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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.
38 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 5 M 1c Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 1100' The Grenadiers : West Trinity Peak
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
Featured Route For San Juans
South Face Couloir 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b AI3 CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Dallas Peak
This is the very obvious, skinny couloir that threads up through the very center of Dallas's South face. Depending on your viewpoint, part of the couloir is obscured behind the prominent cliff face which forms the upper right half of the South face. The route starts at a rockband parallel to the bottom of the huge cliff face on the right. This can be climbed directly at low fifth-class or skirted on the left on snow. The angle decreases slightly as the couloir passes right behind the cliff f...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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