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Unranked doesn't mean easy - Mountain Boy and Igloo
After finishing Pyramid the previous day, I decided to do a nice easy peak on my way back to denver. Since I had to cross Independence pass, I figured it would be a good high trailhead to start from. I had Igloo peak on my short list after seeing Jay's trip report on it https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=17465
But I decided I wanted to get Mountain Boy Peak too, as it was actually ranked and was only a half mile away from Igloo. However, very few people had done the traverse due to apparently loose talus and/or class 3/4 cliffs. I did some research, and decided to tack it on first before Igloo. This way I could ascend the class 4 stuff rather then descend it, as I find that way easier.
So I started out from the Independence Pass parking lot, passing about 50 tourists. About 0.25 miles up the paved path, there is a very distinct dirt path on your right. I took that and headed towards Pt 12,800
About halfway to Pt 12800, there is some metal avalanche fence on the left. About 20 yards past it, I turned left and looked for a place to drop down into the valley below Igloo, AKA "Mountain Boy Park".
Due to a big cornice, I decided to drop down through a small cliff band. This looked worse then it was. This required only one small class 3 move, and I setup a cairn to mark the spot in case anyone wants to use it.
After dropping down into the valley, I hiked across some very pleasant class 1 tundra.
But beware, for danger lurks in the flowers.
After whacking my shin into one of these strange rebar posts, I looked more carefully and found about a dozen. Beware.
After a bit, I came to a boulder/talus field. Clearly Igloo is not holding together well.
About 100 yards hiking over talus and you are through it.
I came across the first saddle to the right side of the "Mountain Boy's Crown", but it looked fairly loose and not fun. So I decided for the second saddle I had seen from Indy pass.
Next I found the ruins of an old mining shack. Maybe the "mountain boy's" that the valley is named after? What a view they had.
Then I came upon the second saddle, to the left of the crown. It looked much better. I climbed about 400 feet of mixed grass and dirt to get to the top. There was a very faint trail, and a cairn at the top, so clearly someone has come this way before.
I turned left and headed up to Mountain Boy's summit. You can take the left or right path, I tried both. The left is more direct, and the right is less steep but bypasses the summit, simply turn left on it as you get close.
The views from the summit are amazing, as you are smack dab in the middle of the sawatch and elks, with an especially good view of centennial Grizzly.
After a snack, I headed over to Igloo on the good trail.
At the base of Igloo I reached a dilemma. Head straight up the class 4 looking ridge, or try for the loose talus on the south face? Since I was feeling good, I decided to go for the ridge.
What a horrible mistake that was. Loose cannot be overstated. This was way worse rock then the Elks. Big chunks would break off everything I touched, and the ridge went quickly from loose class 3 to impossibly loose class 5. It didn't take me long to figure out I needed to back out of there. Descending back down was even worse then ascending. I felt more nervous then I had anywhere else on Colorado 13ers or 14ers. The scree was so loose that sliding down on my butt caused not only the stuff under me to slide, but entire patches of scree about 5 feet below and above me would ride along too and pelt me.
Luckily, as I was about to give up on Igloo, another hiker popped around the left edge of the mountain. She had descended off Igloo, and been planning on going around Igloo towards Mountain Boy, but after seeing me slip and slide off the ridge, she thought better of it. But she did inform me that the south face of Igloo had a passable route up it, but it was also fairly loose. So I crossed the last 30 feet of scree sliding hell until I reached the south face of Igloo, and followed her around to the south side ascent path.
I forgot to take a picture, but it was an acceptable way up to the summit, but still fairly loose. Upon reaching the summit of Igloo, I realized that this unranked 13er that was only 61 feet from not even being a 13er, could have killed me fairly easily that day.
At least it was a nice easy class 1 hike back down to Indy pass, where I received many curious stares from tourists, clearly wondering why I had a backpack for a half mile paved hike to the viewing point.
My route. My GPS said 7.1 miles and 2,000 feet. So in conclusion, don't attempt a climb up or down the ridge of Igloo, and if you must traverse it, look for the trail on the south side of the summit, and be prepared to still curse the loose talus.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
Last fall I did your exact loop, but in reverse. After sliding down the south side of Igloo, I decided on the way back that would be torture to re-ascend so dropped down the steep grass from the saddle. Thanks for sharing a trip report for people trying this in the future!
I ended up going back to get Mountain Boy a few weeks after I wrote the TR and took that south route on a tip from GreenhouseGuy. Loose is an understatement but at least it was doable. I thought it was worse going down that stuff than going up so I think your route for the two was the right way to do it. And loops are always fun! You are spot on with your comment about the stellar views from MB. Nice report!
I skipped Mountain Boy after Igloo because of the nasty loose descent. I decided to find another way up Mountain Boy on another day, as a storm clouds were building. Thank you for the suggested route, looks much more pleasant!
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