Uncompahgre from Matterhorn, San Juan Mountains.
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.
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.
Weather station 10.5 miles from here
40 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',20],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in San Juans
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in San Juans
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for San Juans:
Featured Route For San Juans
Wham Ridge 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
: Alpine Rock
: ... : Vestal Peak
This route is the north face of Vestal. Walk up the low angle bottom part until you get to a large, grassy ledge that diagonals up and right. This is where I roped up, but there is a large ledge with boulders sitting on it 2.5 pitches up that is visible from here that would also provide a good spot to rope up. There are many possible routes, this is the one that I took. The first 3 or 4 pitches are very easy. Head up toward the blocks that are visible above that are to the right of a large ...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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.
From: Durango, co
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.