Bent Peak – 13,393


RT Length: 2 miles

Elevation Gain: 1032’


Woohoo! It’s finally summertime and I’m in the mood to start doing some serious hiking. I drove down to Lake City after work on Thursday, intending to find a parking spot on Carson Pass, spend the night, and get up early to start hiking. I looked up Carson Pass for road conditions on Bushducks and wasn’t able to find any information so I figured this was an easy 4WD road. (Note, I found out later it’s listed under Wager Gulch).

I turned left from 30 onto 36, or Carson Road. There’s a sign that says “4WD recommended”


Ha! I found out rather quickly This is a serious 4WD road. It’s narrow, has a minimum of 4 blind-hairpin turns, water crossings, and some serious rocks/trees/etc. to navigate.




The good news is if you can make it after the first mile you can make it all the way. On my drive back down I saw someone turn around just before making it a mile. It took them a good 20 minutes to turn their vehicle around. I hope they found a dispersed campsite elsewhere. Here’s a picture of the truck that turned around. My Tundra handled it famously, but this is a road better suited to vehicles with a short wheel base.


After driving for 3.5 miles I made it to Carson. It’s a ghost town, and just before reaching it there are a few dispersed campsites.


Instead of stopping I drove 1.5 miles further on the road to the top of Carson Pass. The entire drive was almost exactly 5 miles from the turnoff from 30.


There was a little bit of snow towards the top, but nothing that interfered with driving.


I made it to the top of Carson Pass, backed into in the only available parking space (I’m assuming a lot of vehicles just park on the tundra) and realized it was only 5pm.


Hmm. I had a flexible itinerary for the weekend that included up to 8 peaks depending on weather/conditions, and while I’d already done an hour on the treadmill today I was in no way tired. I decided to tackle the peak in front of me because I had plenty of time and wanted to get the most out of this trip. Read: I did not want to make that drive again (if possible) and wanted to get in all 8 peaks.

I gathered my backpack and headed west up the side of Bent Peak, following the 4WD road.



This hike is straight forward. You just follow the road until it ends






When the road ends, continue northwest up the side of the mountain


The tundra turns to rocky terrain


And then to a mix of tundra and rocks


And then back to rocks


The summit was rocky and had a bunch of cairns.


I summited at 5:50pm.


Bent Peak:

I took a good look at the conditions of the nearby peaks I intended to tackle this weekend. It didn’t look like I’d be needing traction. I turned around and re-traced my steps back to the road, and my truck (circled)






I made it back to my truck at 6:15pm, making this a 2 mile hike with 1032’ of elevation gain in 1 hour.


Here’s a topo of my route:


I was really glad I’d decided to tackle this quick peak today. Now it was time to eat some dinner and prep for tomorrow. It was now I noticed the cooler I’d brought had tumbled during the drive and leaked water all over my laptop. Oh no! My laptop was fried. Great. This was not a good start to the weekend.

The wind started to pick up and I could tell it was going to be a long night. I decided to fuel up on calories, and as I was eating dinner and sipping whiskey I thought about a movie on Amazon I’d recently watched: Ouray 100, which is about a 100+ mile endurance run in Ouray, CO. that includes 42K+ in elevation gain (84K in elevation change). I’ve been intrigued by this run, but also by one of the pacers. She’s a woman around 25 years old who at one point in the movie said “Give me some Gu, I don’t care what flavor, I just need the calories”. I need to be more on her level: I have a hard time forcing myself to eat anything while hiking, and she doesn’t seem to care; she just wants the calories. I also just want the calories but feel like I have to throw up after consuming them.

I tried to get to bed early but all I could think about was driving that road back down when it was time to leave. I was not looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem driving 4WD roads and I actually enjoy doing so because my truck has always done everything I’ve asked it to do. What I don’t enjoy is passing other vehicles on the roads because my truck is big and passing can get tricky when the road is narrow. There aren’t a lot of turnouts on the road to Carson Pass and uphill has the right of way so mentally I tried to figure out the best time to drive down: Do I leave in the middle of the night at some point this weekend? If I do and encounter another driver how much fun will it be backing up in the dark on that road? How likely was that to happen? Or do I leave early morning and risk early adventurers driving up? Or late afternoon?  That’s when most people are driving down, right? So drivers coming up expect a lot of drivers driving down and are more likely to avoid that time? How many people would drive up to see the sunset? What time am I least likely to encounter another driver? Is there a time the Jeeps are due back when rented? Ugh. I wish I could have just turned my mind off at this point, as it was useless worrying about something I couldn’t control. I guess I’d be flexible depending on how much hiking I was able to get in.

I noticed my truck was by far the largest vehicle up there all weekend: lots of Jeeps and ATVs and OHVs were on the road, but no larger vehicles/trucks.

Oh, and the wind never stopped, but it did start snowing.

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Bent Peak – 13,393”

  1. Sorry to read of Your laptop mishaps,hope it wasn’t fried .You mention how You enjoy driving and I’m sure that You are flawless in all You do.When I read of all Your mountain climbing accomplishments ;driving is the easiest obstacle You overcome.As a semi driver I can attest to women having the best lane control,without a doubt.You seemed to have been a little worried about the best time to to head back down because of the narrowness of the lane or road .I’ve never known a woman who has the where-with-all to overcome the many obstacles that You face and I believe You welcome. The reason I say that is because of the Years You have allowed me to read Your postings.I have seen You reaching dlown into Your inner self when You were facing the freezing and high winds that constantly effect Your hands and feet due to Raynaud’s..I have nothing but total awe and amazement everytime I read of self sacrificeses. As I read this article,I’m drawn back to Your restful time before You drift off into slumber and You nightcap of a sip of whiskey;just as I myself do as I read lof Your exploits.Onlt I follow it up with a cold Colorado amber beer. Thank You once again Miss Lady Laura .


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