Log In 
Peak(s):  Unnamed 13222  -  13,222 feet
Unnamed 13340  -  13,340 feet
"El Punto"  -  13,300 feet
"Heisshorn"  -  13,411 feet
Unnamed 13377  -  13,377 feet
Unnamed 13206  -  13,206 feet
Date Posted:  09/20/2023
Modified:  09/21/2023
Date Climbed:   09/17/2023
Author:  HikerGuy
Additional Members:   hr011242
 Fun in the Cimarrons - El Punto, Heisshorn & Unnamed Neighbors   

Date: 9/17/23
Trailhead: Middle Fork (2wd dirt)
Difficulty: Class 4 (mostly 3)
Distance: 15.61 miles
Elevation: 5,834 feet
Duration: 11h 30m

Partner: Heather Ryan

This group of peaks has been on the radar for a few years but never panned out until this year. A cool, dry September day is the perfect time for a big outing up high in the Cimarrons. The road to the trailhead is an easy 2wd dirt road. Tent camping is not allowed at the trailhead, but it is okay to sleep in your vehicle. Plentiful parking available. There are some good camping spots on the drive in.

Heather and I met up at the Middle Fork Trailhead the evening before. I mostly hike solo, but was fortunate to meet Heather in 2014 when we teamed up for Capitol Peak. If you’ve had the pleasure of hiking with Heather you know she is hilarious, freaking fast and an all around awesome person. We don’t get to hike together often, but when we do it is always something fun and challenging.

Since I needed to be at work by 8am on Monday in Boulder, we settled on a 5:30am start time. I was thinking we should be able to knock it out in 11.5 hours and we nailed it. After finishing at 5pm, I left the trailhead a bit before 5:30pm and was back in Boulder just after 11pm. Long day! I may have lain down on my office floor for a nap, haha.

13,220 (13,222B) and 13,350 (13,340A)

We hiked a clockwise loop starting with 13,220 (13,222B). You head out on the Middle Fork Trail for approximately 2.3 miles at which point you take a left onto Porphyry Basin Trail. The Middle Fork Trail is cruiser. The Porphyry Basin trail has a bit of deadfall, but it's not an issue. After another mile, the trail disappears and you are in Porphyry Basin. I feel that we stayed too high in the basin and it would have been easier to stay lower before ascending the southwest-facing gully up to the saddle northwest of 13,220's summit block (see photo below for track). After you reach the saddle, the fun begins. I’m not sure what this peak is rated at, but it felt on the Class 3 side of Class 3/4. I think it was the second most difficult peak after El Punto. The route up the summit block was cairned and is pretty obvious. Test for loose holds.

You return almost to the saddle after summiting then traverse under the west side of the ridge towards 13,350 (13,340A). We encountered some snow in the north facing gully that leads to the summit ridge for 13,350. Microspikes were helpful if not mandatory here. Without snow, it would be the typical scree just like you ascended up 13,220. 13,350’s summit has a small diving board feature. It appeared solid. I stepped on it for the photo, but didn’t stand on the tip, haha.


El Punto and Heisshorn

After summiting 13,220, you get a short reprieve from the scree with a straightforward tundra walk over to El Punto. You are rewarded with a great view of El Punto’s broken north side with Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn Peaks as backdrops. Continue south around and under the northwest portion of the summit block until you find a loose southwest-facing gully. Ascend this gully then scramble up to El Punto’s summit, test for loose holds. The finish is quite airy, but not as difficult as I expected. The rock is solid here, climb with confidence. El Punto felt on the Class 4 side of Class 3/4. Return back to the loose gully then begin your traverse over to Heisshorn.

You lose quite a bit of elevation on the traverse from El Punto to Heisshorn, but the terrain is easy. Once you arrive at Heisshorn’s northeast ridge the route up is obvious. The scrambling is sustained and the rock is solid. Heisshorn is an enjoyable peak. I think this one may be rated Class 4, but it felt like Class 3 to me. It was easier than El Punto and 13,220. If your group size is greater than two, it would be best to go back down the northeast ridge to begin your traverse over to 13,382 (13,377). If there’s just two of you, you have the option to descend a loose gully just below the final ridge. It’s not that difficult, but rockfall is a major concern here. Take turns as you descend.


