Peak(s):  Rolling Mtn - 13,693 feet
PT 13,300 D - 13,300 feet
"V 9" - 13,260 feet
Date Posted:  07/09/2014
Modified:  07/10/2014
Date Climbed:   07/05/2014
Author:  Kevin Baker
Additional Members:   wooderson, Papillon
 Tour de Choss on the Rolling Group   

UN 13300
"V9" (13260')
Rolling Mtn (13693')
8 miles RT, 4400' gain
From near Rico-Silverton TH (10640')

Rolling is an overlooked bi-centennial 13er south of the popular Ice Lakes Basin area. I joined the Pappersons for this hike on 4th of July weekend, where the rednecks were out in full force. It took me 8 hours to get to Silverton on Thurs night for a Fri hike, and virtually every car camping spot along the South Mineral Road was taken on the night of the 4th. I ended up meeting my friends Dave and Jane on the Clear Lake Road as they scored a quiet spot. Cell service was spotty in the area, and I wasn't able to confirm a start time with Kevin and Sarah.

I drove up to near the Rico-Silverton trailhead on the north side of South Mineral Creek and set off at 6am in hopes that Kevin and Sarah would be waiting at the saddle when I came off Unnamed 13300. They had already done this peak, so no reason to add 900' of extra gain. The hike to Hope Pass goes very quick on a good trail with just a few snowfields to cross. The views of Rolling on the approach are awesome.

Alpenglow on Rolling from the trailhead

Rolling's rugged north face

V9 nearing Hope Pass

Unnamed 13300 really caught me by surprise, but maybe it's because I hadn't been on San Juan choss in awhile. The slope from the pass is steep talus, scree, and boulders all the way to the false summit. There is a lot of shifting dinner plate talus and the going is slow, then after cresting the ridge, there are a couple false summits to go over. I give out a summit yell and hear a response, so I try to move as quickly as I can, although you can't move fast on this piece of crap scrap heap! Kevin and Sarah say they can almost tell when I move my feet as it is hard for rock not to move! If you 're doing all the 13ers and need this peak, do it from Beattie.

Dinner plate talus suffer fest on 13300

Rolling and V9 from 13300

It takes me an hour to descend 900' on this garbage, and Kevin and Sarah have kindly waited for an hour. Up next is V9, which has three route possibilities (n.e couloir, ridge proper, or sidehill to west ridge). We choose the sidehill option and it's a poor one as we endure 600 feet of choss and kitty litter with no good footing to be had anywhere. Luckily there isn't any exposed hardpan and we top out on V9 at 10:40am, which is later than we would have preferred as dark clouds are already building. Once we descend V9, we are pretty much committed to going over Rolling as there is no bail down into the S Mineral drainage. We go over V9 without a break and the traverse to Rolling is mellow initially with some fine views of the north face. It's an 800' slog to the top of the lower western summit on Rolling with a headwall to figure out at the top. We choose broken 2+/3rd class choss to the left of a gully still filled with snow and take our time staying close together on this to mitigate the rockfall hazard and top out on the false summit at 12:07.

Hope Lake

Pilot Knob and Vermilion

Nearing the summit of V9

Heading to Rolling

Nearing the n.w. face of Rollings west summit

Sarah topping out on the n.w. face.

It is obvious that a storm is rapidly approaching and the remaining terrain is not trivial, so we once again continue on with no break. The traverse to the true summit is mellow other than some exposed scrambling off the false summit and there is a decent trail from the saddle to the top. We top out on the true summit at 12:36pm, a bit late even though the monsoon really isn't here yet. It looks like we have maybe 30 minutes tops before a storm hits, and we try to move efficiently down the southeast ridge. Some difficulties immediately present themselves off the summit, and we have to navigate a few small towers. We go over one directly and cross a brief catwalk, then skirt a headwall to the right. We think we are in the clear and a notch presents itself. The right side looks risky, so we explore the left side and find an easy but exposed ramp that leads down to the notch.

Remaining traverse to the true summit.

Slow going initially down the s.e. ridge.

