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Helen/Dyer Traverse 

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

Type:  Trad, Alpine, Grade II
Original:  YDS: 4th French: 1 Ewbanks: 2 UIAA: I ZA: 2 British: M 1b [details]
FA: unknown
Season: year round
Page Views: 89
Submitted By: Pat Gephart on Aug 21, 2017

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BETA PHOTO: Helen/Dyer Traverse as seen from the summit of Mt....


This is a classic Tenmile Range traverse between the 13'ers Mt. Helen and Father Dyer Peak. It can be done in either direction. The majority of the climbing is Class 3/4. You could easily bump the difficulty up to 5th Class by staying ridge proper in a few sections. Test your holds as this route holds a fair amount of choss.

The traverse has no markers or cairns, so route finding can be difficult, often necessitating some thoughtful downclimbing. It is often combined with an easy traverse to Crystal Peak.

Bill Middlebrook has an excellent route description as well at


Park at the Spruce Creek trailhead just south of Breckenridge, CO. Continue up Spruce Creek Road for around 1 mile, and then take your right onto the road towards the Crystal Creek and the Wheeler Trail. Follow the Wheeler Trail east until you see a cairn and faint trail that goes directly up Mt. Helen. From here, you want to head up the main gully and then up the gentle slopes towards Mt. Helen's summit. The traverse begins here. Once you finish the traverse, you can summit Father Dyer Peak and descend into the Mohawk Lakes or Crystal Creek basin. For a more full value day, continue to Crystal Peak. You can also link up Pacific Peak for a full traverse of Mohawk Lakes.


There is no fixed gear. This traverse is best done solo.

If climbing in the winter, crampons and an ice axe are essential. A 30m rope and light alpine rack with a few nuts and pitons may be useful as well.

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By Ryan Marsters
Aug 30, 2017

This is a good winter route, assuming a safe line is taken to access FD. I swung around from Peak 9/10 and Crystal.

The route is traditionally rated Class 3, but I think Class 4 is appropriate via the most reasonable line. To keep it Class 3, one has to bypass on the south side well off the ridge.

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