Peak(s):  Monumental Pk  -  13,369 feet
Fitzpatrick Pk  -  13,112 feet
Emma Burr Mtn  -  13,538 feet
Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
PT 13,580 C  -  13,580 feet
"Magdalene Mtn"  -  13,762 feet
"Pear Pk"  -  13,462 feet
PT 13,517 A  -  13,517 feet
North Apostle  -  13,860 feet
"West Apostle"  -  13,568 feet
Date Posted:  01/02/2022
Date Climbed:   08/21/2021
Author:  headsizeburrito
 Continental Divide Ridge Traverse - Monarch Pass to Lake Ann Pass   

Continental Divide Ridge Traverse - Monarch Pass to Lake Ann Pass


TLDR: Aiming to follow the ridge of the Continental Divide from Monarch Pass to Independence Pass, due to time constraints left the ridge at Lake Ann Pass instead. Fun multi day trip almost entirely off trail and with a nice mix of terrain.

Overall stats: 5 days, 74.7mi, 30,500ft gain/31,500ft loss.


This trip happened in late August (21st-25th), but life got in the way and I’m finally getting the report up now. Better late than never I suppose! Also this ended up very long, but maybe it’ll give you something to read if you are bored over the winter.

Ideally I’d start with a map overview of the route, but it would end up squished and useless, so just scroll to the bottom and view my gpx file.


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Harvard visible on the right and the Apostles on the left, a key section of the route, from day 3

Background and route:

I moved to Colorado in October of 2020 and knew I wanted to do some kind of big unsupported solo trip the following summer/fall once I had time to make a plan and do some training and scouting. I had a few ideas, but when I read Justin Simoni’s musings about a possible trip from Marshall Pass to Tennessee Pass along the Continental Divide it caught my attention and I decided to see if I could make it happen. Justin even speculated about adding “bonus peaks” such as a couple 14ers and Centennials close to the line. He then discovered that due to some Caltopo shenanigans the approximately 118 mile route with 31,000ft of gain was actually more like 65,000ft of gain. I realized that the full line was a bit ambitious for me even without considering time constraints. My revised goal was to follow the CD from Monarch Pass to Independence Pass. This cut some mileage while preserving what appeared to be some of the most interesting sections of the route and having paved road access at each end for dropoff/pickup.


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Original endpoint goal of route, pic from scouting trip

Preparation:

I messaged Justin and we discussed the route, and ended up doing a couple scouting trips together to see sections of the line, along with a few trips of my own. In May while things were still quite snowy I went to Monarch Pass and followed the ridge to Clover Mountain just to get an idea of what the area was like and start visualizing the full route. In June I met up with Justin and we scouted the line from Independence Pass to Red Mountain B. A few weeks later we met up again to scout the Three Apostles, which Justin expected would be one of the most challenging parts of the line. Going over Huron to get to the Apostles quickly (or rather slowly) revealed the folly of doing “bonus peaks” while trying to do such a long route. We bailed after Ice Mountain due to weather, so I went back by myself to fill in the gap between Lake Ann Pass and Ice Mountain, which proved to be relatively straightforward.


A key piece of beta came from Justin about the section of ridge between Birthday Peak and Peak 13560, which runs parallel to the Harvard/Columbia ridge. He scouted it and quickly bailed (report here, short version: crumbly death trap) so I knew better than to even attempt it since he’s a much more experienced climber than I am. Very valuable safety information, but also kind of a bummer if it means you can’t purely stay on the ridge for the whole line because of a 2 mile section. At the same time if you can’t be perfectly on the line at all times for a very good reason, it gives you a little more flexibility for the rest of the route if you feel you need it. Any “rules” are made up and individual anyway, so I figured I’d stay on the ridge proper as much as possible but not stress about minor detours in the name of safety. I also wanted to keep a good pace and be efficient, but wasn’t trying to treat it like an FKT attempt.


