Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Antero  -  14,269 feet
Date Posted:  08/27/2020
Date Climbed:   08/06/2020
Author:  texaseagle16
 12 Peaks in 10 days   

So after last year doing 10 peaks in 7 days, I decided to up the ante this year by doing 12 peaks in 10 days to push to the halfway mark of the entire 14er list. I started my drive from southwest Kansas to the tripoint of Kansas/Nebraska/Colorado followed by a quick stop at Buffalo Bill's grave on Lookout Mountain west of Denver.


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I then made my way to the Grays/Torreys Peak Lower Trailhead not wanting to risk taking my RWD pickup up the road. I backpacked up the following morning to pitch a tent off in a secluded spot to rest and acclimate for the remainder of the day before waking early the next morning by 4AM to make the summits of Grays and Torreys Peak around 8AM and 830AM respectively on August 6, the anniversary of my dad's death back in 2002. I have been on a summit on this date every year and plan to as long as I still able.


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Next up on my list for August 7, was to do Mt. of the Holy Cross, but after a mile into the road, I decided I was not going to risk the 8 mile drive. Since it was too far to backpack, I decided if there was going to be one mountain not to get this trip, it would be this one. So instead, I drove on to the Mt. Massive Trailhead for an early 3AM start making the summit shortly after 7AM.


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Next up on August 8, was a short trip around through Twin Lakes for a bite to eat and to see how low the lakes were. Then I pushed up to Independence Pass to see sunset to find in my surprise a retired astronomy professor with a large telescope checking out the stars. A great end to the day before heading for the La Plata Peak trailhead for an early 330AM start before summiting right before 7AM. This ended up being my most difficult climb but not really with the exposure.


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Next up on August 9, was another short drive around to Winfield for a climb of Huron Peak from the lower trailhead. Being a Saturday evening, the campground area there south of the town was quite packed and not much room to find a decent spot but made due with what I was dealt with. I started around 430AM reaching the upper trailhead by 530AM and summiting by 8AM. Again, not much foot traffic on the way up but much more so on the way down.


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After making my way back down, I only had a 4 mile dirt road drive to reach the trailhead for the Belford/Oxford/Missouri climb, so decided to check out the town of Winfield and the cemetary up the road. I also checked out the Vicksburg buildings by the next trailhead coupled with soaking of the feet to rest up for the next day ahead.


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So the next morning of August 10 would be a long day with doing the trifecta of up the switchbacks of Belford then the traverse of Oxford before descending to the Elkhead Pass to ascend Missouri. It was another early start at 4AM reaching the summit of Belford around 730AM making the traverse to Oxford by 830AM. The trek back across the traverse was not fun thinking I did not have to re-climb close to Belford to make my way to Elkhead Pass. By the time I reached the trail split to Missouri via the standard route, it was noon, and weather was near perfect as it had been every day of the trip and only reason why I decided to do the trio together in a single push. The crux of the climb was the downclimb with much exposure but did some butt scooting and made it just find. On the return trip, a couple snow pellets did fall for a few seconds but that was it. I made it back to the trail split a little after 3PM and to the trailhead by 6PM after the long death march with a good soaking of the feet in the ice cold creek to end the long day.


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The following day ended up being a rest day on August 11 on Cottonwood Pass before doing the Harvard/Columbia Traverse on August 12. The morning started off with another early 330AM start reaching the trail split of the two peaks by sunrise and onto the summit of Harvard around 9AM. The traverse started off not too bad but halfway through ended up being more dicey and hard to route find through the boulder hopping. A few cairns every now and then helped if able to see them blending into their surroundings. I did meet up with two groups of two who joined forces and helped to make our way through the remainder of the traverse with more eyes to see ahead. Columbia summit was made shortly before 1 before making our way down to the trail split once again. The trail work ongoing is great and sure beats the top half of the route of loose talus, but it does only consist of the lower half with new trail. I would have expected it to be further up given how many years it has been, but it is nice. I was back to the trailhead by 5PM with another rest day at Monarch Pass for the next day on August 13.


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Next on the agenda was Mt. Princeton for August 14, staying at the lower trailhead with an early 330AM start from the bottom. I made the trail turnoff by sunrise linking up with two others to help make our way through the boulder hoping with route finding. Shortly after, one turned back but the other continued on with me to reach the summit by 830AM before returning to the trailhead around noon. It was another long haul back, especially down the road, but worth not risking the truck once again.


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After saying our goodbyes at the trailhead, I made my way towards the Antero trailhead with a stop to see the St. Elmo area before settling in for the evening. It was a neat little semi-ghost town with many original building in tact. A decent general store for another magnet souvenir and some ice cream was in store as well, and highly recommend the stop if in the area.


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Antero was last on my agenda for this trip planning on starting from the bottom. I was awoken earlier than expected by a string of cars with many loud and obnoxious younger folk who were way to enthusiastic at that time of day around 2AM. I decided to get going myself since I was up, and left by 3AM, passing this group of about 7 around the stream crossing making the summit by 8AM. I stayed quite a long time for my last peak having it all to myself. The smoke was heaviest on this morning as well. By 845AM, the group made its way to the top, loud, popping open champagne and smoking the J. It was time to get going, and made the death march back to the truck by 1PM.


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After a quick visit to the Agnes Vail Falls, I made my way back eastward towards home, driving the east side of the Crestones along the way. I am already planning for next summer, looking at only a couple this time before pursing Gannett Peak in Wyoming for my 47th state highpoint that I have been turned around by 3 other times. Stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
greenonion
User
Nice work!
08/27/2020 15:02
I noticed you left Torreys off your list at beginning of report, but have it noted in your report. No biggie. And sorry if I missed something. Really nice work piling these up in 10 days!


texaseagle16
User
Thanks!
08/28/2020 07:22
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I left out Torreys and Oxford due to the trip reports only allowing 10 peaks to be listed. So, I put Grays and Belford on the list knowing the Torreys and Oxford go hand in hand with each other. Best I could do to include all 12 I did on this trip, maybe I should inquire about getting that changed for those who do more than 10 on a trip.


OldDude
User
Done good
08/28/2020 09:47
You're a swift-footed young man, especially going from Grays->Torreys in 30 minutes. This year I finished 5 in 7 days and that was plenty of 3 AM starts for me. Huron Peak at sunrise was one of my favs and like you I enjoyed the walk around at Vicksburg. The main blvd with the trees they planted is quite impressive. Don't forget the Elk Range. Lovely group of badass climbs.


Ruzinsky
Nice Report
09/04/2020 10:43
Thanks for the pics and all the detail. Congrats. Too bad about the party kids but it got you on the peak early.



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