Peak(s):  Rinker Peak  -  13,783 feet
Twin Peaks B  -  13,333 feet
Twin Peaks B Northeast  -  13,270 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2019
Modified:  07/10/2019
Date Climbed:   07/07/2019
Author:  JQDivide
Additional Members:   bmcqueen
 Rinker Ridge   

Rinker, Twin Peaks and Twin Lakes

10.39 miles
4,718 feet
8:52 time

I’ve been camping at Twin Peaks Campground along Indy Pass for years. Our favorite spot has a great view of Twin Peaks. The view of the mountain from the lake is also pretty good. (Hard to find a bad view of any of the peaks in that area.)

I was looking for something to do that wasn’t a 14er over the July 4th holiday weekend. Twin Peaks seemed like a great option, and I’d finally climb that mountain I’ve stared at for so long. Toss in Rinker and you have a solid day in the mountains.

A few messages went out and Brad was able to join me. Wasn’t sure what to expect with possible snow, due to the heavy winter we had. Checking out the peaks on the drive over, they look fairly clear.

Lake Creek from the TH bridge.

The weather was typical sunny in the morning with a chance of afternoon showers. We started a 6 a.m., but the sky was partly to mostly cloudy. It stayed like that all day. (Still got a bit of sunburn.)

The trail is in great shape all the way into the basin. (Anyone know about what looks like a drainage ditch along the trail? )Though with the heavy snow melt, the creek was raging. It over ran its bank in a spot and the trail was running with water. There were a few crossings to maneuver, but nothing difficult. We hit the split for Willis Gulch and Hope Pass about an hour into the hike, we went right.

Snow melt filling the creek and trail
Creek crossings

One of the hardest parts of the day, was the avy debris covering the trail. There were two avalanches that released during the winter. We hit the first one at about 10,500 feet. The second one shortly after that. After struggling to stay on the path and climb over trees, Brad decided to go up and around the second avy. I was sweating as I fought my way through the debris and the small aspens that survived. It took some extra time (30 to 40 minutes) and effort to get passed it near 11,000 feet.


Avy debris
Brad climbing out of the avy debris in hopes of going around it

But one cool thing about the detour was finding old mining cabin remains and an ore cart. Those aren’t visible on the normal route.

mine cart
Back on the trail

Back on the trail, the basin kind of reminded me of Missouri Gulch. Nice flat-ish basin with grass, wildflowers and willows. There were not an abundance of wildflowers along the trail. But there were a large number of varieties, including red columbine, jacob’s ladder, and mountain rose.

There was a small group camped near the first of two cabins at about 11,500 feet. We ran into one of the ladies fishing the creek just before the saddle. Looked like a few nice places to camp between the cabins and the first lake.

Cabin remains near 11,500
The basin

We got to the split for the saddle at 8:45 a.m. and debated which route to take. Looking at other TRs, seems people go one of two ways. We took the direct approach with the short switchbacks. (Oddly neither of us got a photo of this area.) It took an hour to hike the slope, from 11,680 to 13,000. Swithbacks ran out near 12,400 feet and it became a chose you own adventure with dirt, rock and grass. We took a short snack break below the remains of a cornice on the saddle. (It wasn’t going anywhere.)

Slope to saddle, we went up far right in photo
Lower Lake
Ervin Peak
Going up the slope
Coming up the slope with Mount Hope and Ervin Peak
Snack spot near 13,000 saddle

From there it was another 40 minutes to the summit of Rinker. We hiked a narrow snow field for a while and then onto rocky ground. We probably spent 25 minutes on the summit, getting another snack and looking at all the snow still on the peaks. We debated what 13er we were could see to the left of LaPlata. We were sure it wasn’t Sayres Benchmark, but it was. Seemed cloudy nearly everywhere. And there were a few places we could see rain. But nothing was over us. We left the summit around 11 a.m.

Following the snow toward Rinker
A look at the Twin Peaks
Heading toward Rinker's summit, snow was soft enough for boots.
Rinker's summit
Coming up to Rinker
The snowy view
That is Sayres Benchmark

Less than 40 minutes later we were on Twin Peaks B. Another 20, on Twin Peaks B Northeast. The ridge was a typical rocky ridge, nothing to really think about. Though going to the right of a couple rock piles seemed like the better option.

Now we had options, go back the way we came and fight the avy debris or take the northeast ridge direct. We took the ridge. Other people have, so why not.

Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks ridge
Twin Peaks ridge
Twin Peaks ridge
Goats, the white specs below the snow


As we left the second Twin, we spooked a herd of about 24 mountain goats. They were at least 100 yards away, if not more, on the ridge. Don’t know if they saw us or heard us talking about them, but they were up and moving right quick. We continued on the ridge for 30 or so feet, and a single mountain goat looked up at us. He glanced at the herd, did a double take, and realized they were moving without him. He took off to catch up. Another individual saw what he was doing and started following him.

From here, the ridge became more rocky, and care was needed for hiking. Nothing major, still Class 2+, but a few hand placements for balance were needed. We topped out at what could be a Triplet instead of a Twin at 13,040.

Hiking off the Twins toward the Triplet
At the Triplet

This is where the hike turned to suck. Typical 13er love. Type 2 fun. We had to descend 3,440 feet of rocky ridge. The hike down was draining. You had to watch every foot placement on the rocks. We didn’t get into the trees until near 11,500 feet. And then it was rocks and slick pine needles. Then it was rocks and downed aspens and branches, like walking through a game of pick-up sticks. We got a few sprinkles of rain in the trees, but nothing too bad. I did stop twice to spray myself with mosquito repellent. The bugs were bad in a couple spots. Near the bottom we found a couple good game trails that led us toward the main trail. It took us more than two hours to descend back to the trail, but it seemed a lot longer.

Looking back up from 12,400
Descending... almost to the trees
Finally out! Back at the main trail.
Trail opens up to view of the lakes

I think I’d rather go down the way we came up if I had to do it again. Though the distance would be longer, I think the time would be about the same (except for the avy debris), with less wear and tear on the knees and ankles.

I needed a mountain bath

Overall a great 13er hike.

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
Very nice!
07/09/2019 08:50
Several years ago, I did Rinker via the route you took. I wish I had done my homework and gotten Twin Peaks like you guys did. Guess I'm gonna have to go up there again one of these days and catch them. But there are certainly worse places to go in Colorado, eh?

Very nice report, Joel.

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