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Needle Mountains Wilderness Adventure

Wed, 2013-07-31
Barry Smith (667-1585) and Paul Bradley

Needle Mountains Wilderness Adventure:  Trip Leader:  Barry Smith (667-1585)
July 31 - Aug 4, 2013
Leave Durango Wednesday 31 July on the DSNGR, get off the train at Needleton and grunt up the trail to Ruby Lake Basin (11,600), which is surrounded by peaks to climb. 
First priority, Day 1: Peak Fifteen (13,700), which requires 4th- and 5th-class leading and climbing. On following days, other possibilities include Pigeon Peak (13,972), Turret Peak (13,835), Monitor Peak (13,695), and Animas Mountain (13,786). Pigeon and Turret can be climbed together and are two of Colorado's Highest Hundred Peaks. The other three are in the Highest Two Hundred Peaks. Monitor and Animas can also be climbed together on one day.
The trip leader has climbed all but Peak Fifteen. Attached is a photo of Peak Fifteen that he took from the summit of Monitor. It is the peak sloping upward to the right, and the route comes up from the far side to the Peak Sixteen-Fifteen saddle, left of photo's center. From the saddle it is about 300 feet to the Peak Fifteen summit, with an average angle of about 45 degrees but some steep and hard-to-protect sections. There is also a 5th-class section in the approach couloir that some say can be bypassed.
A lead climber with experience on weathered granite, the rock on Peak Fifteen that is similar to Yosemite granite, would be very welcome. The best route information may be Darin Baker's trip report on
This trip could be extended to Upper Noname Basin if participants want that. There is a rough trail from RLB over a pass beside Monitor's precipitous east face and down into Noname. Once camped there, Jagged Mountain and Peak Six are accessible. The challenging route on Jagged Mountain is 5th class with high exposure, and its ascent would require more equipment: two full length ropes, more pro, and an expert lead climber. Peak Six is straightforward and is on Barry's to-do list. From Noname Basin there is a trail down to the Animas River, and a rugged trail back to Needleton
In either case, we will hike out on Sunday, Aug 4, and take the train back to Durango. Space on the trains is available.
To sign up, call Barry.

Image icon photo for trip.jpg246.89 KB

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