Peak(s):  Pigeon Pk  -  13,972 feet
Turret Pk A  -  13,835 feet
Date Posted:  06/02/2010
Date Climbed:   05/28/2010
Author:  Jason Halladay
 Pigeon Peak and Turret Peak  

* ~29 miles RT
* ~29 hours
* ~10,600 vertical feet climbed for Andy (CincyBearcats on and I. ~8000' for Sarah

This is a brief report but my Picasa photo album has good captions that tell the whole story in more detail if you're interested in more details or want to see what the conditions look like in the area right now.

Friday morning Sarah took the 9:00am train from Durango to Needleton while Andy and I drove to the Purgatory TH and ran the 9 miles from the TH to the Needleton Bridge in just over 2 hours just in time to arrive there before Sarah's train.

During the run in, we noted the extreme lack of snow up high where we planned to go (N. Pigeon Creek basin) and decided to setup camp near the Needleton bridge train stop instead of taking skis up into the basin as was our original plan.

Then I suggested that since we had a nearly full moon coming up we might as well head up to climb the peaks that afternoon and come back under the moonlight. So that was our new plan. However, the 9 miles we had just run was the longest single-run distance Andy had ever run so heading up another 8,000 vertical feet (calculated from my Suunto altimeter) and 9 more miles RT to climb Pigeon and Turret, and return to camp, would be really tough on him. But he was game and Sarah was excited too.

We climbed up the brutally steep Ruby Basin trail to the N. Pigeon "trail" up into the basin and reached the summit of Pigeon around 7:00pm. We didn't need crampons in the late-day-soft snow and didn't take exactly the "standard" route up Pigeon. We just made it up as we went following snow where we could.

On the summit of Pigeon Peak with the Grenadiers in the background.

After we descended back to 12,500' we discussed the option. None of us had any desire to come back up that "trail" below, the temps were nice and the weather stable so we decided to head on over to Turret at 8:30pm.

Picture #3 - Sunset

As we traversed over to Turret the moon rose giving us all a boost of energy and we reached the summit of Turret just after 11:00pm. It was quite windy in the saddle between Pigeon and Turret but otherwise a gorgeous night. The east face of Pigeon looked extremely dramatic and almost fake in the moonlight.

The brutally steep terrain and lack of real trails for a majority of the hike had slowed us all down quite a bit. We hiked all through the night getting back to camp at 4:15am. (Having a single, crucial GPS waypoint for the no-trail bushwack back down N. Pigeon Creek drainage was key.) We slept four hours and when we woke our legs were feeling well used already so we opted to high-tail it home. Sarah took the 11:30am train to Silverton with our packs and Andy and I ran the 9 miles out in 2:40, drove to Silverton, got Sarah, got ice cream in Silverton, had dinner in Durango and got home to Los Alamos at 10:30pm Saturday night. Good times for sure. It was fun to climb these peaks outside of normal convention given the stable weather, nearly-full moon, enthusiastic and competent partners and lack of snow on these peaks for this time of year. These were new high 13er summits for all of us.

 Comments or Questions

Typical ...
02/05/2011 00:22
I would expect no less from you , Jason, and your cohorts after following your adventures for years. Way to get ‘er done in record time and in the dark 8) (descending that drainage in the daylight is no easy task). Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


06/02/2010 15:46
Picture #3 is breathtaking !


I was gonna do that....
06/02/2010 15:57
but, I would have died.


a gem
06/02/2010 16:50
of a trip and report! congrats to all of you on a unique adventure! Jason, you have elevated Andy/Sarah/Nina to deity status.


11/30/2010 17:28
What a way to grab these two peaks. Can you imagine what navigating that basin would have been like w/o that GPS?
The pics are really good, Jason.
Are you back to making forrays into Colorado or have you been already? That's a long drive from Los Alamos RT.

Clicking the Picasa Hyperlink is giving me a blank page.

Jason Halladay

06/02/2010 17:32
Thanks Presto. I‘m sure it wasn‘t record time by any means but it felt big. Indeed descending that drainage any time of day is no easy task. The one GPS waypoint we entered on the way in was crucial to avoiding a bigger bushwack than it turned out to be.
Mtgirl, I added another photo later which threw off the photo count so I labeled the original photo #3 as such.
Scott, those three elevated themselves--I was just along for the ride and it was rad to see them push beyond their normal conventions.
Kiefer, I‘ve been up on CO peaks less in the past year that‘s for sure but did get in a winter climb of Mount Elbert this winter and a yurt trip near Lake City in January. I only have four remaining peaks on the high 100 list so I hope to be a bit more busy in the CO high country this summer.
Thanks for the heads-up on the link...I had quotes around the URL which apparently hoses up. It‘s fixed.

Jason Halladay

oh and Steve...
06/02/2010 17:53
I ”know” you and you would not have died. Nice try buddy.


06/02/2010 18:09
Holy hell... nice work. Those are amazing peaks and that‘s quite a trip this time of year.


06/02/2010 19:11
You guys are way too hardcore for me lol


right on
06/03/2010 02:22
nice job halladay


Way to punch it out!
06/03/2010 03:54
Well done. I bet that ice cream tasted divine.


06/03/2010 14:15
Thanks for being our guide/sherpa/photographer! We had a great time.
Nice writeup with excellent photos, as is the norm for you. You should have used all that extra energy of yours to lug your DSLR up there. Your endurance is unworldly.


06/03/2010 16:24
I‘m headed there over Independence Day, this report is inspiring. Makes me feel sheepish buying an 80$ ticket, but I love drinking beer after climbing in the Weminuche, with the wind in my face(and hot water). Pigeon is probably the most prominent mtn in Colorado, from multiple vantage points.

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