Peak(s):  "West Tellurium"  -  13,074 feet
"Tellurium Peak"  -  13,300 feet
"Tabor Peak"  -  13,282 feet
Date Posted:  07/24/2022
Date Climbed:   07/09/2022
Author:  eskermo
 Taburium Group   

"Tabor Peak" 13,282'
"Tellurium Peak" 13,300'
"West Tellurium" 13,074'
13.8 Miles, 5,200'
10 hours, 5 minutes
Tabor Creek Trailhead

I do not have much to add to CUaaron, bergsteigen or Furthermore's excellent TRs on this group, aside from an alternate descent off West Tellurium, and more pictures.

The signed Tabor Creek TH lies a few miles up Lincoln Creek road and should be easily accessible to most vehicles with decent clearance. Ample parking exists for 6 or so vehicles.

Steps from the TH kiosk I ran into water that demanded bare feet. Shortly thereafter Lincoln Creek was forded at about shin depth. The trail picks up immediately after the crossing and is pretty easy to follow.

Tabor Creek trailhead

In less than a half mile the New York Collection Aqueduct is intersected. Apparently water used to be collected from Tabor Creek, Brooklyn Creek and New York Creek, and then funneled into this aqueduct which emptied into Grizzly Reservoir. From the reservoir, water flowed (or I supposed still flows, but from other sources) through the tunnel marked on USGS maps as "Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Co Tunnel No 1". That tunnel dumps water into the North Fork Lake Creek, which eventually helps supply Colorado Springs with fresh water. According to the City's website, ~80% of the city's water comes from the Western Slope. Mind boggling. If any of my research is off, please call me on it! And if you have any more info I'd be interested in hearing about this.

Tabor Creek trail continues into the forest after crossing the New York Collection Canal

Anyway, back to hiking. Cross the aqueduct and continue on the excellent trail, which eventually opens up with some great views.

Tellurium makes an early appearance

Current USGS and USFS maps do not show the trail that branches off from the 2185 Tabor Creek Trail, but open source overlays like the "Map Builder" layer in CalTopo do. At the contour line for 11,640' you will see the cairn in the picture below just off the Tabor Creek Trail. The trail is NOT defined here, but the way up is obvious. After climbing a couple hundred vertical, the trail becomes very obvious and easy to follow for the most part.

This turnoff is also a great place to study and maybe snap a picture of the Tabor/Tellurium connecting ridge if you plan to follow the "standard" route others have followed. The notch that needs to be gained to access Brooklyn Basin is visible from here. However it difficult without a GPS map to determine exactly which notch to gain when traversing below the Tabor-Tellurium connecting ridge.

Cairn marking the turn off for the unmarked Tabor Lake trail. Notch granting passage into Brooklyn Basin visible left of center.

Around 12,300' you'll reach Tabor Lake. From here I took a short break and studied the line up to the ridge. The yellow-dirt gully on the right side of the picture is what you want. More solid rock lies on either side of the gully that can be utilized to make the going a little more secure.

Tabor Peak (left), North Ridge, yellow dirt access gully (right) from Tabor Lake

Once established on the North Ridge of Tabor, it was an enjoyable and mostly solid class 2 scramble to the summit.

Tabor Peak North Ridge
Tabor Lake and much of the ascent from Tabor summit

I briefly considered attempting the connecting ridge between Tabor and Tellurium as both bergsteigen and Furthermore had suggested they appear to offer decent scrambling. As I eyed the ridge from lower in the valley, there was one notch on the Tabor side of the saddle that looked gnarly. I figured I'd stick to the surefire bet as I was in more of a mood for checking peaks off my list, rather than exploring unknown and potentially dangerous ridgelines solo. If someone else does the connecting ridge, please report back!

Tabor - Tellurium ridge

Reversing the route went quickly. Back at the lake, look for a low saddle south of the lake and hike to it. From the low saddle you should be able to see much of the high contour traverse to the Tabor-Tellurium saddle.

