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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.
32 Total Routes
Browse More Classics in San Juans
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for San Juans:
North Face of West Trinity Peak Easy 5th 1+ 3 I M 1c Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 1100' The Grenadiers : West Trinity Peak
Southwest Chimney 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 80' Uncompahgre/Big Blue Wilder... : Coxcomb Peak
South Chimney 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b R Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches Uncompahgre/Big Blue Wilder... : Chimney Rock
Center Shift on Wham Ridge 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b R Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 1000' The Grenadiers : Vestal Peak
Featured Route For San Juans
Arrow Spire 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Arrow Peak
This is one of the best routes in the San Juans (that I've done at least). The first pitch is the cruz and is an amazing 5.8 dihedral for 200+ft. Second pitch is runout on easy climbing and then works through some overhangs. The rest of the climb kicks back and is 5.6 at the hardest. Working around the towers before the summit of the spire is fun and exposed. We rapped into the notch and got socked in by a nasty thunderstorm. It didn't relent so we had to bail down the horrendously loose g...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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