Peak(s):  Twin Sisters East  -  13,432 feet
Twin Sisters West  -  13,374 feet
PT 13,042  -  13,042 feet
Date Posted:  09/16/2021
Date Climbed:   09/04/2021
Author:  mountaincoder
Additional Members:   thatstoodamnloud
 Visiting the sisters from Molas   

Mileage: 17.8
Elevation ~4000

South Mineral Road is closed (surprise!) from last years fire, but these were our intended peaks for day two of this trip. Fortunately, I'd been staring at maps recently and suggested that we could still get them using the Colorado Trail from Molas Pass for a few miles more. So, we spend another night in our truck on Molas Pass. In the morning we drive to the Colorado Trail TH and start from there. A lovely morning and a 6:45 start at a crisp 41 degrees.

Sunrise on the CT

There are a few other hikers out, of course, some bowhunters and bike packers. We also see the local sheep herd.

The classic San Juans sheep herd

We leave the CT at 8:45 and head up a steep red rock dry gully. This is not the trail. But, we contour up and finally a trail appears that leads up to the obvious break in the lovely rock cliffs that top the basin. Apparently, this is known locally as "the break" according to the Durangoans we meet later in the day.

The view looking back (southeast) from the top of the break.

From here it is a lovely stroll over to the base of East Sister on a faint trail.

Looking back east on the trail from about halfway to the first sister.

Which is followed by an abrupt and steep slog up to the summit. We summit at 10:51 and continue on, again with a climbers trail, to summit West Sister at 11:22. The trip between the two is all large scree. Suddenly the clouds look suspicious and we're a long way from tree line.

We decide we don't feel compelled to re-summit the East Sister so we return to the saddle and then drop south and contour across some more rocky scree ending back in the meadow where we started, below East Sister. Maggie didn't love the loose contour but it was over quickly. It looked like you might have been able to drop even lower and miss most of it on a grassy slope if you wanted to.

This view from the West Sister looking East shows the scree slope with the nice meadow ledge behind it

Already the sky has settled down and although we're tired, the hiking is sheer joy. We return across the meadows and climb the grassy slope to 13,042 arriving at 1:55.


We cross paths with one couple en route and meet another couple from Durango on the summit. They point out the Putnam Basin trail which returns to the CT without much additional elevation or distance. I'm a sucker for a loop, so we do that and it's a very nice trail. As an added bonus, we get a chance to refill our water in the creek.


We end up back on the CT at about the 3 mile mark (from the Molas TH). The sheep herd from the morning are settling in near the shepherd's tent. The CT is easy mileage and we're quickly back to our truck, finishing at 5:00.

A view of Vermillion through US Grant from the summit of 130424

This is my/our first trip report - we hadn't seen a reference to this route and thought we should document it. It's rare that we do anything that hasn't already been written up by Bergsteigen, Piper14er, Furthermore, Supranihilest, or some other legend that has come before... to all of whom we are most grateful!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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