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Routes in Telluride Traverses

Campbell to Hayden 10x13 T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
Emma to T.Zero T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Emma/Gilpin/Sneffels Ski Tour T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Imogene to Emma 8x13 T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
Type: Trad, Alpine, 30000 ft, Grade IV
FA: Joe Stiles
Page Views: 684 total, 14/month
Shared By: Stiles on Nov 19, 2013
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Description

This is a ridge traverse from Campbell Peak northwest to Hayden Peak, crossing the summits of ten 13'ers. They are, in order of ascent East to West: Campbell Peak, T.Zero, S3, S5, S6, Mears Peak, S7, S8, S9, and S10. 

Hayden Peak is a 12'er, and there are a couple of other mountains that must be climbed but are not recognized as such - the mountain just west of S6, for example. If completed from Section B of the whole 'Telluride Traverse' from Imogene Pass, Campbell Peak would not be included.

Starting from the summit of Campbell Peak (13,213'), follow the ridge north to "T.O." (13,735'). This is the highest point in the traverse. Fourth Class.

The next peak north is "S3" (13,410'), Third Class.

The crux of the traverse comes along the next three peaks: tightrope-scrambling Fourth and Fifth Class with wild exposure and high consequences on all different manners of loose rock. "S5" (13,380') is the next peak north and is located in the 'corner' where the ridge turns west, low Fifth Class.

Getting to "S6" (13,441') to the west is more problematic and exposed. The ridge further west of S6 is particularly difficult, with a section of low Fifth Class downclimbing necessary to maintain the ridgeline. Many loose spires and gendarmes to navigate through the "corner" in the ridge, low Fifth Class.

Continue along the ridge towards Mears Peak. Just shy of the summit are the last of the technical difficulties for the day, low Fifth Class.

From Mears Peak, it is an easy walk to "S7" (13,224'). Ruffner Mountain (13,003') is the inaccessable knob a good ways to the south. Or is it? Which peak is Ruffner? The closer 13er south is not hard to stand upon. The further knob is very hard to stand upon, Third Class.

More second and third class terrain brings your across the summits of "S8" (13,252'), "S9" (13,134) and S10 (13,020').

A small rise is crossed before summiting Hayden Peak (12,987'), which is the final peak of the traverse, Third Class.

In the name of aesthetics and curiosity, continue along the ridge line to North Pole Peak (12,208'), but unless you humped a rope and a rack with you, the summit of North Pole Peak is a superior challenge. It is beautiful, however, and tempts the climber's eye.

Location

Unless you traversed from West Dallas Peak east of "TO" (kind of a big deal), climb Campbell Peak from Telluride to begin this stretch of peaks. This is easiest done from the Eider Creek Trail, which starts in the switchback along Mill Creek Road a mile west of Telluride. Park a car here.

From the top of Eider Creek Trail, turn west and preceed along the Deep Creek Trail for a half-mile or so. Turn straight uphill, and climb through the woods to gain an open gully which leads to the South ridge of Campbell Peak. A cliffband prevents access along the South ridge right around treeline, which necessitates climbing the wide gully up the east end of the South face. A short section of Third Class is navigated just prior to the summit.

Descent from North Pole Peak: continue north down steep scree into a prominent, dry creek bed. Maintain a northerly direction through tight, steep woods, and wetlands until you get to the residential neighborhood off of Road 58P. From the neighborhood, walk west on the road to get out to 58P. Heading east in the neighborhood will take you on a long circuitous route back to 58P. You can leave a car at the gated entrance to the neighborhood. Hitch-hiking out is a risky proposition, as it may take a looong while.

It is also possible to descend to the Alder Creek Trail and follow it south to its (and Whipple Mountain's) Trailhead and a parked car. Or you can bushwhack straight west and intersect Last Dollar Road. OR, you could head south off of Hayden and traipse along that ridgeline down to Whipple Mountain. This is the recommended option. A short section of Fourth Class downclimbing halfway, and the Sugarloaf formation just before Whipple Saddle is passed on the west, or some low-Fifth downclimbing is involved. Be bold, and continue the ridge traverse south all the way to Whipple.

Protection

The rock along the entire route from Campbell Peak to Hayden is rotten and loose. Every color of rock is a different type of choss, and there are all the colors in the rainbow. It is all broken and loose. A rope will cause more harm than good and slow you down too much to cover the distance. Climb with vigilance. Push in and down on everything, no pulling.

Route-finding skills and unwavering awareness and attention are your best protection. Depending on the season, there are long-lasting snow patches/fields/cornices along the way (most all on the north side of the ridge, of course) for replenishing your water.

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