Jones Mountain (13,860'), Colorado
Leader: Gina Pasquale
Gina Pasquale, Steve Doorn and Tasha (the climbing wolf dog)
I wonder if all these 13'er reports will inspire anyone?
Jones Mtn. is a Centennial near Handies Mtn. in the San Juans. You can access it off the road leading out of Silverton towards Animas Forks.
We left LA on Fri pm, stopping for dinner at A'Roma's in Durango (it was a bit smoky in the restaurant). We car camped at the "trailhead" mentioned in Martin & Garrett's book, at about 10,700', right next to the roaring Animas River. There was really no place for a tent, so we slept in the car.
We got an early start, about 6:45am, hoping for firm snow. And we found it! Steve took his snowshoes up, and they helped him. I left mine in the car and had only a bit of manageable post-holing. Our approach took us up Burn's Gulch along a jeep road.
At about 12,000', we were faced with a 2000' snow climb, a consistent 30-35 degrees, up the NW face of Jones. We encountered PERFECT cramponing conditions! This would be a great warmup for a peak like Rainier. We topped out on the small-ish, snowy summit of Jones at around 10am, with windy but sunny conditions. We considered being peak baggers and heading straight for the interesting summit of Niagra Mtn. However, since I wanted to prove that "I'm NOT a peak bagger" (mostly to myself), we opted for digging a snow pit and hanging out on Jones' summit for a couple hours!
We glissaded down off of Jones, with surprisingly firm conditions. (Glad I didn't see that photo of the poor climber with his impaled ice ax before this trip! Scary!) Made it back to the car with just a bit of mushy snow. Got to use my famous baby-crawl technique in some of the mush!
After playing tourist at the Animas Forks ghost town (highly recommended!), we decided to head home instead of camping out another night. Dinner at Viva Vera's in Chama was a nice treat and keep us going for the drive home.