13,382 (13,377) and 13,215 (13,206)

Once you are below the east side of Heisshorn, traverse over to the northeast slope of 13,382 (13,377). It looks bad from Heisshorn, but once you are below the slope it’s easier than expected. It starts out loose, but turns into some fun Class 3 scrambling. The summit of 13,382 may have the best view in Colorado. Wetterhorn is right smacking there to the south, Coxcomb to the northwest and of course all of the other dramatic Cimmaron peaks. You will have to cull through a ton of Wetterhorn pics in your photo album, haha.

The traverse over to 13,215 (13,206) is straightforward and before you know it you’ve reached the last peak of the day. 13,215 is kind of a let down after the previous peaks, but you are rewarded with an up close view of Coxcomb and Redcliff. We opted to return to an east facing gully south of the summit. It starts out with some Class 3/4 grass, but relents quickly dumping you out in upper Middle Fork basin. From there it is cruiser terrain back to pick up the Middle Fork Trail for the hike out. It’s about 4.4 miles to the trailhead once you are back on the trail. Don’t forget to occasionally look up, the surrounding peaks are stunning!


Sunset from Middle Fork Trailhead on evening before hike.

Headed up the scree slopes in Porphyry Basin. Photo credit: Heather.

View of 13,350 (13,340A) as we make our way up 13,220 (13,222B). Photo credit: Heather.

Getting ready to tackle the summit block of 13,220 (13,222B). Photo credit: Heather.

I believe I am topping out on the crux section on 13,220 (13,222B). Photo credit: Heather.

Looking over at 13,350 (13,340A), up next, from atop 13,220 (13,222B).

View of Uncompahgre Peak from atop 13,220 (13,222B).

View north from atop 13,220 (13,222B). Precipice Peak at left.

Summit selfie on 13,220 (13,222B). Photo credit: Heather.

Downclimbing the crux on 13,220 (13,222B). I was able to face out, thus my Class 3 feeling for this peak. However, I did not downclimb the same line I climbed and that may have been Class 4. Photo credit: Heather.

Summit of 13,350 (13,340A). It looked solid. Photo credit: Heather.

View of Matterhorn, Wetterhorn and Heisshorn, all the horns, from atop 13,350 (13,340A).

View of Uncompahgre Peak from atop 13,350 (13,340A).

A look back at 13,220 (13,222B) from atop 13,350 (13,340A).

View of Coxcomb, Redcliff and Fortress from atop 13,350 (13,340A).

Looking down on Middle Fork Cimarron Basin from atop 13,350 (13,340A).

El Punto, The Point!

Approaching El Punto's summit. Photo credit: Heather.

Topping out on El Punto. Photo credit: Heather.

Heather topping out on El Punto.

El Punto's airy perch.

Heather below/at the crux on El Punto.

View of Heisshorn after descending El Punto's summit block and emptying the rocks out of our shoes.

Making our way over to Heisshorn from El Punto. Photo credit: Heather.

Heather approaching the summit of Heisshorn.

Navigating Heisshorn's northeast ridge. Photo credit: Heather.

Navigating Heisshorn's northeast ridge. Photo credit: Heather.

For the most part, Heisshorn is solid with only a couple of short loose sections. Good scrambling! Photo credit: Heather.

Heather near the summit of Heisshorn.

A look back at El Punto from the summit of Heisshorn. Photo credit: Heather.

View of 13,382 (13,377) from atop Heisshorn.

View of Uncompahgre, Matterhorn and Wetterhorn from atop Heisshorn.

Descending a loose chute off Heisshorn. Photo credit: Heather.

Heisshorn's gnarly southwest ridge. Photo credit: Heather.

View of Wetterhorn while descending 13,382 (13,377).

View of Coxcomb and Redcliff from atop 13,215 (13,206).

View of 13,382 (13,377) and Wetterhorn from atop 13,215 (13,206).

Back on gentle terrain. Photo credit: Heather.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 22 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Comments or Questions
09/20/2023 16:09
Very enjoyable, thank you.

09/20/2023 16:26
Great report!

Love those peaks
09/21/2023 18:28
Great write up! Kudos for finding a more direct way down Heisshorn. Sounds like you dropped W off ridge to go up gully to Punto? Everyone seems to do that but there is a really sweet short class 3 wall to the ridge just N of there that is more enjoyable.

re: Punto gully
09/22/2023 08:21
Yeah, we dropped a smidge and then found the gully. Missed the wall, bummer.

Great TR
09/22/2023 08:41
Thanks for posting.

   Not registered?

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.

Please respect private property: 14ers.com supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.