Peak(s):  Prize Benchmark  -  13,384 feet
"Booby Prize"  -  13,312 feet
Date Posted:  06/26/2018
Date Climbed:   06/23/2018
Author:  Jon Frohlich
Additional Members:   Fishdude, Paula, tundratif, sunny1
 A long journey leads to some Prizes   

Prize BM (left) and Grand Prize (right) from Booby Prize

~9 miles
~4000 feet elevation gain

Start: 5:30am

Finish: 5:30pm (?)
Partners: Nancy, Joel, Paula, Tiffany, Maya, Zero, and Sprinkles

At some point last year when I was injured I took a hard look at my hiking future. I was in a bad place, demoralized, and had lost most of my confidence. Every hike and run last year was a struggle. I was close to a few milestones I'd been chasing every since I started climbing peaks but the struggle to even climb one mountain or do a 5k was hard to take emotionally. Nepal finally helped turn things around but it was a long haul to get to a better place. My Colorado summits last year amounted to 2 13ers on one hike. It wasn't going to take much to improve on that total.

2018 so far has taken a much different path. I was able to pick up running again. I ran my first two half marathons. Spring hiking season went well. Suddenly I was closing in on one of the milestones I never thought I'd reach when I started hiking. Paula and I climbed Red Mtn C near Breckenridge for my 98th 13er and a plan emerged. Since the San Juans were closed and the train wasn't running we knew it might be difficult to do my remaining centennials this year. We needed a plan B. Let's celebrate 100 13ers instead.....and what better way to do that than climb a couple of Prizes.

We sent out an invite. Joel, Nancy, and Tiffany were in for our plan. The weather forecast for the day we wanted turned out to have 0% chance of storms. We drove down to the Sawatch on Friday night and set up camp just below the gate at the wilderness boundary and went to sleep for an early wake up call. We had planned to start at 5am but after getting all the humans and dogs ready we started out a little late at 5:30am.

First views of Booby Prize on the hike up

We did a short walk the 1/8 mile to the wilderness gate and then started following the trail up into the valley. The trail was easy to follow and we had a nice mellow hike to treeline where we got our first view of Booby Prize ahead of us. We contoured around the slopes of Middle Mountain which Joel, Nancy, and Paula had already climbed. We had decided that we would climb Booby Prize first and then continue on to Prize BM. Across the valley to the south we could see a trail heading up the Booby Prize / 12,862 saddle.

Looking across to the 12,862 / Booby Prize saddle on the right
Zero says this is going to be a long day. I'm just going to get my flops out of the way now.
Trail crossed the small snowfield and continued up to the saddle
Rest of the group approaching the snow
A steep remaining bit of trail to reach the saddle
Some dogs enjoying themselves on the saddle

Upon reaching the saddle we could see the remaining route up Booby Prize. From here it was just a few hundred feet of grass and talus to the summit. Since the weather forecast was so good we just set a very casual pace and enjoyed ourselves.

Remaining route to the Booby Prize
The elusive mountain Pomeranian. It's rare to see one in the wild.
Heading up from the saddle
Talus crossing
Maya wonders what a Booby Prize is
Taking in the view
Will there be a Booby up here?

We finally reached the top of Booby Prize and enjoyed the view. And bacon. I'd made maple and brown sugar bacon for this hike and it was delicious. This really is a gorgeous part of the Sawatch. No register on Booby Prize though which was kind of disappointing.

Managed to get both of us and 3 dogs to sort of pose for the camera. Although Maya is desperately trying to escape.

Our hiking mascot was very happy to summit his namesake peak. He was hoping there'd be another Booby up here so he could do a dance.

Unfortunately we had to tell him that we hadn't brought him a friend.

I think they were swarming Paula for treats in this photo
Summit crew on Booby Prize
Headed down from Booby Prize

We weren't sure how the ridge down from Booby Prize to 13,090 would go. We thought there might be a bit of Class 3 but pictures from previous reports hadn't been clear on that point. Also, we had 3 dogs with us so we were going to have to find the easiest way regardless. About 1/3 of the way down to the saddle we ran into a tower. Joel investigated the low route while Maya and I went up the tower to see if it went. As I hit the top it was obvious there was no way it was dog friendly so we headed back down towards the rest of the group.

