13403, Cleveland Peak – 13,414, 13384, & Dead Man Peak – 13,050

RT Length:  23.05 miles (CalTopo), 17 miles (Strava)

Elevation Gain:  7080’ (CalTopo), 9474’ (Strava)

I parked at the Music Pass trailhead the night before, the only other vehicle in the lot until a 4Runner pulled up. 

I made it an early night, and was on the trail at 4am, heading west towards Music Pass.

I passed a trail register, which was full of moths and only one piece of paper.  I didn’t bother signing it.  The trail is class 1 and easy to follow

A tree has recently fallen near the signs at the top of Music Pass.  I continued on the trail and lost 450’ as I descended to Sand Creek below.

Now is a good time to get a look at how you’re going to ascend the ridge from Sand Creek Lake.  Getting up the ridge is not easy.  I would not recommend the route I took up (dotted line).  The easier route is up a gully.  Also note the cliffs you’ll want to avoid.  It’s important to make it to at least 13000’ before traversing to the ridge, as there are cliffs and chutes you’re trying to avoid. This is the overall route I took

After 3.3 miles I took the second junction and turned left.

I crossed Sand Creek and made my way to Sand Creek Lake on the class 1 trail.  There was a lot of deadfall in this area

I made it to the lake as the sun was rising.

At the lake the trail ended.  I knew I needed to ascend the ridge, so I headed south, which required some bushwhacking.

From here I’m going to show you how I descended, as it was much safer than the way I ascended.  At around 11,400’ there’s a gully.  It’s obvious, and the only one.  Follow and ascend the gully southwest and then south.

This is where you ascend the gully. This can be done mostly on grassy ledges. 

Once up the gully, it’s time to make it to the ridge.  You don’t need to go all the way to the top, instead, ascend to about 13000’, then traverse over to the ridge at its lowest point. It’s important to make it to at least 13000’ before heading west to the ridge, to avoid the drop offs and smooth gullies. The terrain here is full of loose rocks.  Every one rolls, so be prepared to wear your helmet and take your time.

It was at 13000’ I unexpectedly awoke a bobcat.  He was not happy with me, but allowed me to take his picture before bounding off.


I continued heading west, across some tundra and rock filled gullies, towards the ridge.

Once on the ridge, I followed it straight up to PT 13495.  However, this is an unranked point, so there is no need to go there.  Instead, you can skirt this summit and instead head over to PT 13403 (also unranked).  If you decided to go up and over PT 13495, it’s all class 2, both up and down.

From the summit of PT 13495, this was my route up 13403.  The ridge looked like it went at class 3, but I decided to keep it class 2 and ascend the face

And some closer pictures

I summited PT 13403 at 10am

PT 13403:

My next objective was to follow the ridge south towards Cleveland Peak.  Here’s my overall route up (going down I stuck to the ridge, which was class 3 with maybe a few class 4 moves)

I made it down to the saddle, and crossed over on some scree. 

From there I tried to stick to the ridge, but every so often I had to drop to the right.  This is choose your own adventure.  The ridge goes at continuous class 3, easy class 4, and was the most difficult climbing of the day. 

I summited Cleveland Peak at 11am

Cleveland Peak:

My next goal was PT 13384, to the southwest.  There was a little more class 3 ridge work, and then I crossed a plateau and made it to the Cleveland/13384 saddle

Once there, I followed the ridge to the summit.  The ridge goes at class 3

Here are some closer pictures of the ridge

I summited PT 13384 at 12:10pm

PT 13384:

Dead Man Peak was to the north.  To get there, I would have to make my way back to the Cleveland/13384 saddle, re-ascend to the plateau, then head northwest over to Dead Man Peak

I made my way back to the Cleveland/13384 saddle

Re-ascended up to the plateau

Then descended 550’ and re-gained 400’ to the summit of Dead Man Peak.  This could all be kept at an easy class 3 by sticking to the ridge

The summit is circled in red, to the northwest

I summited Dead Man Peak at 1:45pm

Dead Man Peak:

To get back to Cleveland Peak, I had to go back down to the saddle, and re-gain 770’ of elevation

After re-summiting Cleveland, I had the most difficult part of the downclimbing to do to get back to the 13403/Cleveland saddle.   

I was able to stick directly to the ridge.

I did not summit PTs 13403 or 13495 this time, but skirted them to the right

Once I could see Lower Sand Creek Lake, I stayed high on the ridge to pass all the cliffs, then descended straight towards the gully below.

I bushwhacked it to northwest to Lower Sand Creek Lake, then found the trail and took it back to Music Pass

Then followed it back to the trailhead

On big days, I tend to get wildly different numbers from CalTopo and Strava.  CalTopo says I did 23.05 miles with 7080’ of elevation gain, and Strava says I did 17 miles with 9474’ of elevation gain.  In any event, the hike/climb took me 16 hours, 15 minutes to complete.   

On to the next trailhead!

