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San Juans

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Dallas Peak 
Engineer Pass 
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Grenadiers, The 
Mount Sneffels 
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Peak 17 "Little Finger" 
Twin Peaks 
Uncompahgre/Big Blue Wilderness 

San Juans  


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Location: 37.6566, -107.6015 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 202,176
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Matthias Holladay on Mar 5, 2012
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Uncompahgre from Matterhorn, San Juan Mountains.

Description 

It is hard to find, at least for many of us here in the Four Corners, such a concentration of mountaineering splendor as in the San Juans. This range is comprised of the Needles and Grenadiers and these two areas form the core of true backcountry mountaineering; the other sub-ranges are the North San Juans and the West Needles. The Grenadiers, a row of proud sentinels, are also known as the Quartzite Peaks, while the Needles are a haphazard mix of peaks and passes, culminating in the Sunlight-Windom massif.

Getting There 

The easiest and quickest way to get into the heart of these peaks is to take the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad from either Silverton or Durango to Elk Park or Needleton. Alternately, and depending on which areas one intends to visit, one could approach from Beartown, American Basin, Andrews Lake, Molas Switchbacks, Vallecito, Purgatory Flats, etc.

Climbing Season



Weather station 10.5 miles from here

38 Total Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',13],['5.7',7],['5.8',6],['5.9',5],['5.10',4],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for San Juans:
Naked Lady Couloir   Mod. Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, 1000'   West Needle Mountains : Snowdon Peak
Snake (Dogleg) Couloir   Steep Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine   Mount Sneffels
Southwest Ridge   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad, Alpine, Grade II   Mount Sneffels
West Buttress   4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b     Trad, Alpine, 800'   West Needle Mountains : Snowdon Peak
Northeast Ridge   4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b     Trad, Alpine   West Needle Mountains : Snowdon Peak
North Face of West Trinity Peak   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 1100'   The Grenadiers : West Trinity Peak
Normal Route   5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 800'   The Needles : Jagged Mountain
East Face/Dallas Peak   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch   Dallas Peak
Wham Ridge   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 2000'   The Grenadiers : Vestal Peak
Light Line   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, 1200'   Engineer Pass
North Ridge   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Grenadiers : Arrow Peak
North Buttress   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 1500'   Mount Sneffels
Southwest Chimney   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 80'   Uncompahgre/Big Blue Wilder... : Coxcomb Peak
South Chimney   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches   Uncompahgre/Big Blue Wilder... : Chimney Rock
Center Shift on Wham Ridge    5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 1000'   The Grenadiers : Vestal Peak
Standard Route, Sunlight Spire   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 150'   The Needles : Sunlight Spire
Browse More Classics in San Juans

Featured Route For San Juans
View of the start we took on "Center Shift.&q...

Center Shift on Wham Ridge 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Vestal Peak
Fun alpine climbing on Grenadier quartzite. Exposed, but you won't find the climb to be difficult if you're in climbing shape, have mountain experience, and come prepared to be in the mountains (this is still remote alpine climbing).Instead of climbing the "casual" route, which is the true ridge line of Wham Ridge - i.e., sticking to the right-most ridge line (arete) - climb straight up the middle/center of the Wham face. Again, the climbing's not difficult, but a little harder than the 5.3-5.4 ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of San Juans Slideshow Add Photo
If I recall correctly, Monitor, Peak 13, and the r...
If I recall correctly, Monitor, Peak 13, and the r...
Balsam Lake and a few Outward Bound TR areas just ...
Balsam Lake and a few Outward Bound TR areas just ...
From another direction . . . .
From another direction . . . .
Sunlight Basin w/ left foto added to note moderate...
Sunlight Basin w/ left foto added to note moderate...
Mmnn....
Mmnn....
Views...Rio Grande Pyramid in the distance.
Views...Rio Grande Pyramid in the distance.
The ridge of . . .?
The ridge of . . .?
Nice....
Nice....
Rocks.... Jagged in the distance.
Rocks.... Jagged in the distance.
Upper Lime Creek Conglomorate.
Upper Lime Creek Conglomorate.

Comments on San Juans Add Comment
Show which comments
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Mar 5, 2012
The Guardian, Animas Mtn., The Index, Jagged, Knifepoint, Sneffels, the numbered peaks, Pigeon, Storm King, Silex, Vestal, West Needles, The Trinities, Sunlight, Windom, etc. all belong here, some with some sub-groups...This area also includes other subranges, not yet mentioned here on MP, like the San Miguels AKA Silverton West, as well as the areas around west of Lake City and the Rio Grande Pyramid.
By Nic Harnish
From: Durango, CO
Mar 7, 2012
These mountains certainly deserve their own page.
By eggman
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 19, 2012
I think we need a little organization here. I've noticed a lot of misinformation and scrabbly writing on these San Juan pages, especially for the grenadiers/needles. The Mount Silex page should be re-done.