Peak(s):  Pacific Peak  -  13,950 feet
Atlantic Peak  -  13,841 feet
Date Posted:  10/07/2013
Date Climbed:   10/06/2013
Author:  emohr
 My 2 Cents   

My 2 Cents; Pacific and Atlantic Peaks


Peaks: Pacific Peak(13,950'), Atlantic Peak (13,391')
Route: Pacific Peak Northeast Slopes
Distance: ~9 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~3,500'
Class: Class 1 & some Difficult Class 2
Crew: emohr, jlarson630
Hike Time: 7 Hours
Difficulty: 6/10

It was only a matter of time before I could no longer ignore the call of The Centennial Peaks of Colorado. Pacific and Atlantic Peak have been on my radar for a while for there close proximity, and it was a safe enough route that it wouldn't matter how much snow accumulated from the most recent snowfall. It was heartbreaking to see the changing colors of Fall come and go so quickly with the sporadic weather, but getting the chance to play in the snow is one I will never pass up

Note: There are much more efficient ways to climb Pacific and Atlantic Peaks. Jake & I took "The Coast to Coast Scenic Route". Atlantic's West Ridge, or Pacific's East Ridge are much more direct with less mileage. This basin however, was unbelievably gorgeous

We made our way up The McCullough road quickly, and made it to the trailhead by 7AM. The sun was just peaking it's head over Hoosier Ridge, and the 17 degree weather would be warming up soon

Once we put our fireworks away, we were ready to begin

Sun kissing Quandary Peak

The first section of the trail follows an old road that passes somebody's cabin on the left, and meanders through the woods and lakes to reach a fork where the trail begins and the road ends. The signage is obvious, and the route is still well traveled up to, and beyond this point

Frozen lake in the forest

Sun rising over Quandary's East Ridge

Quandary's impressive North Face

Once we got above the last lake along the trail, we headed South along the trail towards the base of Quandary, and up to a small plateau where we got our first look at The Fletcher-Atlantic Traverse. Simply, breathtaking

Fletcher Peak, Mayflower Grand Traverse, and Atlantic Peak from our basin

Stumbled across an old goat couple. He's Walter, and she's Phylss.

Walter. Or Walt (I need to cut back the Breaking Bad)

After our brief conversation with Walt and Phylss, the trail became less obvious, and we were living the way I love to; one cairn at a time baby

When lost, I will always take advice of the goat

Once we made our way further into the basin, we could see the steep, "Difficult Class 2" slope that led to the saddle between Atlantic and Pacific. Limiting our time in the softening snow, we chose a route up the right side of the gully to maximize our time spent on rock. This route to the right, or North, put us closer to Pacific, so we chose that for our first peak of the day

Gazing off towards our snowy ascent route

Frozen lake below Atlantic, looking at Fletcher

Jake with Quandary behind

My beard got 2cm longer from the first posthole of the season


Once making our way up to the saddle between the peaks, we were greeted with amazing views of the West. We started heading North to get to what we thought was Pacific Peak, but soon found out is just a small hill that is much, much smaller than Pacific Peak. Standing between the two peaks was just unbelievable. I couldn't believe how long that traverse looked! Like just about every hike that "mentally surprises" me, I complained for a solid amount of time, I stopped my complaining, posted my boot in some fresh snow, and got back to the reason of why I was here

Atlantic Peak, The Sawatch Range in the distance, and the lovely tailing ponds of The Climax Mine

Jake pushing up towards Pacific Peak, with Pacific Tairn on the left

Atop Pacific Peak

The traverse from Pacific to Atlantic was fairly short and uneventful, but I was able to soak in enough of the good mountain vibes to become more appreciative of the day. I look around, and see gorgeous mountains all around me. So what? Welcome to Colorado. We can do that any weekend we want, where we want, and for as long as we want. We're spoiled. It's that simple.

So when I really think about the sentence, "I climbed 2 of the 100 tallest peaks in Colorado," it doesn't take long for the appreciation to set in. I realize this is something some people will never get the chance to do, and to some seems like an impossible goal. But here on, we read reports of Class 5 routes, all the 14ers in a year, and other ridiculously impressive mountaineering goals. It's hard to look back and appreciate climbing/hiking for what it really is, but when I do, I have a much greater appreciation for how blessed I really am

Atop Atlantic

Just more motivation to continue with The Centennials

With tired legs and feet, we started picking our best way down back to the car. The way we had ascended kind of meandered more towards Quandary and Fletcher than we were wanting to hike, so we made a straight shot for the last lake we saw before the trail began it's inefficient ways away from Pacific and Atlantic. Not only did we want to find a more efficient trail down, but we wanted something that would prove more stable than the slushy slopes we had earlier ascended. Jake and I opted to descend Atlantic by one of the large rock gullies South of the normal Northeast Slopes route in order to avoid the larger snowfields. We still found some snow, but nothing we couldn't handle without our butts.

Path of least resistance.

After seeing no one the entire day, we ran into about 25 people in different groups on our way down. I imagine this is a pretty popular hike for the people from Breck considering it's about 10 minutes away. The trail had become soaked with the melting snow, and this might have been the best opportunity to use microspikes throughout the day. Jake and I managed to slip and fall more times on the mud in that one mile of forest more than we did on the other 8 miles of the route

Rock gully

A day in the mountains is a day well spent. I just can't wait to get back


Red-Ascent, Orange-Traverse, Blue-Descent. My drawing skills are really coming together

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Great Job!
10/07/2013 16:10
Such beautiful pics! Makes me want to put these on my to-do list!

The A&P
10/08/2013 00:40
Is high on my list. Great report! Thanks for posting.


10/08/2013 03:16
...said! Indeed, we're so fortunate to climb these magnificent mountains and get their good tidings. Oh, and good beta BTW.

A&P (I like that name)
10/08/2013 20:39
@Cookiehiker - Thank you! It won't be long till you're done with the 14ers, and the Centennials will be calling

@EZSide - I would say its worth the extra 2 or 3 miles of this route just for the great views. But anyway you do A&P, you'll have a good time

@rajz06 - Thank you! You're one of the guys that is always posting trip reports that makes me so used to the mountains haha

10/09/2013 03:11
What a babe

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