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
Standard Route, Sunlight Spire 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b CO
: Alpine Rock
: ... : Sunlight Spire
From the standard route on Sunlight Peak leave the trail at about 13,700' and head up a steep slope to the base of the summit block. This approach is 3rd class but rather loose and steep for about 300 feet.A short Class 4 to 5.6 pitch (depending on line chosen) leads to the base of the overhanging crack. This crack is a perfect size for jamming but is rather sustained and made more difficult by the altitude. The start is made easier by a ramp you can work your feet along, but the ramp eventua...[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.