Atlantic Peak
Northeast Slope
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Difficulty:
 Difficult Class 2 
Ski/Board: Advanced, D6 / R2 / III  
Trailhead:McCullough Gulch
Start:11,100 feet
Summit:13,841 feet
Total Gain:2,900 feet
RT Length:7.00 miles
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:4/2017
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:59 reports
Cell Signal:1 report
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

From Breckenridge, drive 8 miles south on Colorado 9. Turn right (west) on the Blue Lakes 850 Road. Drive a few hundred yards and turn right on the McCullough Gulch 851 Road. Drive 2.1 miles to the end of the road near a gate. Before 2 miles, there is a road junction, stay left on the main road. Park on the side of the road.

Route

Taken from Quandary Peak, 1 shows the upper portion of the route. Walk past the gate and follow the road up to the left. Cross a stream on a vehicle bridge and later pass a building after about 1/4 mile. After almost 1/2 mile, find a trail that leaves the left side of the road - the road continues up the hill to the right. Follow the good trail through forest. There are a few log bridges that have recently been installed to cross wet areas. Near 11,600', the trail nears some waterfalls. There are social trails that lead to the waterfalls. Stay right on the largest trail and continue up through trees and onto a rocky hill just north of the waterfalls. Continue on the trail as it climbs up and over to reach a lake - 2.

Parallel the right side of the lake and descend almost to its north shores. Your next goal is to ascend a stony slope ahead. 3 shows the view. Continue west past the lake and southwest up through rock outcroppings. Concentrate on the trail to 12,400' at the top of some rocks. This location is just south of a rib that runs west-to-east in the basin below Fletcher Mountain and Atlantic Peak. Enter the basin and follow the faint trial west toward Atlantic and lake 12,555' - 4. When the trail fades, angle northwest toward the right side of Atlantic. You don't have to turn right and hike up onto the rib yet. When you pass the lake at 12,555', turn right and angle north toward the saddle between Atlantic and Pacific Peak. Reach the crest of the rocks in the basin's center. 5 shows the remaining hike to a headwall below the saddle. 6 is a high-angle view. Work your way across 1/2 mile of rough talus (some ups and downs) to reach the base of the headwall. 7 and 8 were taken prior to reaching the base.

The headwall is the crux of this route. Look for the easiest section in the center. Near the rocks at the top, angle left on the easiest terrain - 9. Without snow, this slope is difficult Class 2 and the rock is loose. With snow, an axe and crampons are recommended. Gain the top of the headwall to see Atlantic up to the left - 10. Hike directly up the center of the northeast slope or continue to the north ridge before climbing the final 500' to the summit. 11 was taken just under the summit. The slope is easy hiking on grass and relatively solid talus. 12 and 13 are views from the top.

Notes

In summer, this route gets a lot of traffic up to 12,400'. Near the waterfalls, at 11,800', is probably the most confusing section due to social trails. Some route finding is required in this area. If you go all the way to the falls, you have left the main trail.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13
Topo

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