Booby Prize – 13,312 and PT 13090

RT Length: 11.08 miles

Elevation Gain: 3174’

Trailhead: Just before South Fork Lake Creek, where 391 and Trail 1466 meet.

I drove in the night before, so I could start early the next morning.  The only problem?  I wasn’t able to drive all the way to the trailhead.  There was a small ice flow that still hadn’t melted, and it’s the middle of June!  It wasn’t very big, but so far no one has been able to cross it. 

It wasn’t a big deal, but I did have to back up for half a mile before I could find a place to turn around, which happened to be at a nice campsite at 11,000’, so I parked there

I was up and on the trail at 3:30am, hoping to avoid some of the cold, wet, rainy weather that was supposed to arrive today.  No such luck: It was raining when I left my truck, so I put on rain pants and a waterproof jacket and started following the road south.

After hiking for .8 miles I made it to the trailhead.  Just before reaching the trailhead the road was covered in old avalanche debris. 

The trail starts to the left of the gate

As I mentioned earlier, it was raining.  I followed a very wet, willow-filled trail all the way into the upper basin.  This trail is class 1, but a bit overgrown since it’s early in the hiking season.  It was also teeming with water, and bear tracks (although I did not see any bear scat).

When I made it to the upper basin, I knew I wanted to gain the ridge.  I also knew, from yesterday’s experience, that I wanted to gain it from the left, and not the right. 

Note:  There is a game trail here that goes to the ridge, but most of it was covered in snow. I was only able to see it in bits and pieces on my way up and down. This is the route I took to the saddle

The basin was mush.  Not only was it raining, it was warm enough for the snow to thaw, so I was walking on 6 inches of water most of the time.  Here’s my route to the ridge

As I was gaining the ridge, the sun was rising.  It was a beautiful, misty morning

I gained the ridge, and headed over to Prize Benchmark, my first intended peak of the day.  As you can see, conditions weren’t ideal:

In fact, that was one of my better photos of the day.  The clouds kept coming in and out, obscuring my route. 

Eventually, I was in class 4-5 territory, and decided to call it and come back another day when I could see what I was doing.  I knew I was headed in the right direction, but the terrain didn’t feel safe.  I wanted to take the gully, and it was still full of unstable ice. 

I downclimbed, and headed back to PT 13090.  Even though it’s not ranked, I summited it, just because I was there

This was an easy ‘summit’

PT 13090:

I turned right, and headed southeast towards Booby Prize

Here’s the overall route I took, avoiding the rock slabs and snow.  This was all class 2, with some loose scree/rocks to navigate

The clouds picked up again, obscuring my view, but luckily, this was all class 2

Here are some step by step pictures

I summited Booby Prize at 8:10am

Booby Prize:

Nasty weather was predicted for the day, so I decided to re-trace my steps and head back to the PT 13090/Booby Prize saddle

Back on the saddle, I could see the game trail that led down, but it also went right through a large patch of ice, so I went a little further up the saddle to find a snow-free route.

Here’s my route back to the trail

The route down was obvious

And the trail was easy to follow, if wet, back to my truck

I made it back to my truck at 10:30am, making this a 11.08 mile hike with 3174’ of elevation gain in 7 hours.

On to the next trailhead!

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.

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