#100 / 13,809' Dallas Peak

Range › San Juan Range
Quadrangle › Telluride
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 59' 17.15", W 107° 49' 24.93" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon T 0

Peak Summary

Dallas Peak is one of a handful of technical 13ers and is rated by our route a Class 4 climb. Using the "classic" route suggested by G&M and/or Roach, the rating is a low 5th class. Our suggested route can be completed without rope or protection by experienced climbers who are use to some exposure. Others may still prefer a rope but little hardware is needed. exposure at a few points is substantial. The trailhead is accessible by passenger vehicles with better clearance. The peak can be easily climbed in a day.

Dallas Peak West Ridge Route

Class 4
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Mill Creek TH/Deep Ck Short Cut: 9mi / 4,385'
  • Trailhead
    • Mill Creek TH/Deep Ck Short Cut

      For either a driving approach on CO145 from Lizard Head Pass or CO62/CO145 Placervlle, follow CO145 2.0 miles west from the CO145 junction referred to by many as "Society Turn/Junction." You'll be following the segment of CO145 that leads into Telluride. At 2.0 miles, turn north (left) onto FR637, a graded dirt road. Follow that road .75 mile to a switchback with some limited parking. This is the trailhead for Eider Creek. Continue along the dirt road another 1.0 mile to the Mill Creek TH which is just before a couple sewage ponds. There is very limited parking here along the road and one small pullout. The trail is on the north side of the road. This trail is considered a "short-cut" to the Deep Creek Trail and will also intersect the "Sneffels Highline Trail."


      The land around the trailhead is largely private property. We do not recommend attempting to camp there. There are no facilities. There is no camping available in this immediate area unless you pack in for a ways. At-large camping anywhere near Telluride is difficult to come by and generally not allowed. The nearest campground is located along HWY145 about 5 miles south from "Society Junction." That's the "Sunshine" Campground and it is Forest Service maintained with fee. You may be able to find some at-large spots on 63J south of Illium or back along HWY145 before climbing the big hill into the Telluride Valley. There are several at-large spots along the highway, but be careful of private property. There is also a campground located on the east end of the town at the town park. Campsites are available on a first-come-first-served basis. These links offer more information:
    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Dallas Peak West Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1992

    From the Mill Creek/Deep Creek Short Cut trailhead, hike north on trail 418.1A for .6 mile. The trail will intersect with Trail 418 coming in from the right. Continue west on swithchbacks, then north, then west again to a ridge where you'll intersect the Sneffels Highline Trail #434 in 1.25 mile. Head north following the dense, aspen-forested ridge upward. The trail will eventually head more NE into a basin at the foot of Dallas Peak, almost due south of the summit. This large basin trends NW toward a saddle between T.0 and West Dallas (PT 13,741). At about 11,300 - 11,400 feet, there are some camping possibilities used by some climbers. There is usually a sizable stream flowing down from this basin for water supply if needed. It's about 1.5 mile from the previous trail intersection.

    The so-called "standard" route on Dallas would have you continue on Trail #434 eastward to climb Dallas by way of the SE slopes. Our route breaks off in the vicinity of the stream and possible camp area. Look for two tundra slopes, one to the west and another to the east a little that head upwards and appear to eventually converge below some prominent cliffs. Head up the basin about 300 feet in elevation, then turn and hike NE up a broad tundra embankment that will lead to the cliffs that appear to form the southwest terminus of the upper portion of the peak. As you walk up this tundra slope, it becomes steeper and the tundra thins out making footing more difficult on loose, rocky soil. Above the tundra embankment there will be a section of broken cliffs and ledges where route finding becomes more difficult. We found some cairns and followed them up to a large shelf just below the upper cliffs. This shelf allows passage upward by contouring NW toward a couloir with a section streaked in orange that drains the more gentle slopes above on the SW flank of Dallas. Once through the couloir, emerge into a large bowl of broken rubble with possible patches of snow. Elevation will be around 13,000 ft.

    From the bowl, it's a quick and easy task to ascend another 600 feet to the Dallas west ridge. Once on the ridge, follow it eastward until it suddenly narrows to a series of broken blocks. A large gash will deter further progress east. To avoid the gash, follow these directions: Just before the ridge narrows here, look for a narrow cleft in the rock, just large enough for a body to get through, that will drop down onto the north face of the peak. Downclimb about 50 vertical feet diagonally along ledges, passing the head of a couple minor couloirs. There may be some snow here. The exposure here is very intimidating, but footing is generally secure, though care must be taken because of the gravel & sand on the ledges. Contour east about another 50 feet, then begin a diagonal ascent back up to the ridge crest. There will be another narrow cleft to navigate. You should come back out about 150 horizontal feet from the summit. The exposure of the ridge line remains severe. This is where some may desire a rope for protection, but there is little to anchor to or belay from. A large boulder may suffice. Since further progress is entirely horizontal, unless you place protection every 10 - 20 feet, a person would pendulum if they fell.

    About half way to the summit, there will be a sloping, nearly vertical 7 foot wall. This is the only difficult & truly exposed move but was really no more than a 4th class climb. Shortly beyond this wall, the route eases and the exposure lessons and you can easily scramble on up to the summit. Congratulate yourself for completing one of the most difficult 13ers, then take a rocky seat to enjoy the stupendous view. From the summit, you can gaze down into the Blue Lakes Basin and Mt. Sneffels looms above all of this fractured and spectacular range. For the descent, return as you came, with care. Remember, most accidents occur on the way down. (As an additional note, it may be possible to stay on the crest of the west ridge and avoid the traverse out onto the north face, but since we had no beta on how we made this ascent, it seemed safest to return as we came.)

    Additional BETA

    Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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