The final scouting trip was also a gear shakedown with more or less the same stuff I would take on the full route (I’m admittedly mostly a day hiker who does very few backpacking overnights and this trip involved a new pack, pad, and bivy). I started from the North Cottonwood Creek TH and did Columbia to Harvard, originally thinking that doing it this way would “make up” for detouring around the seemingly impassible “Birthday Ridge.” Of course that section took long enough that I decided for the actual trip I’d just take the Horn Fork Basin Trail instead, one of the only bits of trail I ended up using. The ridge south from Harvard to rejoin the CD is rocky with some mild scrambling but not too difficult, joining at what 14ers.com lists as UN 13580C and Caltopo shows as Peak 13560. The next section has what turned out to be some of the most difficult terrain of the route, and will be discussed below (day 3). From there I made it to Magdalene Mountain, descended a gully, and slept at Silver King Lake.


The original plan for the second day of this scouting trip was to just reverse the route for extra practice, but I was kind of wiped out and not in the mood to do all that again. Instead I rejoined the ridge a bit NW of the lake and aimed for Emerald Peak. Here I discovered that the steep section of the south ridge is a crumbly nightmare. I got within 200 vertical feet of where it levels out again before bailing (itself sketchy) because I couldn’t find a safe route to continue. The whole thing looks very fragile, and seemingly decent holds would fall apart frequently. When a stable looking ledge I stopped on crumbled away beneath me I decided it was time to get out of there. There may be a safe line, but I would recommend avoiding it unless you are very careful/dedicated/silly. To get around it I made my way up the steep east slope (class 2) to the summit, then tagged Iowa too since it was right there. Missouri tempted me and I could see people on the summit, but I had a long day still and cut SE across the basin, getting caught in three passing storms (fortunately small). I found a way back up onto the divide just west of UN 13580C and was able to drop down to Bear Lake, where I took the trail back to the North Cottonwood Creek TH. On the way home I stopped for dinner at a restaurant in Buena Vista and had one of the worst burritos I’ve ever paid for.


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Ass burrito


Gear/Food

As mentioned before, I’m not much of a backpacker so I won’t claim my gear for this trip was super dialed, but it worked well enough. My pack was an Arcteryx Aerios 45L and my sleep system was a 32*F Mountain Hardware bag and Thermarest Xtherm pad in an OR Helium bivy. I also carried a helmet for the more difficult sections. For food I went no-cook for simplicity and carried 4,000+ calories per day of bars, trail mix, chews, and spicy cracker mix. Water availability is very limited on the route and I tend to drink a lot, so I had 7L of capacity, which I made full use of.


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Food and gear "neatly organized" in my closet


Ok, that’s a lot of setup, finally time for the actual trip.


Day 1 - Slow and steady, up and down

Day 1 stats: 20.4mi, 8,600ft gain/7,600ft loss, 14h38m


I was dropped off at Monarch Pass, but sadly the gift shop wasn’t open yet for a last minute treat. Things start out pretty easy going through the ski area, with a dirt road along the ridgeline for a chunk of it. This section also parallels the Continental Divide Trail and overlaps here and there, though I stayed ridge direct where the two diverged. The CDT drops off the ridge past Bald Mountain and the proper adventure begins. The terrain here is actually pretty moderate and this was a good way to ease into the trip. There is quite a bit of cruiser alpine tundra, as well as some sharp rocky areas and a few boulder fields. There were only a few moments where I used my hands all day. Monumental Peak (13,369) was the highest point of the day, providing great views in all directions, but especially of the parallel ridge to the east, with the CDT between the two.


From Hancock Peak I saw a large convoy of 4x4s making their way up to Hancock Pass and took the chance to rest and let them pass before going down there myself. Between Mt. Chapman and Mt. Arps a small storm passed over with some moderate wind, light rain, and brief hail. Luckily this was the only real weather I encountered all trip! Between Mt. Arps and Mt. Poor is Williams Pass, which is a marshy area and the first potential water source that wouldn’t require leaving the CD, though I didn’t stop here.


On the other side of Mt. Poor the route crosses the Alpine Tunnel Trail/CDT and I considered leaving the route to filter water in the outflow from Tunnel Lake, but I had a little left and wanted to keep moving as it was getting pretty late in the day. After an easy boulder scramble up Mt. Helmers you get back on a pretty easy ridge and I tried to pick up the pace on my tired legs as the sun set. I had somewhat optimistically hoped to reach Tincup Pass by the first day but that wasn’t going to happen. After a bit of headlamp hiking I found a spot protected from the rising wind at a small saddle along the ridge just east of Graphite Lake and settled in for the night.


