Peak:  Unnamed 13201 (13er)
 Route:  Southeast Flank + South Ridge via Mary Alice Creek
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  11/02/2020
 Date Posted:  11/02/2020

There's an adorable stoat (see pics) on this route! Which is really the only reason to climb this peak except to check a box. Anyway...

The trail up Mary Alice Creek is a bit difficult to find off CR-24, but the drainage quickly narrows and it becomes obvious where you can go. There's an old mine road on the east side and the foot trail is on the west. Some avoidable avy debris on the lower part of the trail. There's one obvious and easy creek crossing. There's some snow on the trail but not a ton; I got by in trail runners. Once past the trees and into the willows I dropped west and crossed the creek again, then ascended steep, muddy tundra and willows to a large boulderfield below the cliffy toe of the south ridge. The talus and boulders are very loose and there were some sections of steep scree on top of slick mud. I found microspikes useful. Eventually the angle relented and I found an easy Class 2 weakness in the cliffband that rings the upper ridge. More steep, loose stuff followed, then a short cornice on the ridge top, then a long walk along the ridge to the summit. There was nothing harder than Class 2+ on my route, and I could have reduced the difficulty to Class 2 by avoiding the steep muddy stuff and ascending slightly to the north on dirt and tundra. I reversed my route and swung north on the descent around the willows at the top of the creek, completely avoiding them until back on the east side of the creek. Then I found and followed the trail back. I wore trail runners, which will be fine until the next snow, didn't bring an ice axe, but microspikes were very useful for mud/snow/scree.

Don't forget about the stoat high up in the boulderfield. If you find it take a few minutes to hang out with it, it's an extremely curious critter.

Photos (click for slideshow):
#1) THE STOAT! Holy crap.#2) Cuteness overload.#3) 13,201 from Mary Alice Creek.#4) The boulderfield. Loose and annoying with snow.#5) Above the boulderfield, below the cliff band.#6) Cliff band. There are multiple ways through, some easier and/or less/more snow than others, currently.#7) Looking north along the ridge. The western side is dry, eastern side and crest snowy.

Comments or Questions
11/02/2020 20:53
Are you making up animals? I‘m tempted to google it...

11/03/2020 09:24
Stoats do seem like cute little fantasy creatures you'd see in a children's cartoon wearing capes and crowns, wielding jeweled scepters, and doing mischievous magic.

Stoat or Ermine - Mustela erminea
11/03/2020 10:18
Cuteness overload, indeed! I would hike up that peak just to see that little guy. What a great wildlife sighting!

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