Peak(s):  Carson Peak  -  13,657 feet
Pole Creek Mountain  -  13,716 feet
Half Peak  -  13,841 feet
"Quarter Peak"  -  13,674 feet
Niagara Peak  -  13,807 feet
Jones Mountain A  -  13,860 feet
American Peak  -  13,806 feet
Unnamed 13795  -  13,795 feet
"Every Mountain"  -  13,691 feet
Unnamed 13811  -  13,811 feet
Date Posted:  08/05/2018
Date Climbed:   07/28/2018
Author:  Jakomait
 14 13ers - Playing connect the dots by Lake City in a 60mi backpack loop   

This year I've decided to work on the Bicentennials and was playing connect the dots on a map to see what peaks I could string together in the San Juans SW of Lake City. I randomly saw beta for Quarter Peak but the rest was just full on freestyle of what might work looking on 60 some miles later and about 24,000 feet got me standing on the top of 14 bicentennials over a 4 day continuous backpack trip. I never saw a single person on any of the trails or peaks, only the petrol burners on the 3 short sections of jeep roads I used to link it all together.

Caption Here

I spent the previous week in Taiwan for work but when I saw the weather forecast I knew it was go-time. My truck was already loaded up with all of my toys so I went straight from DIA to Lake City and jammed a lean setup in my backpack ready for the morning. I took sketchy rain gear and half as much food as I needed to keep the pack weight down to improve my odds of success. Let do this!

Day 1 - Carson Peak, moose, rain, Unnamed 13581, to bushwhack

Day looked nice from the top of Carson

A casual start had me on Carson before 9 but I was low on water so headed down to the Lost Creek section of the CT and was greeted by my Moose rival that I had a standoff with in 2015 when I was racing the CTR. Fortunately he wasn't blocking the trail this time and I was free to go about my way.

Cool hoodoo's heading over to the next unnamed peak
Weather moved in fast. By 11am it was raining and hailing and had me ducking for cover trying to get to the next peak.

Weather was building fast. I ducked into a few small overhangs twice on my way to the next peak and after had to reroute my plan to stay on the ridges over to Pole Mtn and followed a drainage down to the trees between the two peaks. After a few hours of slow bushwhacking I was able to reach the bottom of the valley and up the other side till I found a spot to camp. I came up way short on my plans for the first day but figured I had a half day of a buffer to burn. The loop is still possible.

Day 2 - Pole Creek Mtn, NW Pole, Half, Quarter, to bad idea drainage

After some overnight hail, the morning was glorious!
Views from the top of Pole Creek Mtn. Vestal and Jagged want attention but are a bit obscured by the haze building from the Cali fires.
The morning glow was extra sweet
The friendly south face of Half Pk with the Cataract Lake hiding in the center of the picture
View from Half Pk with the thrash metal ridge of Quarter calling the next mosh
The S ridge off of Quarter needs someone to get all up in its business.
The ridge is actually a 3D labyrinth of cool spires! That's the missing half of Half on the right side
Now it's time to get down to the road. That valley on the left should work, right?

Slab waterfalls and fallen trees every 2 feet! There were cairns around so someone was lost here before me.

Day two was truckin' along. Terrain was blazing for the first 3 and then Quarter eased the pace in the early afternoon. The last drainage took my milk money navigating steep slabs, super thick willows and 8 billion fallen trees but I was still able to get a few miles up the mining road towards Jones before I set up camp for the night.

Day 3 - Niagara, Jones, American, Unnamed 13795, rock in my shoes


I could taste the smoke in the sky.



Getting to American from Jones was way more relaxing than I was thinking looking at the ridge from here


American basin with Handies' fat ass blocking the rest of the view and a happy little alpine lake at the bottom.


OK, so plan A was to follow the ridge to Handies but that didn't look like a choice in line with my self preservation goals. Getting down this was my new plan, although I wasn't entirely convinced it would work out either. I couldn't see all the way down any gulley to know if it cliffed out or not. At least gravity made the slip n slide easy.


Here's the ridge from the bottom after I picked my way down a path that didn't result in a 200 foot drop.


And onto of the last unnamed peak looking S at the valley from yesterday's descent with Quarter and Half puffing up their chest's for the camera.


Getting down this was not optimum. I managed to get about 8 lbs of rocks in my shoes surfing the far right couloir. I'm not sure there is a better way. Don't do this peak for fun. It isn't fun.


A few hours later I was down the Handies trail, across a mile of the jeep road and back into the serenity of the Cooper Creek Trail after taking a short swim in the river to wash away 3 days of trail spirit. Home sweet home for the next 10 hours.

Day 4 - Every Mountain, Cooper Creek Pk, Unnamed 13832, Unnamed 13811


Lots of smoke in the air today. Uncompaghre is not impressed.


But I am impressed. Even with mountain vista overload on this epic, I'm still lovin' every glance.


Sun wanted to warm me up but the smoke said suck it nerd.


If you get into peak bagging, just do this one first, you can then accurately proclaim you've climbed Every Mountain in Colorado. Done. That will save you about 200 weekends to watch cat videos on Youtube.


Somewhere in there are my footprints from yesterday


And my future is along this ridge to the point just off the screen on the far left.


The home stretch on the red carpet of tundra for easy cruisin'


Made it! 14 peaks. Red Bull helicopter left unused.


Here is my full kit. It started about 13 lbs with food and was about 7 lbs at the end. I finished off my food with 2 hours left and never needed to carry more than 2L of water.

I was honestly a bit surprised it all worked out as good as it did. But that's good because I have a 100 mile loop in the Grenadiers planned for September in the same style!

Stay safe out there but remember, it is better to regret the things you have done rather than the things you didn't!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
08/05/2018 16:45
Fun read! Congrats on such a cool tour!
I was in Lake City a week ago, and did Every Mtn and went home. (not really, I did a few x2...)

Bang for your buck
08/06/2018 08:22
Very cool report! That is a fun area for sure. Those 14 in 4 days is impressive. Keep 'em coming!

There is more!
08/06/2018 16:29
Thanks folks! I actually did a few other big 2 day link-ups in May and June I'll try and post up some time.

08/07/2018 19:44
Love your sense of humor and pics. Sounds like quite the backpacking trip!

08/09/2018 12:48
Great trip report. I love these adventures and wish I could do more of them.

I like this
08/22/2019 10:45
a lot.

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