(G & M: #491)
London Mountain is an unexciting Class 2 Mosquito Range summit that offers many route possibilities. However, there are extensive mining claims and private property rights surrounding it. Our suggested route will keep you largely on the Mosquito Pass Road with a finish on the long, WNW/ESE running summit ridge. 4WD with good ground clearance and some stock SUV's can drive further up the road to eliminate some of the road-walk section, however, driving this road is very slow & tedious.
London Mtn WNW Ridge Route
Short Day // A Wee Little Climb
RT From Mosquito Pass TH (East):
From Fairplay, (watch for speed traps) drive north on State highway 9 to a left (west) turn onto County Road 12. If coming from Breckenridge, drive south on State highway 9 across Hoosier Pass to Alma (watch for speed traps) and turn west onto either CR10 (which joins CR12 after a couple miles) or drive another mile south and turn west directly onto CR12. CR10 is passable for any passenger car, but is much slower, bumpier, and harder to find than CR12. The graded, gravel road up to the provided coordinates is suitable for passenger cars and can be driven all the way to where it crosses Mosquito Creek as the road begins a large turn to the south. If in a 2WD, low clearance vehicle, park in this vicinity and begin walking. There are several pullouts along this section. Beyond the creek crossing, the road becomes a rough, rocky 4WD trail; high clearance, 4WD required.
NOTE: If you're unfamiliar with Mosquito Pass, the road can be driven in many stock SUVs equipped with 4x4 & higher clearance. However, the road is continuously rocky and does present some degree of clearance challenges for stock SUVs. It's the type of road that will put a fair amount of stress on your vehicle's joints & seals. If you're undecided, immediately after the indicated TH coordinates is a long, steep climb as the road winds south which will give you an idea of the road condition above this point. Snow will likely block passage on this side of the pass higher up on the 4x4 road later into the summer than on the west (Leadville) side—often until July 4th or later.
Some limited, primitive sites can be found along CR12, but watch for and respect Private Property signs. The nearest Forest Service designated campgrounds are located on CR18, which leads to the main trailhead for Mt. Sherman. CR18 can be located about a mile and a half south of the Fairplay US285/SH 9 junction on US 285.
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Year Climbed: 2010
The "trailhead" for London Mountain begins from where CR 12 heads west to cross Mosquito Creek. Though the road to this point is navigable by most any passenger vehicle, beyond this point, it almost immediately becomes 4WD with high clearance condition. The NNE face of London is riddled with steep, rocky gullies. The SSW face is still steep and rocky but not quite as bad. The ESE nose of the mountain broadens out and there are a couple of couloir options that could work out, but again, fairly steep and riddle with rock in sections. That leaves the WNW ridge as the only "easy" option for reaching the summit. It is possible to drive on the east side of the Mosquito Pass Road to a saddle between London and 'Kuss Pk." There's some room to park off the road here. Coordinates are: N 39° 17' 18.30" W 106° 10' 19.55". Elevation here is 12,660 ft. From that point, it's a mere .9 mile to the summit with only 540 feet of gain.
Otherwise, for those who want to make the summit a little more sporting, start walking from where CR 12 crosses Mosquito Creek for 1.8 miles. If you wish to avoid hiking directly on the road, there's plenty of opportunity to wander off to the north side. This could provide a chance to visit Oliver Twist Lake or Cooney Lake (we had nothing to do with naming it & more out of the way). There are numerous old mining roads in this area and the overall terrain is a mix of tundra & rock. The goal is to arrive at the coordinates provided above for the saddle between London and "Kuss Pk," a soft-ranked summit of 13,548 ft. on the main divide. Once you reach this saddle, head ESE along the summit ridge for the .9 mile of mostly rock. Initially, in order to attain the summit ridge, there will be a couple of short, cliff bands to negotiate. Once on the ridge, it's a simple ridge walk to the high point, almost all of which will be on broken rock of various sizes. It's never difficult to manage though.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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"Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks." Herodotus