Peak:  "S 3" (13er)
 Route:  South Ridge via Blue Lakes
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  07/25/2021
 Date Posted:  07/25/2021

From Blue Lakes trailhead the trail is easy to follow to Blue Lakes. It's a hair over 3 miles from trailhead to lakes. We departed the lakes heading southwest and went up a steep, forested slope crossing to the south side of a steam that otherwise would have presented cliff and waterfall issues. Forest eventually gave way to grass (plentiful wildflowers right now) and then to the horrible Sneffels Range talus the area is known for. "S 3" is merely the bump in the middle of the ridge between "T 0" and "S 5". Such wonderful names these peaks have. "S 3" didn't look to be very approachable from either the north or the east, so we went to its saddle with "T 0" and climbed straight up exceptionally steep scree, dirt, and talus to the ridge. This was truly a two steps forward, one step back affair. The rock on the ridge wasn't much better and shifted around a lot, and a rugged, rotten gendarme blocked easy access to the upper ridge. The gendarme went at a sketchy, exposed Class 3 on highly suspect rock but it was only a few moves directly on top, otherwise it was stacked Class 2+ dinner plates and jagged shards to climb on. Once past the gendarme it was a Class 2 walk to the summit. We reversed our route down and scree skied back to the basin on our way to "S 5".

Photos (click for slideshow):
#1) On approach. Stay on the south side of the streams entering the upper basin.#2) On approach. Stay on the south side of the streams entering the upper basin.#3) On approach. Stay on the south side of the streams entering the upper basin.#4) "S 3" on the right. We headed to the saddle.#5) The slope we fought up.#6) Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff.#7) The gendarme.#8) Scrambling on the gendarme. That rock is not good.#9) Upper, easier ridge.

Comments or Questions
07/26/2021 12:49
Yeah, that looks nasty!

07/26/2021 13:05
This was by far the worst of this trio. "S 5" was at least not a scree fest and "S 4" is a new fave. But yeah, "S 3" is just a horrible pile of crap, glad to have knocked it out!

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