Peak(s):  Unnamed 13510 B  -  13,510 feet
Telluride Peak  -  13,509 feet
Date Posted:  12/08/2014
Modified:  01/16/2019
Date Climbed:   12/10/2014
Author:  d_baker
 Just One More: Red Mtn Pass Series   

Just One More

*Fourth Edition to the Red Mountain Pass Series


A few of the peaks spotlighted in the RMP Series

*Red Mountain Pass Series

This report is the fourth addition to the Red Mountain Pass Series that I started in December of 2013. As the series title suggests, these peaks are along the Hwy 550/Million Dollar Hwy/Red Mtn Pass area. Like the other three mountains in the series thus far, these hikes can be a reasonably safe ascent in winter-like conditions. If the road conditions aren't a problem - getting to the "trailhead" shouldn't be a problem, and most of the route can be kept low angle and out of the run-out area of potential avalanche paths. However, I wouldn't go for this peak with bad weather (because of concern of poor visibility where traveling into dangerous areas could present serious consequences) and I would also suggest only going for the peak with a low-to-moderate avalanche forecast -- in addition to having some winter snowpack backcountry traveling experience.

As always, I hope I have provided enough information and/or inspiration to check out some or all of these peaks in the series. Thank you, and I hope you will enjoy the reports!
First Edi., A Beating on the Anvil
Second Edi., McMillion Dollar Views
Third Edi., Duco

Sunday, December 7, 2014
Hikers: Terri Horvath and Darin Baker

UN 13,510 B
San Juan Mountains

Red Mountain Pass: West Side

Views to the SW from the summit

Trailhead: Summit of Red Mountain Pass, at the pullout on the west side of highway -- next to the Ouray County signage at pullout (in winter, there's generally a port-a-potty here).
Route: E/SE aspects using low angle terrain
Distance: ~5 miles RT (round trip)
Elevation Gain: ~2350' (give or take a foot)
Difficulty: Class 2 snowshoe w/route finding-avalanche terrain avoidance. Good snow conditions with great weather on our hike made for a relatively easy day above treeline!
Time to Complete: ~7hrs, w/30-40 minutes on the summit

From the get-go at the "trailhead"

On our descent in Senator Beck Basin

Gear: daypack w/Essentials including additional winter time gear (e.g., goggles, down, thermos, etc.); snowshoes; avalanche gear; ice axe

Resources Used for Trip Planning: familiarity w/area helped; weather forecast; CAIC website (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) avy forecast; and of course previewing/planning the route on TOPO! before going out

EDIT 1/16/2019
Avalanche fatality in this region, near our ascent route. The day we did this, snow conditions were favorable (i.e., safe).
Take note and be aware of snow conditions if you attempt in winter.


My good friend and regular hiking partner Terri has been working on the 13ers for some years now, and like many of us, she loves the San Juans! Also like many peak list chasers, the check marks in the San Juans column dominates the "to-do's."

She moved to Montrose a little over a year ago which makes for a great base camp for hitting the multitude of peaks in the San Juan Mountains. I'm fortunate enough to have some down-time this month before heading off to my next work project. Base camp, here I come!

I'm also quite fortunate to have friends like Terri that have lists. I, for the most part, do not have a list. I just like to get out. Therefore I feed off the list of others! I did this with my friend Carson as he was chasing his remaining bi-centennials a few years ago. I do the same with Terri. Her list becomes my's do just one more.

The Slow-Shoe Hike

We left Montrose around 5:40a.m. on Sunday morning, making the drive to Red Mtn Pass under a waning moon with temps in the mid-20's with very little wind. A great day was forecasted ahead of us!

At the pass, we stopped at the pullout to use the "facilities" before locating our intended start of the hike. At the pullout, we realized what we mapped for a start wasn't necessary as the pullout made for an efficient start. Geared up, packs on, we trudge out from the W side of the pass sometime after 7am.

The snow from the start was mostly firm with very little sinkage. That's a good thing, because these winter time packs can be heavy with additional gear!

In search of the low angle way

Looking E/SE while approaching Senator Beck Basin

A lone skier had caught us, and passed us, while he lamented about our predicament of being on snowshoes. I felt shunned. Little did he know, because he was down longgg before we were, that we snowshoed the hell out of that route! So there, take that skier.

The skier was on his way to "Telluride Pk" via our destination peak, which he referred UN 13,510B as "Black Bear Peak" -- perhaps a local name and likely in reference to nearby Black Bear Pass (which is S of Trico Pk), or because of the Black Bear Mine in the bowl to the N of the summit.

Silly skier somewhere up there

Snowshoeing the hell out of the route, while maintaining proper distance to "pristine track"

Some views never get old

Getting closer to summit with the SE backdrop

Trico Peak (13,321') to the S

Hey "Jackass" (UN 13,145A)

La Junta Peak (13,472') on l. side foreground -- Mt Wilson & Gladstone in distance to the SW

Grenadier Range


As far as the eye can see

Mount Sneffels (14,150')

Quote from a recent summiter in the register, "F*ck cyber Monday!" -- dated Monday, December 1, 2014.

After a nice lunch break on a warm, beautiful blue sky day with little wind, we started our descent.



