Peak(s):  Mendota Peak  -  13,275 feet
Date Posted:  06/17/2021
Date Climbed:   06/12/2021
Author:  jibler
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 1st San Juan Hike - clutch loop for the win!   

The Backstory is that I went on big road trip with my family thru Ouray to Mesa Verde circa 1986 - but have not been back since. I usually hike/camp solo these days and I always find somewhere shorter to drive most of the time. but took a road trip with my folks for a big post-covid hurrah the other weekend and finally got a crack at the san juans.

And despite a lot of advice on other mtns - I ended of landing on this one because:

A) good deep field of view of San Juans - inc. big views of Sneffels area

B) loop hike going up the Liberty Belle trail and coming down the Sheridan Cross Cut

C) for being a lower 13er - I was able to get this done in a fairly efficient fashion so as to not be gone all day.

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Lots of cool outcroppings
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Emma to right - Mendota Center

Yes I had asked if Emma could be taken from South - and that's a hard "No" on that one. Even if you got up most of the way you'd confront like 100/200 ft cliffs at the very top.



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Note the faint trail coming from the left to the right below those cliff bands. I wasn't sure if that really was the trail from a distance!
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Faint Trail


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On shoulder above faint trail - mendta center - you come at it from the right


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scooching around this snow block was the only real snow action of the day.


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Have faith where there's a trail there's a way!

OK after following trail in pic above as far up as you can - it sort of peters out and enters this little rough transition zone. I guess the kids would call it Class 3 these days?? Either way - it was a bit hairy and is my first introduction to this 'rotten rock' everyone talks about. Funny/Not Funny story - there was this one rock up there that was tettering on falling over - so I thought I would help all of us and just knock it down. but of course it was actually holding up like 5 other rocks so moving it started a small landslide!

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On top shoulder looking north - Mendota Peak to left - Sneffels and friends center.
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Same shoulder looking south - I was quite pumped to make out Vestal in the distance.
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At summit looking west.
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At summit looking north
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The return path back below the rotten rock layer
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"The Sky Path"


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Nice Light


And I thought the Sheridan Crosscut might just be sort of ordinary - but it too had rock outcroppings and really great view of those waterfalls too! That's what really took this from an awesome hike into kickass hike country.


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Higher up on crosscut
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Looking back up crosscut
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very cool path
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getting near tomboy road


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random rocks lower down
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windy path


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Sheridan crosscut's humble origins on the tomboy road

Bottom line - I guess most people already know that you likely should not climb up the sheridan crosscut? it was crazy steep. and come to mention it - it was also fairly steep coming up the other way too! I suppose that's the story of every hike around telluride though - hills seem very steep.

I would say great introductory hike for the area - and the loop factor keeps it fresh!

Oh also one parting note re: Emma - people were talking like it might be possible to go into overdrive from Mendota and get over to Emma - but there's a serious cliffband on north end of Mendota. It would not be simple by any means - and might be unreasonable in fact.




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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