Peak:  Carson Peak (13er)
 Route:  From Bent Peak
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  11/28/2020
 Date Posted:  11/28/2020

I dropped south down talus off Bent Peak's summit towards tundra, then stuck to the south edge of the large plateau between Bent and Carson. This was drier than a more direct line, but ultimately there's still a lot of snow. Eventually the plateau becomes a narrow-ish ridge and I stuck to the south side of the ridge. The early part was dry, which turned into garbage mushy snow close to some outcrops on the ridge. I had severe balling underfoot, which made for unstable footing. I had my ice axe at the ready but didn't have to use it. Go south around the blockages in the ridge, and before the summit, which is covered in a massive amount of snow, get back onto the ridge. If you don't you'll have to climb up rock hard, icy snow. It's probably only 20 feet or so but you won't make much of a dent with boots, and lugging crampons that far for that little snow would be ridiculous. Just find a better way to the ridge crest. Walk to the summit from there. To descend I went back to the plateau between Carson and Bent then dropped south towards the Continental Divide Trail, which was sometimes hard to follow due to snow cover. This eventually lead back to the closed 4WD up Bent Peak, which goes back to Carson Pass.

I found microspikes and an ice axe useful for the traverse section near Carson's summit. Traction probably is not necessary, but was nice for peace of mind. I did use my axe for a short bit of snow climbing up and down. I didn't use flotation at all between Bent and Carson but it's probably mandatory to get up to Carson Pass in the first place.

Photos (click for slideshow):
#1) Carson Peak from Bent Peak.#2) Southern edge of the plateau between peaks.#3#4#5) As the ridge narrows.#6#7) Stay south/right around the block.#8) This snow is hard as a rock and hard to climb properly; find a different way to the ridge crest.#9) Summit from the ridge.#10) Descent to the CDT from the plateau.

Comments or Questions
11/29/2020 18:46
Appreciate the path to follow.

Hear what you‘re saying about the balling underfoot; I‘m finding sticky snow consistently for afternoon snow conditions. Switching from microspikes to the hybrid Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro. Kinda like an in-between to crampons...? ... unsure. Going to try this winter. Thought I‘d share for its anti-caking technology....Snow platform shoes = no bueno.

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