Peak(s):  Unnamed 13580 A  -  13,580 feet
Date Posted:  10/06/2018
Date Climbed:   09/22/2018
Author:  davidsteger
 PT 13580A, StegerStoke Arete   

This is my first ever trip report, so please forgive the poor spelling, lack of exciting commentary, and sometimes questionable route recollections. I've decided to write this up for three main reasons: 1.) to brag about an awesome weekend trip that my wife and I had, 2.) to add a route description to a route that I otherwise couldn't find any information on, and 3.) to inspire adventure. This is a trip report for a climb up the center east-facing arete on PT. 13580A, which I have decided to call the StegerStoke Arete.

Red - StegerStoke Arete,
Blue - descent

I'm sure there is likely some other name for this arete, but as I mentioned earlier, I was unable to find any information on it, so I've decided to go with StegerStoke.

I first saw this arete on a failed climb of Adams exactly two years ago. On that trip, my wife and I were promised good weather by my NOAA app. It was early October and it snowed on us, thus we bailed. Before we did, I was able to snap this photo of the "StegerStoke" arete, and it lived as my screensaver since then.

Horn Creek Basin 9/22/2016.

We left Denver Friday after work on 9/21/2018 and drove up to the Horn Creek Trailhead with beautiful fall colors everywhere. This time, again, we were promised perfect fall weather.

Obligatory trailhead selfie, as is tradition
Early evening on the approach

As we neared treeline in Horn Creek Basin where we were planning on camping, it started to rain. Then it started to get dark, then it started to snow. Basically a repeat of last time.

We got lucky and in the dark, stumbled upon a nice camping spot out of the wet grass, and in the shelter of the trees. After cooking up dinner with the stove outside the tent, and us in the tent, we went to sleep, pessimistic that the planned climb the next day would be doable for us if it were coated in snow.

We slept from 9pm to 9:30am, and hit the trail at 10am. Yep, we slept a lot. But it was cold, and we wanted to give the mountain as much time as possible to dry off from the previous night. Plus, it's Fall, no thunderstorms, so who really cares anyway.

After about an hour of fighting through the willows (we learned later that there is a good trail to Horn Creek Lake on the north side of the basin) we arrived at Horn Creek Lake. We could see the little snow from the night before melt away as we hiked.

War with the willows


We scooted around the south (left) side of the lake and continued straight up the mountain towards the obvious arete. If you're like me, and you prefer a vague trip report/route description so that some adventure can be preserved, you should stop reading after this paragraph. Just know that the route goes through, but I would still recommend a rope. For more detail, continue reading.

Hiking up the lower face

We hiked up the middle of the lower face and approached the bottom of the arete. It looked as though you could tackle it head on with one long pitch of ~5.6 climbing, but we scooted around the left side about 100 feet until we found a nice ramp cutting back right up to the top of the arete proper. From there it was 5 more pitches of up to 5.6 climbing to the top, with some scrambling in between pitches. We had a 60m rope with us, a light rack, and a 60m tag line in case we had to bail. Luckily, the tag line stayed tucked away.

In general, think we did a really good job in pitching out anything 5th class, and going ropeless for everything easier. I credit Robin for that. She's a much better route finder, and much more honest with our abilities than I am. I'm writing this report a few weeks later, so some of the following pictures might be a bit off with the exact route description.

First easy pitch

Second pitch

Then some easy scrambling

Looking back down from partway up the arete

Looking up the 3rd (or 4th?) pitch.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th pitches were definitely the best. Some runnouts, but mostly good rock, mostly easy climbing, and some really good exposure coupled with comfy belay ledges. It was great Crestone Conglomerate with small pockets and nubs. I was glad to have my climbing shoes on. It would have been much more challenging in hiking boots.

Top of the 4th pitch, having a great time, but hoping we were nearing the end of the technical climbing

Scouting the next pitch

Looking up what I think was the last pitch

Robin with some air below her feet

Nearing the top of the roped climbing

Looking down from the top of the roped climbing

The climbing was wonderful, but we were both excited to be back on a large grassy ledge. We were still a few hundred feet from the top, but it looked like it would go easily, and it did. Some quick class three led us to a notch to the summit ridge, and after another minute of hiking, we were on the true summit. Awesome!

Class 3 scrambling leading to the obvious notch.

Coming up!

Strolling to the top. Kit Carson in the background.


Summit selfie

We had planned on descending the gully in the low point north of PT 13580A, and south of Adams. It didn't look fun, but it was worse than I was expecting. The snow from the night before didn't melt here. Instead, it had hardened up and made for some icy sections. We took our time and made it down the gully and back to camp for another lovely night.


Going down. Unpleasant, and icy in spots.


Dusk, just before the stars came out.

Total time on the ridge was about 4 hours. Roughly 11:30 - 3:30. The only other climb I've ever done in the area is the Ellingwood Arete. I'd say Ellingwood Arete is technically harder, but this was a bit more involved, and also a bit more runout. Wonderful climb though. I'd highly recommend it. We never saw any pitons, webbing, chalk, or carins on the ridge. Only saw one other group of people in Horn Creek that day.

I'd checked, SummitPost, and Mountain Project, and I was unable to find any beta on this route. I'd never gone into an alpine climb blind like this before, but we got lucky and it worked out. Even if it hadn't, we both would have had a great time. Adventure is worth it, and adventure is out there. Don't feel like you need to read about it before doing it. Happy trails!

Side view of StegerStoke Arete, taken the next day on a hike up Adams

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Comments or Questions
10/07/2018 08:57
Looks like a sweet route! Way more exciting than the ridge I took. Good report!

10/10/2018 09:30
Those exploratory rando lines have a lot of hit and a lot of miss, but this looks like a worthwhile hit. Nice job.

Do I know you two?
10/13/2018 23:28
Nice job on a sweet route. Looks legit I will have to see if I can find a willing partner for this one.

   Not registered?

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2022®, 14ers Inc.