PT 13540 and PT 13427

RT Length: 8.95 miles

Elevation Gain: 4206’

CR 30 has had some work:  the road was much nicer to drive than it was last year.  No more potholes!  At least the firsts 11 miles or so.  The last 5 were still a little rough.

I parked near Cooper Creek and settled in for some dispersed camping.  There was a storm rolling in I and I got to listen to the thunder roll as I ate dinner (Pho, which was awesome) and read a little.  After a while campers set up across the way.  I went over and talked with them:  It was a father and son duo from Alabama, road-tripping because the son had just finished college.  Very cool father/son time. 

I made it an early night, sleeping until my alarm went off at 3am.  I hit snooze and was on the trail by 4am.  The route starts out following CR 30 west for about a third of a mile, then I left the road and followed the drainage/Rock Creek northwest.

The area where you leave the road is also the site of a recent avalanche:  a house was destroyed, and there are pieces of the house, roof, furniture, shoes, etc. strewn about the area for about 100 yards.

I followed Rock Creek into the upper basin, staying to the left of the creek (but hugging the creek the entire way).

Once in the basin I followed it as it curved northwest.

There was a lot more snow here than I’d expected:  I put on my microspikes and climbed into the upper basin.

Once in the upper basin there was even more snow.  Microspikes were still ok at this time, but I knew I’d want to take a different route down, as the sun was going to warm up this snow quickly and there was no telling how deep I’d be postholing.  I aimed for the ridge, and once on the ridge, followed it west to a kind of saddle

At the saddle I turned right and followed the ridge northeast to the summit of 13540.

There was a class 2 rocky section to navigate.  I just went up and over this.

Here’s a look at the summit

I summited PT 13540 at 7am

PT 13540: 

Here’s a look back down at the upper and lower basins. 

My next objective was PT 13427

Here’s the route to get there

I turned and followed the ridge southeast.  Here are some step by step pictures

The area in the above picture, circled in red, is pictured below.  I skirted this to the right

Then followed the ridge, glad I’d put on my microspikes

Eventually I came to an area where I started losing elevation.  The snow was largely avoidable by sticking to the left on the ridge.  I was a little worried about that cornice in front of me however

I lost about 475’ of elevation to the saddle

Then started up the east slope.  This area was covered in scree, and quite steep. I kept eyeing the cornice, trying to find the best way to ascend.  While I had snowshoes, I didn’t have crampons, so my microspikes would have to do if it came down to it.  Here’s the path I chose to take to the summit, looking for a stable but accessible part of the cornice to climb.

When I got to the cornice, I was able to kick in steps with just my microspikes, although, lacking in forward facing spikes, they needed a little creative help from my ice axe at times. 

Towards the top I started postholing as the cornice leveled out, and had to slide on my belly the last few feet to make it to the tundra. Once over the cornice the summit was obvious, to the north

I summited PT 13427 at 8:30am

PT 13427:

Here’s a look back on PT 13540

It was still morning, but the snow was softening up quickly.  I wanted to get back over that cornice asap. I turned and headed back towards the cornice

It was easy to find my entry/exit point, as I could still see the marks from where I army crawled a few minutes ago.

I did the same thing again, facing the mountain and using the steps I’d kicked in earlier.  It was rapidly warming up:  the tip of the cornice was now steadily reedripping water.

Here’s a look at the ridge back up towards PT 13540

I slid down the scree and followed the ridge back. 

The snow was mostly avoidable until I made it to where the ridge kind of levels out for a while.  From then on it was posthole city

I knew there was no way I wanted to re-enter those basins, so I decided to take the southeast ridge down.  It parallels the basin, and while there was snow, a lot of it was avoidable.  Where it wasn’t I was postholing.  I had snowshoes, but was too stubborn to put them on.  Here’s the overall route out

And step by step, first down the ridge

Then following Rock Creek back to CR 30

Here’s a picture looking up the ridge (in case you want to take the ridge up)

I came to the avalanche area, and it was then I realized a house had recently been destroyed (more on this in my next trip report on “C.T.” Peak). 

I made it back to the road and followed it back to my truck

I made it back to my truck at 11:15am, making this an 8.95 mile hike with 4206’ of elevation gain in 7 hours, 15 minutes.

For reference, here’s a look at my route up to PT 13540 (solid line) and down (dotted line), as seen from the west ridge of “C.T” Peak.

It was still early:  I’d initially intended to add “C.T” Peak on today as well, but didn’t want to re-enter the basin with the way the snow was warming up, so I switched my plans and was going to do that peak tomorrow.  Instead, I got out a book my daughter just finished reading and was eager for me to read as well so we could discuss it together.  I walked around Argentum, found some old structures hidden way up in the hills behind my campsite, relaxed, and sipped whiskey.  Dinner was a block of white cheddar cheese and some bacon.  I had new neighbors, so I welcomed them, and then made it an early night.  It rained.

Author: Laura M Clark

Mom, Solo Colorado 14er Finisher, Outdoor Enthusiast, Traveler, and Girl Scout Leader with an MBA in International Business and Marketing. I value adventure, growth, courage, wisdom, integrity, accountability, and family. I enjoy yoga, wine, whiskey, traveling, reading, and the outdoors. I strive to be the person who inspires and motivates myself and others to succeed.

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