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Starting point at Monarch Pass


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Looking towards the ski area at the start of the route
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I think this was taken around Bald Mountain, Mt Aetna is on the right and the ridge goes to the left
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Terrain going up Hancock Peak
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Hancock Pass


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Big Chungus register on Mt Arps


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Some of the only real weather I had all trip
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Trying to cover some ground as the sun sets on day one, Fitzpatrick Peak as the pointy one along the ridge
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Night one bivy site

Day 2 - More of the same but windy

Day 2 stats: 18.9mi, 7,600ft gain/7,900ft loss, 15h14m


The day started with summiting Fitzpatrick Peak and then descending to Tincup Pass. Here I stopped and filtered water from a stream just to the south, which took quite a while. Now fully loaded with 7L of water, I was immediately rewarded with a 1,000ft climb in half a mile up to Tincup Peak. From here the wind picked up a little for a good part of the day, but weather was otherwise sunny and comfortable. Terrain from here most of the way to Cottonwood Pass is pretty mellow and uneventful, with very nice views and comparable to the previous day. The ridge parallels the CDT before criss-crossing it a couple times between Chalk Rock Mountain and Cottonwood Pass. The pass was quite busy and it was certainly the most people I saw all trip, including some downhill skateboarders taking advantage of the smooth pavement. I was glad to get through it and back to being by myself. Water was running a bit low by this point in the day and I had originally considered Cottonwood Pass as a potential water source based on maps, but it appears the road drains directly into that pond so I skipped it.


My pace was slowing but I hoped to make it to Browns Pass to spend the night. It got dark about 1.5mi from the pass, which would not have been a problem except for one very short section. Here I ran into a notch with a near vertical face that required a tricky detour with a steep downclimb and scree gully. You can’t even really see that the notch is there until right on top of it, otherwise a wider (and safer) detour would have been more obvious. There was probably a reasonably easy route if you could see it clearly, but doing it by headlamp made finding a proper line much more challenging. I had to commit to a couple downclimb moves I probably couldn’t reverse and hope it went through, then nearly wiped out descending the steep scree gully. I recorded a voice memo at the end of each day as a way of taking notes and described my way of getting through this section as “sketchy and not responsible.” Once I exited the gully there was some limited flat ground and I set up camp behind a large boulder with the idea that it would act as a shield in case anything besides me came tumbling down that night.


I had ended both days a bit short of where I wanted to be, and knew it was only going to get harder from here. From this point on there would be a lot more difficult terrain with extended class 3 and my pace would slow even further, so I figured Independence Pass was unlikely. I had made plans for multiple alternate exits/bailout points and figured Lake Ann Pass was likely to be where I would have to leave the Divide in a few days.


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Sunrise on day 2


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Nice views and easy terrain for much of the day


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Looking north from Chalk Rock Mountain


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Cottonwood Pass
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Harvard, Columbia, and Yale on the skyline
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Of course the only difficult terrain of the entire day sneaks up right when it gets dark
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Trying to find my way by headlamp


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Camp for night 2

Day 3 - The hard part starts

Day 3 stats: 14.0mi, 7,000ft gain/6,000ft loss, 13h11m


I set my alarm for a half hour later than the previous day in order to have full light to see what I was doing in the section that gave me trouble the night before. I could see an easy line back and was a little annoyed that such a short section caused so much hassle. From there I quickly reached Browns Pass and got some water at the pond just to the south because I was almost out. From the pass to Birthday Peak is easy terrain, but once I hit Birthday I had to focus a bit since I hadn’t seen this area before and needed to figure out the best way off the ridge to detour around the section Justin bailed on. There was a herd of about 20 sheep passing through the saddle between Birthday and the unnamed peak to the east, which was fun since I saw very few animals otherwise. This peak has a very rocky summit and north ridge, so I put my helmet on for this section. Luckily the rock in this area is actually decent, so I was able to stay directly on the ridge with some occasional exposed class 3. At the saddle I dropped east off the Divide through a boulder field and stopped in the small basin to fill all my bottles. From there I just angled towards the Horn Fork Basin Trail until I hit it.