Eventually we contoured low around the tower on talus and found an easy Class 2 route down to the saddle.

Path to our next prize. Stay low on the left.
Prize BM on the left and Garfield in the back
Easy path to 13,090
Paula and Sprinkles having a moment

We were able to contour about 100 feet below the summit of 13,090 towards Prize BM. On our way over we had a few discussions about whether everyone wanted to continue over to Prize. It didn't look easy and the saddle was pretty low. Eventually Paula and I continued on alone and started our ascent back up to Prize with the dogs. As we got closer Prize started to look a bit easier but we still weren't sure how it would go for the dogs.

Some ledge traversing to get towards Prize. Lower was better here too.
The path to the Prize
Peakaboo Gulch and a ton of willows. Kind of makes sense why people don't come this way.
Paula headed up Prize. Looking back at 13,090.

Nope, dogs aren't going straight up that

I can't describe our route up Prize very well. Let's just say we found one that worked. It mostly involved staying on the left side of the ridge and crossed some dirt gullies. We kept taking it 30-50 feet at a time and picking our way something that looked likely to work for dogs. At one point I saw Maya on a snowfield and couldn't figure out how she'd reached it. Turned out there was a nice ramp next to the snow I couldn't see.

At one point when we were about 100 feet from the summit I told Paula that we were either going to summit just fine or fail utterly 20 feet from the summit. Just below the summit we had to do a few Class 3 moves where 2 dogs got a short boost. Then we crested a false summit and saw the real summit just a short distance away.

The BM on Prize BM
Signing the register on Prize
Register and celebration cookies. Yes, that's a glittery BM cookie for a Prize BM.

It was amazing to share this one with Paula and all of the dogs. I really never thought I'd do this many peaks when I started hiking. I had no idea where this journey would take me. I've had a huge number of ups and downs in my life and hiking got me through a lot of hard times. Prize BM was a fitting peak for #100. A long journey led to some wonderful Prizes. If I hadn't been hurt last year it wouldn't have happened this way. I'm really glad it did and I got to share it.

Summit nap for Zero.
Summit selfie of all of us. Maya refused to look at the camera.
First register we've seen all year and one of the best condition registers I've seen in a long time. Some sun fading but otherwise in great shape.
Real summit behind Paula from near the false summit

On the way back we saw some blue on the ridge near 13,090 and wondered if the rest of the group had waited for us. It turned out that they had. Nancy and Joel brought up champagne and grapes. We ate some more cookies and enjoyed a small celebration on the ridge as a group. It was amazing that they waited for us and it was fun to share it with them.

13er champagne tastes pretty awesome

We were all feeling pretty good after a bit of champagne so we decided it was time to start heading down. As Nancy put it, the champagne escalated the hike to another level.

Prize BM in the back behind champagne and another BM cookie

Headed up 13,090 so we could go down

We decided that the ridge between 13,090 and Grand wouldn't go for the dogs so we headed back to the saddle with Booby Prize and took the trail down from there. We had nice hike back out to the car and finished off our long day.

Back to the car

Thanks to my partners for sharing this one with me. It was an amazing day out. It may not have been the milestone I was looking for this summer but I was to happy to celebrate this one instead. Maybe now I can focus on 100 12ers.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Congrats on 100!
06/26/2018 11:30
That's a lot of 13ers. Best of luck on the other 484.

Boobs. Prizes. #100
06/27/2018 08:37
Things look good for you these days, Frohlich.
How did you make those cookies out of BMs? They don't look chocolatey at all.

Jon Frohlich
Non chocolate BMs
06/27/2018 08:47
You are totally right. You'll have to take it up with the baker though. I just ate them.


06/27/2018 09:11
I mean, I also totally forgot I have a great chocolate sugar cookie recipe. I'll make it up to you on the next BM.

More Bacon Please!
06/27/2018 22:49
I'll totally join you on the next celebration of the next hundred (or your Centennial finisher...) if you make some more bacon and Paula makes the cookies. Thanks for a fun day!

Great job, crew!
06/28/2018 12:39
And congratulations Jon!

07/04/2018 10:28
Nice report. Great photos. Let's hope for lots of rain in the San Juans so Centennials become accessible.

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