Terrain along the high traverse to the Tabor Creek/Brooklyn Gulch notch

The flowers were something else during this portion of the day. That's about the only positive thing I can relay about this part of the hike. The last stretch getting up to the notch felt quite insecure and unpleasant.

Flowers are better than complaining
Nearing the notch
Looking into Tabor Creek drainage from the notch
Tellurium and unnamed lake. Most of remaining route up Tellurium shown here
West Tellurium lies just left of center, Brooklyn Gulch below

From the saddle, I took a short break to hydrate and watch an Elk and her tiny calf eating down by the creek. As I started down the crappy slope into upper Brooklyn Basin and kicked rocks around, the calf and mom spotted me and I heard the loudest cutest little squeal before the elk ran off. That made my day (aside from the perfect weather and three new peaks!).

After losing some elevation from the notch, I contoured toward the lake that lies under Tellurium's north slopes (Tellurium Lake?). Crossing at its outlet, I began climbing the rounded shoulder that descends north from Tellurium's summit ridge. Mostly tundra gave way to talus and larger, more solid rock just before gaining the summit ridge. A quick jaunt east up the summit ridge lands you on Tellurium's summit.

Looking northwest toward Difficult BM and New York Peak
Tabor from the unnamed lake around 12,300'
Nice work for 1909 - only 82ish feet off!
Tabor Peak from Tellurium Peak. Someone should run this ridge!
Petroleum and Anderson
Ridge to West Tellurium

The ridge to West Tellurium went easily, even with a few rocky bumps to climb along the way. The view down to Ptarmigan Lake (with a paddleboarder on it!) below the ridge was spectacular.

Ptarmigan Lake below

Took a quick break at the saddle and then powered up the last several hundred vertical of the day. The broken rock on the ridge proper looked a little gnarly but was easy enough to head straight up.

Looking back at Tellurium from West Tellurium
Flowers with Tabor behind
Looking southwest from West Tellurium summit

Bergsteigen and Furthermore's reports alluded to Brooklyn Basin holding a significant amount of not fun bushwhacking. Furthermore went up Brooklyn Basin to access the Telluriums and did not recommend this as an ascent route. Bergsteigen went down this way and did not have great things to say about it. I was curious if a descent into New York Basin would prove less miserable.

USFS and USGS maps show the 2182 New York Creek Trail wrapping back around to the aqueduct from a high pass a couple miles west of West Tellurium. The West ridge of West Tellurium looked like a fast, easy tundra stroll to this trail with a few bumps to climb along the way; or alternatively, I could take the West ridge down to the first major saddle at 12,460', then drop into a high basin that drains to the north before picking up the trail down in the forest. I opted for the latter option.

West ridge of West Tellurium down to saddle.
Looking down into New York Basin from near the saddle where I dropped in

The descent from the saddle went easily with mostly grass and solid talus. From the high basin, I picked my way through easy terrain, looking out for swampy bogginess along the way, aiming to stay between the two north-draining creeks shown on topo maps before contouring west toward the trail down lower.

Upper New York Basin
Lots of cool little ponds above treeline in NY Basin

As far as bushwhacking goes, this went really well. Sure, there were a few downed logs and annoying rivulets choked with vegetation to negotiate, but the forest was pretty wide open. Around 11,100' I picked up the New York Creek trail and followed it down to the aqueduct. By this time of day the sun felt HOT, was directly on me, and I was beat. Aspirations of the Truro group the next day were replaced by fantasies of sleeping in and eating a lot of food on Sunday.

I followed the aqueduct back around to the intersection of the Tabor Creek trail and the aqueduct, then wrapped up the last bit of trail back to the car. Taking off shoes and crossing Lincoln Creek felt gloriously refreshing after a 10 hour day :)

Hope someone finds this useful. Thanks for reading.

Track on USFS

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Nice alternative
07/24/2022 15:39
On the descent! I did these same peaks last Fall and went down Brooklyn Gulch. It was as miserable as advertised.

New York
07/24/2022 17:00
I think the beta on taking New York Creek instead of Brooklyn Gulch alone makes this a valuable report, I'll make a note of that for my attempt on these... Great photos and narrative too, thanks for sharing!

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