Peak(s):  Ice Mountain  -  13,951 feet
North Apostle  -  13,860 feet
Date Posted:  07/25/2016
Date Climbed:   07/23/2016
Author:  michaelgrundy
Additional Members:   rohit
 Back to the Sawatch   

It has been a little over 3 years since I have been to the Clear Creek/South Winfield trailhead so Rohit and I decided it was time to go back, but this time, we were headed to the Three Apostles. From the first time that I laid eyes on them while hiking Huron Peak, I thought it would be amazing to see them up close and personal. I can honestly say that they did not disappoint! Even though we had a few set backs that made it more difficult than it needed to be, it was
an amazing day!

We left Denver around 5:30 PM on Friday and made the mistake of taking I-70 towards Copper Mountain. Traffic was pretty retched and we took a lot longer getting to the trailhead than we wanted to. Finally, after about 3 hours or more, we were cruising up the 4wd road to the trailhead. I couldn't believe the number of people camping along the road between Missouri gulch all the way up to South Winfield. We pulled into the upper trailhead and secured a decently flat spot to throw up a tent.

For this trip, we decided to test out Rohit's new 4 season tent. We knew it would be a little over kill but we wanted to get used to setting it up and testing out the different features. I was happy to see that it was decently easy to set up and within 20 minutes, we were set up and ready for bed. The new tent performed beautifully and we were nice and comfortable for our 2:30 am wake up.

After we woke up, we quickly tore the tent down, got ready, ate breakfast, and were off by 3:15. Not too bad! We set a pretty quick pace and covered the first 3 miles in about an hour.

Pretty chipper for 3:15 AM.

The trail was relatively flat and despite getting on the wrong trail for a few hundred yards, pretty easy to follow. As we got higher up
into the basin, the trail fades and you have to cross the stream.

Headed up the trail

We made the crossing with ease and had to bushwhack / willow bash our way up to tree line. Unfortunately, we were heading a little too far east and climbed up the forested hill side a little higher than we had to. It wasn't really a bad move, just made life a little harder than it needed to be and costed us some time.

Once above tree line, we got back on course and continued up the talus to the saddle of North Apostle and Ice mountain. The talus field was a little annoying
because there was areas of large rolling talus and other areas of loose scree.

Talus and scree.

The talus was preferable to the scree on the way up because at least you could still make progress up hill. A little after sunrise and we were standing on the saddle looking up at the last bit of climbing to North Apostle.

Your's truly.

Sunrise! (Photo by Rohit)

Looking up towards North Apostle.

We put our heads down and headed on up the easy ridge to the summit! It was decently cold at the summit so we both threw on some extra layers and had a snack as we enjoyed the summit views. We could easily see some people standing on top of Huron peak and it made us smile, since we had not seen a single soul all morning!

Summit! (Photo by Rohit)

Cloud bank in the valley with Crested Butte.

After our departure of North Apostle, we made quick progress to the saddle and started to climb up Ice Mountain.

Headed up the ridge towards Ice Mountain.

Pretty flowers along the route.

Some easy scrambling.

Hi there! (Photo by Rohit)

We started off on the correct route but as we got closer to the summit, we mistakenly thought that the point just to the west was the true summit. This was our 2nd mistake of the day! We lost a lot of time hiking over to the sub peak and spent a lot of time on class 4 and low class 5 sections that we didn't need to be on.

Headed towards the wrong summit.

Little hairy... (Photo by Rohit)

Rohit making his way!

Last move to the wrong summit!

We took our time, tested all of our holds, and made it to the summit. Upon reaching the summit, I looked over and noticed the true summit.

I made it! (Photo by Rohit)

$%!* (Photo by Rohit)

Having fun on the wrong summit!


A few curse words later, we made our way over to the real summit,and shared a laugh about what we had just done.

Traversing to the real summit.

We spent the next 30 minutes on the summit, called our loved ones, signed the register, and had some shots/snacks. Unfortunately, due to our previous screw up, we decided to bail on traversing to West Apostle because we had a deadline to be back in Denver and we didn't trust that we had enough time. Better to come back another day for it than risk getting the wife mad at me!

True Summit! (Photo by Rohit)

Looking towards North Apostle and Huron Peak.

After a quick phone call to share in the joy, we were leaving the summit and headed down the correct route back to the car.

On the descent!

Pretty flower!

The descent wasn't too bad except for the talus field below the saddle. These rocks were not very stable and random boulders would move without much warning. In one particular instance, the rock that I stepped on moved and caused me to throw my arm out to the side to catch another boulder that was near. After some sharp pain and a numb sensation, I think I hyper-extended my shoulder or possibly pulled a muscle. No other bumps or bruises happened, so I should be thankful for that. Hopefully in the days to come, the strength with return in my shoulder, but for now, it is Ibuprofen and rest.

Almost out of the talus and scree.

Looking up into the basin.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Exiled Michigander
Life after Finishing
07/26/2016 14:40
1) Good to know the bromance continues. Compatible climbing partners are harder to find than compatible spouses.

2) No "Terrible Towel" photo? Did you finally wise up and become a Broncos fan?

Terrible Towel
07/26/2016 15:04
Somehow he missed Terrible towel picture in his trip report. I had his towel pictures....

Here is the pic:
Terrible Towel on North Apostle
Terrible Towel on Ice Mountain

go Steelers
07/26/2016 15:15
thanks for sharing

Nice job!
07/28/2016 21:00
Not an insignificant duo. Did you enjoy and lichen?

Good Details
09/09/2016 18:14
Thanks for the route details. Hopefully we won't end up on the wrong summit tomorrow...

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