Jenkins Mountain – 13,432, PT 13,145 & PT 13,232

RT Length:  13.75 miles

Elevation Gain:  5322’

Snow had been forecasted for today, but not until later in the afternoon. I made it to the North Fork Creek Trailhead on an easy 4WD road, and it was foggy out.  I was hoping the fog would lift as the sun came up, but it ended up snowing off and on all day. Luckily there was no wind, so the snow was actually enjoyable (if annoying because I couldn’t see very far).   I was on the trail at 5:30am.

I followed North Fork Creek Trail for 2.75 miles southwest to treeline at 11,250’, without gaining or losing much elevation. I never crossed the creek.

Here the trail stopped. I’d hoped by now the sun would have lifted the fog, but unfortunately, it started snowing instead, and visibility wasn’t great.

Here’s a view of the route I took to the ridge, from back on the trail later in the day

I followed the path of least resistance and headed southwest towards a rocky gully and the ridge (better pictures later).  There was a fog, so I didn’t get great photos, but here are some pictures of what I could see:

The rocky gully area brought me to the ridge between point 13050 and 13015. I couldn’t see far, which was frustrating, but I knew to continue following the ridge southwest. Luckily, I came back to this spot later I the day, so I have clear pictures of this part of the hike.  The rocks here rolled.  In the morning they were icy, so I had to be especially careful.

I followed the ridge towards 13050. This ridge was easy to follow, even when it was snowing.  I stuck to the ridge proper, only dipping down to the left one time.  This can all be kept at class 2.

Once at PT 13050 I turned right and headed northwest towards Jenkins Mountain, first losing about 230’ of elevation.

This was another ridge hike, where I briefly dipped down to the left to avoid some rocks

Here are some pictures of the ridge, up to the first “false summit”.  If you can’t stay on the ridge, dip down to the left.

From the top of the false summit, I lost a little bit of elevation, but it was an easy ridge hike to the true summit of Jenkins Mountain.  I’m sure this would be a piece of cake on a clear day. Today however, the ridges were frustrating because I didn’t have visuals of how far they ‘went’

I summited Jenkins Mountain at 10am

Jenkins Mountain: 

I was happy to see it looked like the weather was starting to improve.  There was a summit register.  I turned and headed back towards PT 13050.

Halfway down the ridge I could see PT 13050, as well as PT 13140

I didn’t completely re-summit PT 13050.  Here’s an overview of the route I took to PT 13140

And some step-by-step pictures

I could stay on top of the ridge for most of the ridge;  it wasn’t until the end I needed to dip right.

After the false summit I needed to dip down and lose about 75’ of elevation

I regained the ridge

And this is how I summited PT 13140.  I’m sure there was some sort of a trail here, but it was currently covered in snow. The last few feet are ‘choose your own adventure’, all class 2.

I summited PT 13140 at 11:30am

PT 13140:

From the summit, here’s looking back at the trek from Jenkins, as well as the next few points for the day

For reference, this is how I gained the ridge to the saddle between PT 13050 and 13015.  It’s kind of a ridge itself.

And another view, from PT 13140, looking back at how I exited the basin and gained the ridge. I headed back to PT 13050.

Here’s looking northeast at PT 13015 from 13050.

This was a class 2 hike all the way to PT 13015

From the summit of PT 13015 I could see my next peak:  Pt 13232. 

This is the route I took to get there:

This route had me turning and following the ridge for a short distance northwest, descending a scree, rock, and snow filled gully, crossing the basin, finding another gully and ascending it to a slanting plateau/ramp, taking the plateau to the ridge, and then following the ride to the summit. Here are some step-by-step pictures:

I lost 850’ of elevation, heading int the basin

I then headed northeast and crossed the basin, heading towards an access gully (alternately, you can lose more elevation, skirt the then re-ascend the ramp, but I wanted a more direct route. 

Here’s a closer look at that gully. It was as 2+ gully, but wasn’t technical at all.

At the top of the gully I turned left and headed towards the saddle, then took the ridge to the summit (all class 2)

Here’s looking back at the way I took down and across the basin from 13015

The ridge was rocky, but easy to follow.  I tried to stay where the rocks met the tundra.

I summited PT 13232 at 2:45pm.  It was now snowing, but it was a nice, gentle snow.

PT 13232:

I could see the trailhead from the summit to the northeast: now I just needed to get there.  I descended the ridge to the northeast. Not far, just a few yards, found a scree filled gully, and took that to tundra.  I then aimed northeast towards North Fork Lake Creek, until I found the trail and followed it back to the trailhead.

Sorry for the foggy pictures here: I was in the clouds and it was snowing much of the day.  The trailhead is circled in red

I descended to the north, and round a gully to take down heading southeast, and turned left at the tundra

I then headed northeast towards North Fork Lake Creek

For reference, here’s looking up the gully I took down from PT 13232

Once on the trail I followed it back to the trailhead. 

I made it back to y truck at 4:30pm, making this a 13.75 mile hike with 5322’ of elevation gain I 11 hours. 

On to the next trailhead!

Also, it’s fall