I won’t lie, it was kind of nice to be on a trail again. And I had a good excuse! (avoiding near certain death). Even being on trail you have about 3,000ft of gain to the summit of Harvard from here, so I was feeling a little worn down and took a lot more breaks than usual in the second half of the climb. In my voice memo for this day I commented that this was the point where I started daydreaming about the hot food/burritos I would eat when I finished the trip. Eventually I reached the summit, which was the highest point of the entire route.


From there I left the trail again and was back on the rocky ridge to officially rejoin the Continental Divide at UN 13580C/Peak 13560 (supranihilest has a good report that discusses this section of the ridge in detail). West of that peak is a steep and fairly loose drop to two knobs with rather questionable rock along the ridge. On my scouting trip I managed to get up and over the first and then went around the second because it looked very sketchy, the backside was indeed quite steep and I’m glad I didn’t attempt to downclimb it. This time I just skirted both of them on the south side across a steep scree field.


The next short section is probably the most difficult (non-detoured) part of the route. It goes from the rise just west of those two knobs to the point on the ridge directly north of Lake Claire. The ridge becomes extremely narrow here (a few feet in places) and highly exposed, with some big moves needed to progress. I’m not a climber so I wont try and give it a specific rating, but it’s definitely above class 3. The rock quality is decent, but in places it is covered in loose material that presents a hazard. At one or two points I had to drop down to narrow ledges that were fortunately solid and fairly flat, but would be extremely dangerous if wet. At another point you have to get up/across a very steep slope with few holds and lots of exposure. The ridge basically funnels you along one line and my gpx files show that both times I took essentially the same route because you don’t really have a choice. It stressed me out the first time and the second time didn’t feel any easier. I’m sure more experienced people would have no problems, but approach it carefully. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from this section because I was preoccupied with getting through it. In my daily voice memo discussing this section I said “not sure I want to do that part again, it was a little unpleasant.”


It was getting late so I didn’t get much further this day, just getting over the next bump on the ridge and stopping at the next saddle where it was relatively flat and quite wide. There was a little daylight left, but I knew from my scouting trip that the section from there to Magdalene Mountain was quite rocky with some easy class 3, but few opportunities for a decent place to sleep. Not wanting a repeat of the night before, I figured I’d take advantage of the nice location and have a slightly shorter day. Unfortunately this didn’t translate into more rest as I had trouble sleeping that night for some reason. On the plus side I used the opportunity to listen to a history podcast about the Berlin Wall. By this point in the trip I knew that Independence Pass wasn’t possible given my pace and time constraints, so accepted that I’d leave the ridge at Lake Ann Pass and finish at the Huron 2WD trailhead.


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Looking at the tricky section of last night in the full morning light with my estimated route marked, clearly there would have been better options if I could actually see


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Browns Pass, with water source to the right


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“Birthday Ridge” with Harvard and Columbia in the background, I dropped off the ridge at the saddle in the foreground


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Temporarily on trail and heading towards Harvard


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Just some marmots chilling on Harvard


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Looking SW from Harvard summit, Bear Lake on left, CD ridge going to the right


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Cool balancing rock overlooking Missouri Basin


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The two knobs I detoured around in the foreground and the difficult section beyond them


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Looking back at the ridge coming from Harvard


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My camp for the night

Day 4 - Crumbly bullshit and two pears

Day 4 stats: 10.0mi, 4,900ft gain/4,400ft loss, 13h57m


As you can see from my mileage, this was a slow day. None of it was as individually difficult as the section the day before, but there was just lots of time consuming terrain. The section from my bivy to the summit of Magdalene isn’t too bad, with class 2 and easy class 3 on generally quite stable rock and boulders. Once the ridge turns north again towards Emerald it gets increasingly difficult. The rock becomes very crumbly and I had to make several small detours. First is a large knob that I knew wouldn’t go because the backside is near vertical. After that slight detour I got back on the ridge proper and made a good faith effort, but there are a couple good size notches and I couldn’t find a safe way to downclimb the unstable rock. Luckily this was only a minor detour and eventually I was at the saddle before the final climb to Emerald. I had run out of water by this point and was glad I had scouted this bit previously and knew not to waste time on it, instead dropping into the basin and then heading up a steep gully. The gully emerges fairly close to the Emerald summit, but I was very thirsty and at least moderately grumpy, so since the summit wasn’t technically on the line and I had done it last time I skipped the ten minutes of extra effort and descended as quickly as possible to Pear Lake and much needed water.


