Peak(s):  Santa Fe Peak  -  13,180 feet
Sullivan Mountain  -  13,134 feet
Geneva Peak  -  13,266 feet
Landslide Peak  -  13,238 feet
Date Posted:  09/26/2020
Date Climbed:   08/26/2020
Author:  petal53run
 Up&Down the Montezuma 13ers   

Finally catching up on trip reports as I was helping my deployed sailor son move from San Diego to Seattle and bring some of his stuff to Denver. Going back to submarine duty, his dogs are now part of my household for awhile. It was nice to come back to optimal weather climbing conditions. Better late than never so this one is about the Montezuma 13er group I climbed with HikesinGeologicTime.

Sixty percent of Colorado’s 104247 square miles(sqm) of land is privately owned. That means the remaining 40% is a public playground. Depending on what you like to do, it’s pretty much an open ticket from the governing agency. The Montezuma Revenge group sits in Arapho National Forest (1131sqm)(pic1) and Pike National Forest(1729sqm)(pic2), under the immediate jurisdiction of Bureau of Land Management (1946) which moved its headquarters to Grand Junction in 2019, an agency within the Department of Interior (1849). 99% of public lands and programs are located in the Western half of the US: an outdoor enthusiasts delight. And so we did.

The Revenge group, Santa Fe(13180), Sullivan, unranked,(13134), Geneva(13266) & Landside, unranked(13238) peaks were the 13ers to climb for miles of 360degrees of scenic expanse. Also standing in 2 different National Forests on the same day sounded conquering. Just east of Keystone on US6, turn right onto Montezuma Road and go 5.5 miles to the old mining camp town of Montezuma(pic3). You cant miss it as a hanging sign marks the pavement & dirt line as Montezuma. We parked about 3/4 mile up the road from the stop sign in a bucket(pic4). Then lucky us, as we started hiking up the 4wd road, a Jeep Wrangler came by. We hitched a ride(pic5) which they eagerly negotiated the rugged & loose rocky drive to Santa Fe peak. Along the way we bounced pass the Quail mine(pic6), waved to Morgan Peak(12474)(pic7) and tried to photograph mule deer (pic8-9).

Up to the top, we blazed our own trail to Santa Fe Peak(pic10) on easy to balance on rock chunks the last 100ft. The first mountain landscape views from Santa Fes summit(pic11-12) wowed us from every angle. Turning 360degrees from the cairn vantage point, the Front Range was most prominent with Grays & Torreys peaks, and Gore, Tenmile & Sawatch ranges were well represented. It looked like we were surrounded by that 99%.

Reviewing the plan, the remainder of the route was clearly visible in front of us. We descended south(pic13) to hike the jeep trail (FS264) to where it connected to the saddle going up Sullivan Mountain. There were Continental Divide Trail(CDT) cairns(pic14), the ones with the wooden sticks in them, along the rocky tundra and it was a fast Class1 climb to the top(pic15-16). Looking SE across to Geneva, with a sharp up & down steepness(pic17), it was etched with the CDT cairn line. It looked harder than a Class2 climb and the long false summit added to the equation but it was doable negotiating. We exchanged greetings with a CDT hiker going North who had been on the CDT trail since March. The last section to the top is a narrow path through jagged rocks and we summited Geneva(pic18). The ridge has 2 summits and we signed the one with the register(pic19). Marked with cairns on every false summit(pic20), Landside Peak(pic21) was a quick Class1, 1/2mile reach. On the way, we saw phlox(pic22), walked on a lot of tundra, some talus and then we were standing on top of our 4th goal 13er(pic23-24) in front of a small cairn. We spent some high five time and took more pictures of the panoramic mountain skyline. Despite the smoky haze, South Park was even visible. Lucky us for having miles of playground consisting of summited peaks and others waiting to be climbed. The return trip was fairly easy, delightful weather and perfect temps. We were more aware of the mine ruins going this direction in the area. It looks like most mining activity is quarrying. Before treeline, near Morgan Peak we saw ptarmigan(pic25).

In sum the Montezuma Peaks were a Class 1-2 out and back hike. Once on the ridgeline, the up&down is fairly consistent. Because Geneva is a ranked peak, meeting the 300 foot rule, it was the one that made our hearts pound. We didn’t track the mileage but plan a full day climb. What’s unique about climbing to the top of these peaks are seemingly unending views from every direction. What’s really cool is recognizing the individual peak profiles and picking out the ones climbed. It could be a source of comfort having Grays and Torreys peaks(pic26) as our guardian angels the entire day. You could say we cashed in that open ticket.

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These birds blend into the rock. Its in the middle of the picture.

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