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Routes in Turret Ridge

West Gully T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a X
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Elevation: 12,235 ft
GPS: 38.145, -107.539 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 385 total · 70/month
Shared By: John Kirk on Mar 7, 2018
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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Description

Turret Ridge at 12,260' holds the distinction of being Colorado's (and perhaps the entire Contiguous USA's) most difficult 12,000'+ peak with at least 300' prominence by its easiest route. It was first climbed August 12, 1979 by none other than Harvey Carter on lead. It has perhaps less than 20 ascents and has on average been climbed only once every 2-3 years. The peak is comprised of disintegrating volcanic tuff similar to the nearby Chimney Rock but is far less traveled and therefore more loose and more dangerous. The easiest known route is 5.9, requiring 5 pitches to reach the summit, though the business is just below the summit on a long horizontal traverse (5.6), balancing precariously several hundred feet off the deck on lichen-covered cobbles that peel off without warning. This traverse offers scant more than psychological protection, and a leader fall will entail a catastrophic pendulum. Rockfall is a constant danger for anyone below another climber, and extra care must be taken to not spray down choss, especially on rappel.

Getting There

From US 550, turn right onto CO Rd 10 and follow for 0.9 mi, slight left to stay on CO Rd 10 for 3.1 miles, turn right onto CO Rd 8 and follow 1.5 miles, turn left to stay on CO Rd 8, and follow it to Owl Creek Pass. From the pass, follow the road down to FR 860A, and turn right on this road, following for 0.9 miles to an abandoned road that crosses the West Fork of the Cimarron. Park on the west side of the creek, and cross on it foot.

The abandoned road is decent for a while but eventually gives way to nasty bushwhacking. The approach is rather hideous going by climbing standards, through high deadfall in areas, and generally rather steep to get to the ridge, where things improve. The approach is 1600+' in less than 1.5 miles for perspective.

The route to Turret Ridge.

1 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Turret Ridge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a X
 4
West Gully
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
West Gully
 4
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a X Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
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