.


WildWanderer

Nope :)
10/21/2020 15:57
I'm never done hiking, I just switch my plans Luckily, I LOVE to drive, so while it's a trek to the San Juans I don't mind too much. I'm headed to Las Vegas this weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday, and when I get back the weather will be much colder. That's when I'll switch to hiking and repeating 14ers/13ers with friends or State/County Highpointing. I'd love to finish my last 5 bicentennials this year, but they're all a ways into the backcountry and I'm afraid it'll be too cold for my body to handle backpacking, so they'll need to wait until the mountains thaw out from snow next year. Until then, I'll be working on tricentennials.


9patrickmurphy

Naturally
10/21/2020 16:06
My question was poorly worded. One never "finishes" in this hobby!



   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.




© 2021 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.