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LoJ: #333 (G & M: #331) / 13,380' Geissler Mountain East

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Mt. Champion
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 08' 55.50", W 106° 34' 23.14" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Combining the two Geissler summits together makes for an easy and mellow Class 1 & 2 hike in classic Sawatch tundra terrain. Passenger car access from the Independence Pass road.

East Geissler SW Ridge Route

Class 2
Peak Icon Peak Icon
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
Climbed with Geissler Mountain, West
RT From Roaring Fork River TH: 3.2 mi / 2,280'
From Geissler Mountain, West: 0.60 mi / 480' (One-Way)
  • Trailhead
    • Roaring Fork River TH

      The name for trail #1996 is "The Lost Man" trail. It has two access points off Highway 82  out of Aspen. The first access is 14 miles east of Aspen and is a large parking area on the north side of the highway, across from the Lost Man Campground. This section of the trail leads up to South Fork Pass and Lost Man Lake. If accessing the Williams Mountains, this is the shortest and easiest access.

      The other access point is 18.5 miles from Aspen, still on Highway 82, at the last switchback before the final climb to the top of Independence Pass. This access, I am calling "The Roaring Fork River" trailhead to distinguish from the Lost Man TH. Parking here is on the north side of the highway at the switchback. Parking is limited here and fills quickly on weekends. If coming from the east slope, you'll need to drive north from Buena Vista or south from Leadville and turn west on Highway 82, drive past the Twin Lakes and continue to the summit of Independence Pass. Drive down west from the summit and the trail head will be at the first switchback you come to.


      Camping

      Most at-large camping along the west side of the Independence Pass road has been shut down, but there are several Forest Service, fee type campgrounds out of Aspen. They are in order starting from the farthest from the TH: Difficult Creek, Weller, Lincoln Gulch and Lost Man. If you're coming from the east slope, you're best off camping at any number of at-large spots on the east side of Independence Pass, in the upper regions of Lake Creek. We like the Graham Creek area where a diversion tunnel comes out and empties into Lake Creek.


      Campsite Locations

      Graham Creek › N 39° 04' 53.35", W 106° 32' 18.13"
    Approach Map Photos
    • From Geissler Mountain, West

      From the trailhead at highway 82, head north up the well used trail #1996 that goes to Independence Lake, following along the creek. In a short distance, a trail forks to the left, just after crossing a creek, that leads up to Linkins Lake. Don't turn onto that one. Continue on up valley, following the trail which crosses back to the east side of the creek after a while. This trail passes through many willows. The old trail on the west side of the creek that the USGS map shows going to a pass between the two Geissler peaks is no longer in use. Continue hiking along the main trail with plenty more willows and then turn off at a sharp bend where the trail turns east to gain some elevation. This is about 1.1 mile from the start and just above 12,100 ft. Leave the trail and hike NW over lush and wet tundra toward Geissler West. Aim for a nice looking, tundra covered slope that leads to the ridge just south of the summit.  The hike up to the ridge is an easy walk. Once on the ridge, turn north and scrambled over or skirt some rocky obstacles that guard the summit. Time to this summit is under two hours.

      From the summit, you have a nice view of the Williams Mountains to the west. From Geissler West, the traverse over to Geissler East is a fairly easy task. You might as well include it in your day unless you're already dodging lightening bolts by this point.  

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    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info East Geissler SW Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2001

    From the summit of West Geissler, hike east down to the saddle at 12,820 ft. over mostly rocky rubble.  Then ascend the SW ridge of East Geissler hiking now on mostly nice tundra. Nearer the summit, there will be tundra benches that weave between some large rock formations making the ascent a little more interesting, but for the most part, it's "hands-in-the-pockets." Most groups should be able to make the traverse between the two summits in under an hour.

    For the return trip, leave the summit of East Geissler and hike down the east ridge to what we'll call "Lost Man Pass." Some of this descent is on scree and will go quickly. Pick up the Lost Man trail and follow it for two miles south back to the trailhead you started from. On summer weekends, expect to see many day hikers on this trail.


    Additional BETA

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