At Pear Lake I took a break and refilled water. I hadn’t scouted the section between the lake and 13517A, but kind of wish I had (WildWanderer has a detailed report on this section posted a couple weeks after my trip). I had done some preliminary reading and knew it went, but didn’t remember any of the details going in. The ridge up to Pear Peak is somewhat demanding, with everything from easy class 2 to ledges, slabs, scree, and exposed class 3 or above. The north ridge to the next saddle is actually quite easy and ends on a nice grassy slope that feels a bit out of place for the location.


From here I looked towards 13220 and had to stop and think about it for a minute. I couldn’t remember what, if anything, I had read about this point and the south ridge looked a little iffy. I was also nervous about the backside that was out of view, unsure what the descent would be like. After a lot of shitty rock in the first half of the day I decided it would be safer to detour around the point on the west side. This turned into a time consuming process of traversing the steep slope filled with seemingly endless scree gullies. Eventually I made it to the other side and looking back the north ridge actually looked pretty mellow. I’m still not fully sure about the south ridge, but there are certainly better lines than what I took that could have stayed closer to the ridge proper.


It was getting late in the day and 13517A was just ahead, my goal for the night. The first section is pretty easy, but that didn’t stop me from getting a small but rather productive cut on my hand from a sharp rock. I figured a little blood was a good way to consecrate my new pack while I dug around for bandaids that didn’t stay on anyway since I had to use my hands a lot coming up. Close to the peak the terrain gets more difficult. Again I knew there was a decent line, but couldn’t remember any details about it. I started on the ridge and did a couple fun chimney moves, but then wasn’t seeing an obvious route. Feeling anxious about the rapidly setting sun and wanting to get to a safe place for the night I started traversing the steep south slope and then took a direct line up to the summit. It wasn’t ideal but it worked out, and I reached the summit about 20 minutes before dark. I had thought that there was a bivy spot here but that wasn’t the case, so I had to quickly make one. It’s not like you had to rope in to sleep or anything, but it was the most adventurous place I’ve set up camp to date. That part was actually kind of fun once I was there and no longer worried about potentially trying to navigate a tricky class 3 and above ridge by headlamp.


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Heading up to Magdalene at the start of day 4


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Ridge between Magdalene and Emerald


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View of the steep section of Emerald’s south ridge that I detoured around (pic taken on previous trip)


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Looking from below Emerald summit south, Harvard on left, Magdalene on right


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Pear Lake and the Divide continuing to the right


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Looking north from Pear Peak


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Closer view of 13220, wasn’t feeling confident about that ridge


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So ended up detouring to the west through a ton of this fun stuff


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Final section of ridge to 13517A


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Made it to the summit as sun was quickly going down


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Final bivy of the trip


Day 5 - Three Apostles and a lasagna

Day 5 stats: 11.4mi, 2,400ft gain/5,600ft loss, 9h45m


The final day was fairly uneventful because it was all stuff I’d been on before and the distance was relatively short. Short doesn’t necessarily mean easy of course. While the Three Apostles Traverse isn’t that technically difficult it’s still physically demanding with lots of sustained class 3. Even though I had done it recently, it still took me more than two hours longer than I expected to get through everything. Plenty of reports on this section (including my own) so I won’t go into detail on it. Luckily conditions were perfect and I had the route to myself until I reached Lake Ann Pass around 2pm and was greeted by a couple flying a drone around. Welcome back to civilization.


From Lake Ann Pass I could see Red Mountain B in the distance, which was the turnaround point of the scouting trip from Independence Pass I did with Justin back in June. While I had accepted the reality that I wasn’t going to make the full route in the available time, it was still a bit of a bummer to see it almost within reach. Lake Ann Pass to Independence Pass is roughly 22mi/11,000ft vert, so I’m confident I could have finished the line with one more full day because the terrain gets much easier overall from this point. Oh well, maybe I’ll go back and do that section this summer once the snow is gone!


