Peak(s):  Vasquez Peak - 12,947 feet
Date Posted:  09/10/2010
Date Climbed:   09/09/2010
Author:  mennoguy

 A day in the mountains with my roommates  

Vasquez Peaks Wilderness

Stanley Mountain 12,521
Vasquez Peak 12,947
Unnamed 12,316
Bobtail BM 12,803
Minus Bobtail ~11 miles 4000 feet
Partners: Jasmine and Sam

My roommates and I all had the same day off so they decided to join me in my madness and quest to climb mountains for the day.

From the Henderson Mine TH we headed up the spur trail to the CDT. The only complaint about this area is the noise from the Henderson Mine. After about 1.3 miles we came to the junction with the CDT. The sign says it is one mile to Stanley Mountain, the reality is that it is closer to 1.5 miles. As we climbed higher the views opened up and we caught our first glimpse of Stanley Mountain. There is a good trail all the way to the top of Stanley. The view of the traverse over to Vasquez looked daunting because there are two ridge bumps which are one contour away from being soft ranked.

Trail to Stanley, with Vasquez Pass in the background

Jasmine on the trail with the ridge to 12,707

Northern flats of the Vasquez Peaks Wilderness


The descent of off Stanley was steep but all on grassy slopes or faint trail. We rested at Vasquez pass before tackling the most difficult part of our day, the ascent of unnamed 12,707. I was climbing with my roommates so I couldn't just run ahead and leave them in the dust, so I climbed about 200 feet at a time before resting. Near the top of the ridge there is the option to do a short scramble or to walk up to the summit. The wind howled and was calm seconds later on the hike over to the saddle with Vasquez. I opted not to climb 12,900 as it was neither ranked, soft ranked, or named. The traverse around to the final saddle is on mostly solid talus. There is one small scree field to cross. It was soft and grippy due to the recent rain. It would probably be nasty if bone dry. All we had to do was climb the remaining 300 feet to Vasquez Peak. This went by fairly quickly and we were greeted with some spectacular views. I highly recommend climbing this peak. Judging from the register it gets climbed about 30 times a year.

East ridge of 12,707

Optional Scrambling near the top

The walk-up route is to the right in this photo

Clouds over James Peak Wilderness

View of talus field and short scree section

Last sunflower of summer

Now for another steep descent. The saving grace for this area is that almost all the slopes are grassy, so it makes for a pleasant descent. Once at the saddle I made the quick ascent of soft ranked 12,316, only 4 feet and it would be ranked. I ran down and met with my roommates and walked the rest of the trail down to the TH. If I were doing this traverse by myself I would have continued along the ridge to Bobtail BM as it was my roommates were tired so I obliged and descended the trail with them. Bobtail BM is a very short and quick jaunt from Jones Pass.


All in all this was a lovely fall day to climb in the mountains with my roommates. If considering this traverse climb Stanley first as it is a very mellow ascent, and you will hike down the two steepest ridges. This area sees very little traffic and is very beautiful. If you want solitude near the metro area this is the place. It is far less crowded than the Indian Peaks or Mount Evans area. Looking at the state of Red Mountain made me sad, this was probably a very fine 12er at one point but the Henderson Mine stripped almost 300 feet of elevation off of the top.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

No snow on the east side
09/10/2010 20:39
Look at image 17

Steve Knapp

Nice 12ers
09/10/2010 19:31
Cool trip, that's nice that your friends came too. I enjoyed those peaks a lot on my evening hike last year. Is there any old snow left on Jones Pass or can you drive right into the saddle now? 12704 is my last peak on the Loveland Pass quad, was thinking it might go from the west side of Jones Pass. Otherwise it will be an out and back over Hagar from I-70.

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