Peak(s):  Storm Peak A  -  13,487 feet
Date Posted:  09/21/2014
Modified:  09/27/2014
Date Climbed:   09/18/2014
Author:  dhgold
 Bagging the bookends   

I took advantage of fine Indian Summer September weather to finish off my two remaining 13ers in the Silverton area, Dome and Storm.

Not sure if, on my fourth consecutive day of bagging peaks, I would have the pep to do both peaks, I did Dome first since I wanted to do its north facing route in good conditions. In retrospect, I would have done the peaks in reverse order and climbed Storm's south facing route in the cool of the morning, rather than the full sun of mid afternoon.

I had not been looking forward to Dome since my mental picture of it was based on views I'd had driving north from Stony Pass whence Dome's south slopes promised long stretches of steep side-hilling and bushwhacking. Fortunately, the map and Furthermore's TR indicated a shorter and likely more enjoyable route was available on the north side. From Silverton I drove CR2 to CR 25 up Eureka Gulch then took the Animas River south fork spur to its end at about 10,600' and the pack trail TH. (Note: the trail starts east of the parking area though there is a logical sucker trail at the west end that quickly devolves to bushwhacking.) I'd planned to follow Furthermore's route and ascend the gully between Dome and Pt 13321 to the saddle but before I reached the turnoff point for the gully, I noticed that Dome's north ridge seemed to offer easy walking grass slopes most of the way to the summit while the gully promised 2000' vertical of San Juan scralus. I consequently adjusted my intended route, left the trail at 11,000' and followed easy walking grassy slopes all the way to 12,800' where the ridge became more distinct and the grass turned to Sawatch like CL2 and 2+. A few rock steps were encountered, all but one of which were traversed around; the one that had to be taken head on gave the dog a little trouble but shouldn't pose a problem for a person. I reached the summit in two hours, knocking 40 minutes off Furthermore's time; the speed of the ascent is a testament to the efficiency of this more direct route since Furthermore and John are faster hikers than I am. I spent a while at the summit, enjoying what were for me this year rare bluebird conditions in the San Juans. The descent was as issue free as then ascent and I was back at the car 3 hours and 40 minutes after I'd left. According to my GPS, I'd covered 4.9 miles and gained 2800'.

After lunch in Silverton I decided that having climbed many San Juan peaks this summer in dismal conditions, I owed it to myself to maximize the brilliant weather and take a stab at Storm. I parked just west of the tailing ponds and the Mayflower Mill at 9,550' and walked the road past a No Tresspassing sign eventually joining the Boulder Gulch trail at the dam at 9700'. (Note: there is a good, publicly accessible road which ends at the dam and which is not shown on topo maps. Use satellite photos to find out how to access this road and save yourself some walking and trespassing.) I followed the good trail to the big switchback at 11,700' at which point I followed the drainage and intermittent trails NW past the lake at 11,900' and two more at 12,800 where the happy strolling ended. From the lakes I aimed for an obvious gully west of the summit. The talus got worse the higher I went. Near the top, the dog had had enough, sat down and watched me proceed upward; meanwhile. I pulled myself along with my hands using solider rock at the edge of the gully. I hit the summit ridge about 50' below and 200' west of the summit. Some simple CL3 lead the rest of way. The descent was uneventful with some of the ugly talus being surfable.
Totals: ~8.2 miles, 4000' gain, 5 hours, 8 minutes.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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