Rejoining the trail and heading north I started crossing paths with CDT thru hikers and stopped to filter a couple liters from one of the many stream crossings. My ride couldn’t be there until late evening, so I was hoping to hitch into Leadville to my hotel, but the parking lot was empty. Instead I just hung out for a while and took a nap in my bivy once it got dark. I finally made it into town after 10pm, which means all the restaurants were closed. No giant burrito I guess. I settled for going to the Safeway to find something I could heat in the hotel microwave. After eating as much as I could I happily took a shower and slept in a bed.


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Sunrise on the Apostles to start the final day


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Some columbines part way up North Apostle


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Lake Ann in the foreground and Red Mountain B visible in the distance


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Nice view of the Apostles on the hike out


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My endpoint at the Huron 2WD/Winfield TH


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Fine dining at the hotel


Thoughts/Lessons


A few concluding thoughts in case this wasn’t long enough. Overall this was a great adventure and I really enjoyed doing this kind of trip, both the preparation of scouting and research, and actually being out there doing a relatively long and unusual route. I’m definitely interested in doing more trips like this, though it’s a big state and I just got here so I doubt I’d repeat this whole line.


Gear and food worked well, though there was room for improvement in the form of slimming down. I never needed my rain jacket and while I wouldn’t leave it behind, I would like a lighter one. I brought the only one I had (Arcteryx Beta AR purchased primarily for winter use) because the ultralight jacket I wanted was out of stock and I couldn’t make up my mind among the other alternatives. I could have managed with a lighter sleeping pad (Xlite vs Xtherm) but purchased the Xtherm as a do-it-all option. I finished with at least a quarter of my food left so I could have carried less but also probably didn’t eat as much as I should have. When you are working hard 13-15 hours a day it’s probably wise to force down a little extra even when you aren’t really hungry.


For technique and strategy, there was certainly room for improvement in how long it took me to set up and break down camp each day, but that kind of just comes with practice. Water strategy is a bit tricky. I had 7L of capacity and only one or two real chances to get water each day without leaving the ridge. I ran out of water once and got very low two other times, so carrying less would be a challenge. Even when the other potential sources weren’t too far off the line it often required having to lose and regain significant elevation, which can be a tough choice to make. I was using a Katadyn BeFree filter into a reservoir and collapsible bottles, which was quite time consuming. I remembered to check the time at Tincup Pass and unpacking, filtering 7L, and repacking took close to an hour. Using a set-and-forget chemical treatment like Aquamira or just yoloing it and not filtering would save significant time. I would have liked to scout the section between Pear Peak and 13517A to get through it better. At the same time it’s hard to scout every section of a long route and there is a lot of value in seeing new things and having to figure them out as they come up.


I’d be very interested to see some Nolans finisher types try to get a fast time on this route to see what is possible. I seem to recall one of the unsupported Nolan’s FKT holders doing it with only 1.5L of water capacity, which probably wouldn’t be possible here given the limited water access. Going fast could also involve a lot more travel in the dark, but some sections of the route would be pretty sketchy to do with a headlamp. Going earlier in the year would mean more daylight, but could also mean snow in dangerous places since most of the route is above 12k. I don’t think this route could be an “official” FKT route since you can’t stay perfectly on the ridge and different people would bypass different features, making an apples to apples comparison impossible. Still, it’s kind of fun to think about…


I don’t have a good final picture from the trip, so here’s my cat instead.


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Eddie!

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




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 49 50 51


Comments or Questions
greenonion
User
Very Cool Trip
01/03/2022 09:53
Super job! Thanks for sharing.


Bombay2Boulder
User
Good stuff
01/03/2022 11:24
This is super good stuff and nice adventure. What's next?


headsizeburrito
User
.
01/03/2022 12:20
Thanks guys!

As for what next, not quite sure. I had been interested in the LA Freeway route (which was part of the Vanishing Point/Milner to Berthoud route that Justin did) but don't really have the climbing skills to do it safely. Still interested in developing my climbing skills but might be more of a long term thing. Definitely interested in doing the Nolan's 14 route Slowlans style. I have a ~50mi ridge traverse/trail loop route planned on paper at least in the Rawah Wilderness. Random one day ridge routes like Quandary to Democrat. Beyond that see what catches my eye, but if I'm going to spend 6 months thinking about it and planning/scouting like I did for this trip I better start now!


ltlFish99
Excellent report
01/03/2022 14:01
That was an excellent report with wonderful photographs.
Thanks for posting this.


headsizeburrito
User
.
01/03/2022 14:23
Thanks! I'm not much of a photographer (just pull my phone out and hit the button a couple times) but the area combined with great weather made it hard to screw up!

