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Tenmile Traverse 

YDS: 4th French: 1 Ewbanks: 2 UIAA: I ZA: 2 British: M 1b

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 4th French: 1 Ewbanks: 2 UIAA: I ZA: 2 British: M 1b [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 852
Submitted By: fossana on Sep 11, 2013

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The Dragon.

Description 

The Tenmile Traverse spans 12 peaks of the Tenmile Range from Mt. Royal (Frisco) to Peak 10 (Breckenridge) with roundtrip mileage ~19 without a car shuttle and using the convenient Summit Co. free bus. Min. and max. elevation is 9,095 feet and 13,633 feet respectively.

The following peaks are included:

Mt. Royal (10,502 feet), subpeak of Peak 1
Mt. Victoria (11,785 feet), subpeak of Peak 1
Peak 1 (12,805 feet)
Tenmile Peak, aka Peak 2 (12,933 feet)
Peak 3 (12,676 feet)
Peak 4 (12,866 feet)
Peak 5 (12,855 feet)
Peak 6 (12,573 feet)
Peak 7 (12,655 feet)
Peak 8 (12,987 feet)
Peak 9 (13,195 feet)
Peak 10 (13,633 feet)

Most of the route is a hike, and there are many bailout points. The only scrambling section of the traverse is between Tenmile Peak (Peak 2) and Peak 4. Dave Cooper (Colorado Scrambles) calls this class 3-4, heavy on the 3. The routefinding here is not very difficult even in the absence of cairns. The rock is a little chossy, so take care. I wore running shoes but am comfortable on this type of terrain.

THE ROUTE

Start: Mt. Royal (10,502 feet)
There are several trailheads for Mt. Royal. Having used the one at the end of 2nd Street in Breckenridge, I wouldn't recommend it for first-timers, especially if a predawn start is planned. I found only one sign with Mt. Royal (quite high up), and there is a bewildering array of sidetrails. Because I started after first light, I was able to link my way up to Mt. Royal with signage. The normal start is the official Mt. Royal trailhead, close to where Main Street crosses under I-70. From the lot, head left on the bikepath until you reach the Mt. Royal/Mason Town trail. Follow the trail around the south side of the mountain to its summit.

Mt Victoria (11,785 feet)
From Mt. Royal follow a faint trail which emerges above treeline to the summit of Mt Victoria. Depending on which way you go you may pass an old cabin site.

Peak 1 (12,805 feet)
There is fairly defined trail from Mt Victoria to Peak 1. Don't forget to gaze back at the immense Dillon Reservoir.

Tenmile Peak (12,933 feet)
As you head toward Peak 2, the ridge becomes more defined but still on easy terrain.

Peak 3 (12,676 feet)
Now the fun begins. The terrain becomes more difficult with class 3 scrambling around and on blocky fins. There are several ways to go with varying difficulty. After the fin section is the tower section known as "The Dragon". Again several ways to go here (class 3-4).

Peak 4 (12,866 feet)
On the approach to Peak 4 you'll encounter a true (but easy) knife edge ridge.

Peaks 5-8 (12,573 to 12,987 feet)
There is nothing particularly notable here as you hike though meadows along the top of the ski resort. It is a good place to run if you're feeling up to it.

Peak 9 (13,195 feet)
Gaze upon it and weep. There is a major saddle (~600 foot loss in elevation) between Peaks 8 and 9. After the saddle, hike the steep slope past the false summit before finally reaching the top.

Peak 10 (13,633 feet)
The good news here is that after Peak 9, Peak 10 will seem easy. You'll have another, shallower saddle, but the slope is much friendlier than Peak 9.

Logistics 

The route can be done in either direction, though most people recommend south to north to do the more technical bits earlier in the day. The more common direction will be discussed here.

Transportation
Summit County runs a very convenient free shuttle with bike racks between Breckendridge and Frisco. As of this writeup (Sept. 2013), for the summer schedule it runs every 30 minutes from 7:45am to 6:15pm and once an hour up until 1:45am. There is also a bike path that runs from Breckenridge to Frisco. If I had to do it again, I would attempt to stash high up the old mining road. Others report being able to leave a second car at the Peak 9 Restaurant.

Water
In a dry year, I still found runoff in September from snowmelt en route around Peak 10. There were other less convenient snowfields along the way.

Getting Back
From the top of Peak 10, get onto the old mining road that heads in a northwesterly direction. If you parked a car at the Peak 9 restaurant, your trek out is abbreviated. If not, after many switchbacks, the road dumps you out near the condos at the bottom of the lifts. The shuttle to Frisco stops at the Breckenridge Transfer Center (near the bottom of the gondola at Watson and CO Hwy 9) and at City Market. Get off at 5th and Main in Frisco, and walk back to your car.

Protection 

No fixed anything.
Light alpine rack if anything.


Photos of Tenmile Traverse Slideshow Add Photo
Very approximate elevation profile.
BETA PHOTO: Very approximate elevation profile.
Peak 4.
Peak 4.
Precipitous bit on the trail near Mt. Royal summit.
Precipitous bit on the trail near Mt. Royal summit...
Easy knife edge ridge on Peak 4.
Easy knife edge ridge on Peak 4.
More jumbly bits.
More jumbly bits.
Looking back at Peak 3.
Looking back at Peak 3.
Breaking above treeline with Dillon Reservoir below.
Breaking above treeline with Dillon Reservoir belo...
Heading toward Peak 1.
Heading toward Peak 1.
Ridge walking.
Ridge walking.
Talus heap false summit.
Talus heap false summit.
Remote cornice trigger.
Remote cornice trigger.
Looking back toward Mt. Royal.
Looking back toward Mt. Royal.
More fun on the way to Peak 3, "The Dragon".
More fun on the way to Peak 3, "The Dragon".
Peak 1.
Peak 1.
Easy bit before The Dragon.
Easy bit before The Dragon.
Peak 2 (Tenmile Peak).
Peak 2 (Tenmile Peak).
Gentian.
Gentian.
Peaks 3 and 4.
Peaks 3 and 4.
Another view of the reservoir below Peak 2.
Another view of the reservoir below Peak 2.
Wispy seeds.
Wispy seeds.
Coming up on the scrambly bit on the way to Peak 3.
Coming up on the scrambly bit on the way to Peak 3...
The endless meadow walking begins.
The endless meadow walking begins.
Looking back on the blocky ribs after the Peak 2 summit.
Looking back on the blocky ribs after the Peak 2 s...
Traversing into the Molar Tooth notch just south of the summit on Tenmile Pk (Peak 2).
Traversing into the Molar Tooth notch just south o...

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Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Tenmile Traverse Add Comment
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By Mark E Dixon
From: Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 14, 2014

If you do a car shuttle and leave a car at the Peak 9 retaurant, plan for about a two hour round trip from the Frisco parking lot to set things up.
It is also fairly easy to get lost, especially at night. Google Earth is your friend. You are looking for Co Rd 751, which seems to begin from the back of the parking lot at Peak 9 base.