Peak(s):  Mendota Peak  -  13,275 feet
Date Posted:  06/17/2021
Date Climbed:   06/12/2021
Author:  jibler
 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.

Lots of cool outcroppings
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.

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!
Faint Trail

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

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

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!

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

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.

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

random rocks lower down
windy path

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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