Speaking of pictures, one thing that always annoyed me about this site was how small the trip report photos displayed. A year and a half on the site and it was just while working on this report that I noticed the "View with large photos" button...


TomPierce
A fun read
01/05/2022 09:08
I always enjoy reading reports about off-trail, unique trips. Break away from the herd, right? Great report, glad it worked out for you.

-Tom


justiner
User
Chapeau!
01/05/2022 12:12
Mr. Burrito! I am so happy to read this report about your adventure! Great job out there! I hope this is the first of many to come! Let's get out next summer!


headsizeburrito
User
.
01/05/2022 13:56
Sounds like a plan, you know where to find me!


seano
Water woes...
01/06/2022 07:05
Finding water on ridges is always a problem. You might be better off doing it earlier in the season (late June?) when you can find snow patches here and there. Melt some in a black bag as you go, and the rest in the evening with your stove. Fuel is lighter than water, and the days then are plenty long.

Cool traverse in any case. I'm curious what you have come up with in the Rawah -- there's some serious choss in there.


headsizeburrito
User
.
01/06/2022 10:22
Earlier in the season was Justin's original idea, but I couldn't do it until late August due to schedule issues.

My Rawah idea came from just looking at maps and seeing what might be interesting, I haven't actually been there yet. The idea I came up with was to start at Cameron Pass and follow the ridge north from South Diamond Peak to where the ridge meets up with Medicine Bow Trail just north of Iceberg Lake, then take the trails back south to make it a loop for logistical convenience.

It seems like a pretty natural line/route and in my preliminary research at least one person has done the traverse as a point to point going north to south. Last year somebody named Ryan Buller did it over two days and posted an excellent video of the route. He started from the west side and joined the ridge from the Jack Dickens Trail just north of where I would be leaving it, then continued to South Diamond Peak. He did skip one short section of the ridge from where he dropped down by Island Lake to sleep and rejoined a little further south without fully connecting the line.

I'll do some more research, I feel like other people must have done it too. Once the snow melts I'll have to get up there and check out some sections. Hopefully I can do this one some time in July since it's a shorter trip than the report above so I can fit it into my schedule easier.


seano
Rawah
01/06/2022 10:45
I was up on parts of that late this past summer: the Diamonds from Cameron Pass, and Clark via Blue Lake. The part between those looks mellow, while getting off the peak SW of Island Lake looks like the crux, and I didn't get a good look at the stuff north of South Rawah. The sketchy uber-choss seems to mostly be south of Cameron Pass around Richthofen, which is the part I'm most curious about.


headsizeburrito
User
.
01/06/2022 13:43
Yeah, going north from Cameron Pass looks pretty straightforward, especially in the video I found from last year. I came up with the route in part as an easier/shorter backup in case I couldn't do my larger trip.

When I was looking at maps the topography around Richthofen and Nokhu Crags certainly caught my eye! I didn't look too deep into it because it looked like too much at the time, but figuring out if it's possible to take that ridge all the way south is certainly something I was meaning to look into at least out of curiosity (that's how it starts, right?).


Tufftommy-BV
User
You must haveā€¦
01/10/2022 20:22
gone to Pancho‘s! I ate there once after doing some peaks in the area - and before I moved here - and it WAS the worst burrito I‘ve ever had. Otherwise, awesome report! TT


headsizeburrito
User
lol
01/10/2022 20:32
That's the one! Zero seasoning in the beans, rice, or chicken, half the ingredients were cold, cheese wasn't even melted. I thought "well this sucks, but at least it came with some salsa to add flavor." Nope! The salsa was basically tomato water. I wish I had just eaten at the gas station.

Open to good post-hike food suggestions in BV!


Tufftommy-BV
User
LOL!!
01/10/2022 21:24
It was about eight years ago that I ate there - the one and only time. But, your description is EXACTLY what I recall! Down to the thank god I have salsa - oh, well - thought. Like a wad of wet paper towels

Since Asian Palate closed House Rock is my local fav. It‘s pretty good.



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