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Peak 10 (13,633', Colorado # 178) and Peak 9 (13,195', Colorado # 492)
28 August 2017
Trailhead: Wheeler Trail at Spruce Creek Road
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation gain: ~3400' total
Difficulty: Mostly Class 1 with some easy Class 2
Round trip: 5 hours, 17 minutes
Despite being a lowly bicentennial (Peak 10) and a mere 13er (Peak 9), these peaks get a lot of traffic due to their easy access and close proximity to Breckenridge. Both peaks rise above the southwestern slopes of the Breckenridge Ski Resort and may be climbed nearly as much in winter as in the summer. Peak 10 was my last bicentennial in the Tenmile Range and an easy solo bag along with Peak 9.
I had planned to climb Peak 10 first from high in the Crystal Lake basin and then tag Peak 9 via a direct out and bag. That would have made for the shortest route. But instead I parked at the Wheeler Trail where it intersects Spruce Creek Road (accessible by 2WD with decent clearance) and pretty much improvised my route as I went. I started hiking at 7:38am taking the excellent Wheeler Trail up to Peak 10's East Ridge. The trail was much more pleasant than hiking along the rocky 4WD road into the basin. Once at 12,400' under cloudless skies, I decided to head directly to Peak 9 and climb Peak 10 on the return. I dropped about 150' on gentle terrain and then climbed Peak 9's mostly grassy southeast slope, reaching the summit at 9:25 am. I spent less than 15 minutes on the summit of Peak 9.
From Peak 9, the route I had planned to take up Peak 10's north ridge looked like pretty steep talus with only the start of a trail. With snow, this probably would have been a fun climb. Instead of taking the direct route to Peak 10, I headed toward the 4WD road northeast of Peak 10's summit, crossing a snowfield along the way. This 4WD road switchbacks past the old Briar Rose Mine up to two microwave antennas at about 13,360, not far below Peak 10's summit. After getting my annual dose of microwave radiation, hiked up the last couple hundred feet on stable talus, reaching Peak 10's summit at 10:42. An American flag was planted and waving in the wind on the summit. The summit provide great views of the familiar Tenmile peaks. While I still need to traverse Peaks 1-8, I've now climbed nearly all of the ranked summits in the range south of Peak 8.
I had planned to descend to the Peak 10-Crystal saddle and hike down a trail from there as I had done several years ago. Instead, I headed back down past the microwave towers and then continued east back to the Wheeler Trail. While this required descending a talus slope for a hundred feet or so, it worked out well and I made good time on the more gradual decent. On my way back down the Wheeler Trail I checked out Francie's Cabin (one of the 10th Mountain Division Huts) which is on a short spur east of Wheeler. I got back to my car at 12:55 after 5 hours and 17 minutes of hiking.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
When I saw the title of your trip report, I thought you had climbed Peaks Nine and Ten in the Weminuche. Those peaks use a different convention for the peak names: Ten instead of 10, etc. Still a nice hike though.
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