On the descent, Trico Pk's long E ridge in shadow

Views: due E

Ascent route on l. side of bump; descent route on r. side of bump -- either on this day was suitable

Weather station in Senator Beck Basin

Last year's ridge run along Brown Mtn A (skyline ridge, l. to r. for the summit)

Descent went smooth and we were back to the car around 2pm, and feeling thankful for a great "winter" outing. Now, just one more....that's always the mantra, right?!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Telluride Peak (13,509') -unranked-
UN 13,510 B

Distance: ~6mi's RT
Elevation Gain: ~2700'
Time to Complete: ~6.5hrs, with the benefit of a broken track for ~65% of the route

Telluride Peak from UN 13,510 B, taken on our Sunday summit


With another forecast that was hard to ignore, not to mention the fact of having a snowshoe track to take advantage of, I decided to return to RMP and go for unranked - yet quite a worthy summit - Telluride Peak. Combining the two peaks on a "winter day" is quite doable, as I did on this day but with Telluride Pk being the first on the agenda. With an out-and-back, "T 7" could also be a target, which would add ~2mi RT to the route. I'm too lazy to do that, so hiking Telluride Pk and then going up UN 13,510 again sounded better!

The Not-So Badass Solo Snowshoe Mission

I started from the Pass using the same track we put down on Sunday, with the intent of using it all the way to Pt. 13,106' as seen in image #22 (and on the topo, image #26). After going up the gully on the right side (NE) of Pt 13,106 I went into new terrain to gain the saddle between '510B & T-Ride Pk.

Looking down the gully

Farther along into the low angle approach to the saddle

On the ridge, looking down at frozen Ptarmigan Lake, with "T 7" the prominent peak left of center

Ridge line task ahead to the summit of Telluride Pk

There were a couple of bumps along the ridge where snow buildup -- wannabe cornices -- had me stop to take a moment to make sure there was ridge underfoot, along with a couple of semi steep yet short snow down-climbs slowed me down, but for the most part the ridge is straight forward.

Along the ridge

Looking back at the ridge and the ridge leading to out of sight 13,510' (on r.)

It looked like winter, but felt like spring! Not even a breath of wind! A ~45 minute summit visit was in order....

Cimarron Sweets on the horizon with "T 7" front and center

Another "Jackass" view with Wilson group beyond, and Lizard Head

From the summit looking E w/American Basin peaks on the l. and RGP & Storm Pk A on the r.



Time to go to 13,510' again....

Near the saddle between 13,510 & T-Ride Pk, looking at the ridge line leading to summit of '510B

And back on the summit of UN 13,510B, or is it "Black Bear Pk" or is it.....???

I can see how this peak would/should be considered Telluride Peak since from the above vantage point, it is at the head of the valley. I haven't been in Telluride in years, so I don't recall what the skyline looks like in town. Next time I go, I'll make sure to take a look!

Regardless what people want to call these peaks, they're a fun and beautiful set -- that can be done year round. Take a look at reports from Furthermore or Bergsteigen and you will see the ridge-run possibilities when there's no snow. But in this case (i.e., this report), an almost winter time ascent is also doable.

Thanks for reading,


Approximate Route(s):
Red - ascent line for 13,510 w/Terri
Purple - descent & ascent variation around Pt 13,106' used for both days
Blue - ascent line of Telluride & then over to 13,510 B


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Comments or Questions
Amazing pictures
12/08/2014 23:04
What a gorgeous day you had! Love the report and the pics! And the Cyber Monday quote is great!

12/08/2014 23:13
gorgeous views and a cool hike. Thanks.

12/09/2014 01:53
Nice report Darin! And nice to see those San Juany’s caked. Enjoy your downtime. Let’s run into each other in the middle of the Weminuche again soon. And if I can figure out how to ski, you can violate my skin track anytime man!

12/09/2014 15:48
Sweet man. Boggy B and I were up there on Jackass and La Junta Saturday, the day after Black Friday and 2 days before Cyber Monday haha. In fact you can see our exact route on your image 13! Looks like a beautiful day you had.

and yes thats right, I just called you the bakinator.

Dreamin’ of Winter
12/09/2014 16:11
Nice report Darin! These seem like perfect winter objectives right off the pass, conducive to either shoeing or skiing. I’ll keep an eye out for edition five .

Thank you for the series!
12/10/2014 17:10
Thank you for this series. I’m planning on trying some easier climbs closer to home this winter and have been reading through the rest of your Red Mountain series to help me make some plans.

12/10/2014 23:27
Thanks for stopping by and for the comments everyone.

I went back today and hiked "Telluride Pk" and then looped over to repeat 13,510’ again. I’ll probably add "T–ride Pk" to this report in a couple of days. It’s not a ranked peak, but well worth the visit!

It felt like spring up there today though! So warm with all this snow. That might change this weekend though, so let’s hope more snow and cold is on the way!

12/12/2014 18:00
Looks great wished I could have been there – thanks for the report

12/28/2014 23:40
Thanks again for this TR, went and skied it today. I was happy to see the summit from the bump on the right to the north... Slightly whiteout conditions, could only see a few feet. Oh well! Just have to look at your photos again

San Juans!
04/02/2015 19:45
Gorgeous pictures, Darin. Look forward to revisiting the area this winter. I’ll bring skis

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