Treasury Mountain – 13,462 and Treasure Mountain – 13,528

RT Length: 12.90 miles

Elevation Gain: 4689’

I made it to the Yule Pass Trailhead the night before, driving in on a well maintained, 4WD shelf road.  I’m pretty sure a 2WD vehicle could have made it to the top, but passing other vehicles was a problem.  Several times on the way in and out either I, or the other vehicle, had to back up on some pretty steep roads and squeeze into the mountain so the other could pass by.

It was a Thursday around 3pm, but all the dispersed camping spots were already taken.  I later learned there were several friends camping together, and each felt they needed their own campsite.  No worries though, as I was able to park by a small pond.

I was able to relax and read as a summer storm passed by, listen to my neighbors yelling at each other from across campsites (“DO YOU HAVE THE MATCHES?!?”, “WHAT????” , “I SAID, DO YOU HAVE THE MATCHES???”   “I THINK IT RAINED WHILE WE WERE GONE” ,  “WHAT???”  “RAIN!  I SAID I THINK IT RAINED!!!” – they probably should have shared a common site) and visually planned out my route for the next morning.

From my parking spot, there were several forks in the road.  This is the correct one for Yule Pass

I contemplated hiking the 12er Cinnamon Mountain before bed, but the thunder and lightning didn’t stop until it was too late to make an attempt, so I made it an early night, and was on the road at 3:30am, in an effort to finish my hike before the early afternoon storms materialized.

I followed the 4WD road to the Yule Pass Trailhead, Yule Pass Trail #576

From there, I followed Yule Pass Trail to northwest.  This trail used to be a mining road, but the mountain has re-claimed it and is healing its scars.  In a lot of areas it’s impossible to tell there was ever a road around this mountain.  Some areas were steep, but the runnels were all crossable. 

After hiking for 2.5 miles, I came to a gully just before Yule Pass.  I would use this gully to access Treasury Peak.  Also note the snow covering the trail to the left.  I was unable to see this in the dark on my way in, and it proved a problem on my way out. I had to re-trace my steps, but I was able to stay safe by exiting down the same gully I ascended.

I’d made great time, and it was still dark.  I couldn’t see much, so I waited for 20 minutes for the sun to rise.  There were a lot of clouds in the sky, and the sun refused to make a timely arrival, so I continued on.  Here’s what my ascent looked like

I know those pictures weren’t helpful, so, from later in the day, here’s a visual of how I ascended the ridge to Treasury Mountain

The terrain was full of loose rocks and smooth slabs, which gave way to smaller loose rocks and scree.  No worse than 2+.  I wore a helmet, and stuck to the runout until I made it to the ridge.

Once on the ridge, I could see Treasury Mountain to the northwest

This was a straightforward ridge hike, until the last bit, where the ridge became a series of slabs.  These would have been sketchy if they were wet, or if my shoes were lacking traction, but I was able to take the smooth rocky ledges to the summit. There’s a class 2 bypass below if needed.

I summited Treasury Mountain at 6:20am, just as it started to rain

Treasury Mountain:

I was glad I didn’t have to downclimb those slabs, as when wet they would have been a challenge.  Instead, I continued on towards Treasure Mountain, following the ridge for a bit to the northwest, then dropping down once I could see the defunct mine below.  From the summit of Treasury, it looks like the ridge goes all the way to Treasure, and it does, most of the way, but the area circled in red isn’t climbable without rope.  It’s part of a band of rock in the mountain that spans its whole side, so I would need to descend 1370’ to avoid this area.

I put on my microspikes and descended on scree past an old mine (not much is left)

I descended to 12400’, to a gully I’d descend to put me in the basin below. The gully was class 2, and easier to navigate if I kept to the right. 

At the base of the gully I could see the route before me I needed to take, to gain the ridge. This was all class 2. I lost several hundred more feet of elevation on my way, then gained it all back making it to the ridge

Here’s that rock band I was trying to avoid that all cliffed out

Here’s looking back up at the gully I descended

And now to gain the ridge.  Here are some step-by-step pictures of the terrain

Once on the ridge, to my left I could see the part of the ridge I was trying to avoid

I turned left and headed west along the ridge

Here are some close-ups of the ridge.  There are a couple of false summits, but if you got a good view of Treasure from Treasury, you already know this

I summited Treasure Mountain at 9am

Treasure Mountain:

Now to head back to the saddle.  I was going to descend similarly (but different) to the way I gained the ridge

Once back on the saddle, I aimed for this gully, put on my microspikes, and descended through it

Once down the gully, I stayed right of the rock rib, but headed back towards Yule Pass. 

Here are some step-by-step pictures.  I stayed above the small marshy area

Here’s another view of the gully I took down from Treasury

Eventually, I was able to see a game trail below, which led me to the actual trail

I then took the trail back up to Yule Pass

Once there, I should have been able to take the road back to my truck, but there was snow still covering it, even in mid-July, so I retraced my steps and took the first gully of the day again, but you should be able to take the road back all the way.  If not, it’s an easy and obvious workaround.

I now followed the road back to my truck

I made it back to my truck at 12pm, making this a 12.89 mile hike with 4689’ of elevation gain in 8.5 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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