About to get hammered....

Mr Bluebird's hat didn't work too well today!

It starts raining and we try to move efficiently, all the while I have not sat down the whole day! We finally come to terrain at 12880' that we are able to bail off of on the north side onto a low angle snowfield that we are able to bomb down quickly and the skies unleash a fury of hail, the intensity of which I have experienced maybe one other time. You had to keep your head down to keep your face from getting pelted! Rivers of hail were flowing down the steep areas. We were happy to be off that ridge and the hail is intense for about 45 minutes. I run down the grassy areas and we drop elevation quick.

We contour down to the creek in the center of the drainage and we move as quick as possible as thunder rumbles overhead. This is the game that is inevitable with multi peak days in summer. More often than not you can beat the weather with plenty of time to spare, but it doesn't always work out that way! The hail finally stops, but we have to cross a talus field to avoid some nasty willows. The willows eventually can't be avoided, but we are able to minimize the bashing by zigging across the creek back and forth. We finally hit the Rico-Silverton trail and think we are in the clear.
Unfortunately, the trail crosses a raging stream! A group of 3 hikers cross a sketchy spot with a dog in tow and we decide to find a better spot lower down. I pick a narrow log that has plenty of branches that make it easy to keep your balance and the raging stream is forded pretty easily. We then have a couple more ankle deep mellow stream crossings to get back to my truck, where we arrive a little after 3pm. You never know what the mountains will throw at you with these 13er adventures!

The creative stream crossing.

Looking back at Rolling covered in hail!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Nice Kevin!
07/10/2014 04:05
Looks like a fine outing.

The bluebird credit card might be maxed out...
07/10/2014 05:11
Between the extended graupel on this one and the little squall we got caught in last month in Telluride, I'd say we need to right the weather ship before our next adventure. I'm normally a pretty foul-mouthed guy but the firehose of profanities I let fly on the ridge descent was probably in my Top 5 of ”nerd rage” moments. I kind of wish it was recorded.

The creek crossing photo is definitely one to send home to my mother. But you and woody made it look easy.

I can't tell you how nice it was to hike grass on Monday after a few days of vicious San Juan choss.

Summit Lounger
Fraud department
07/10/2014 11:20
I think Kevin B needs to call his credit card company's fraud department and work out some issues. Thanks for the report.

Kevin P = I could hear your spewing from 1500 miles away.

Memories ... dark skies ...
07/10/2014 15:26
We did Rolling and V8 a few years back. Had to stop 3 different times on the way up Rolling due to incessant rain. On the final push to the summit (in between deluges), we met Mike Garratt on his way down (didn't know it until we signed into the register). Never had issues with the creek crossing as we avoided it ... from the looks of your photo, seems like a wise decision on our part. Good to see the ”smiling Wooderson” even though I had to zoom up to make sure she was indeed smiling. One obvious benefit of the rain is the fantastic colors in the rocks that you have captured in your photos. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!

Chicago Transplant
Rain and Rolling go hand in hand
07/10/2014 17:21
Seems to be the way it is down there for Rolling, I went up Rolling first with the intent to get all the way to Beattie but got stormed off the V9-13300 saddle at 10.30am a few years back. It rained pretty much all day after that! Seems even Mr Bluebird cannot break the bad weather curse that someone put on that mountain.

07/10/2014 17:23
Nice work guys! Rolling looks like a cool one. We were over on RGP when that storm started to build. I'm glad we all made it outta there unscathed. Nice stream crossing .

Quit hating on bluebird...
07/10/2014 22:24
You're getting a lot of crap from Papi and Mr. Lounger on your bluebird powers so I'll cut you some slack. I still have faith in you, Kevin! Nasty storm though. The welts on my legs from the beatdown we took from the hail are just now starting to fade.

Listening to you descend V-8 was entertaining at first but got kind of horrifying after a while. Sounded like you brought half that slope down the mountain with you!

Thanks for the write-up and another memorable weekend!

07/10/2014 23:24
Looks like the exact same gully I took. That's some memorable rock.

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