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#85 / 13,845' Mount Oklahoma

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Mt. Champion
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 10' 43.66", W 106° 30' 22.58" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Mt. Oklahoma is a Class 2 hike that falls within the Mt. Massive Wilderness area. A 4WD vehicle with good clearance will get you as far as possible on FR110, but a higher clearance vehicle will get you most of the distance there. The route utilizes in part, one of the trails to Mt. Massive, so weekends can find things a little crowded. Campgrounds along Halfmoon Creek will likely be full on summer weekends. This is a scenic hike with some great views from a high summit. 

Mt. Oklahoma East Ridge Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From North Halfmoon Creek: 8 mi / 3,300'
  • Trailhead
    • North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead

      From the town of Leadville, drive about 3 miles WSW on US24 to where the highway makes a sharp tunr to the south. At the intersection here, turn west onto CO300, cross the railroad tracks and drive .8 mile west to another intersection. Turn left (south) onto CR11 and drive 1.3 miles to another intersection where you will bear right, remaining on CR11 which in time will become FR110. Continue SW on the graded, gravel road for another 5 miles eventually passing the Half Moon East and West Campground and the Elbert Creek CG. About .3 mile west of the Elbert Creek CG is the trailhead for Mt. Massive, appx. 7 miles in from US24.  (N 39° 09' 05.87"  W 106° 25' 09.77") The Mt. Elbert TH is located just south of the entrance for the Elbert Creek CG. (N 39° 09' 08.40"  W 106° 24' 43.25")  If you do not have a vehicle with better clearance, you'll need to park at the trailhead. Otherwise, FR110 continues west for another 2.1 miles (or a little over 9.0 miles in from US24) to the intersection for FR110J (aka" 1103A).  While these last two miles are rated 4WD, having that capability is not as important as having better clearance. 

      Continue driving (or hiking) west on FR110 for another .5 mile to the North Halfmoon Creek TH. FR110 beyond the turnoff for South Halfmoon Creek is definitely 4WD territory and rockier with a steep, rocky hill to climb right after the turnoff for South Halfmoon Creek. Stock 4WD should be able to handle any difficulties. At-large camping possibilities may be found in the immediate area. There is a designated parking area for the North Halfmoon Ck. trailhead, just before the main road crosses the creek. The trail for Oklahoma, the SW access to Massive and North Halfmoon Lakes begins on an old roadbed. 


      Camping

      There are three Forest Service campgrounds along Halfmoon Creek. They are Half Moon East, Half Moon West and Elbert Creek. Information about these campgrounds can be found at this link: https://www.forestcamping.com/dow/rockymtn/sicmp.htm. These campgrounds usually max out on summer weekends. All three are listed as "first-come, first-served," so no reservations accepted. Driving west on FR110 past the Mt. Massive TH on the 4WD road will offer some additional at-large camp spots as you continue up valley.

      Campsite Locations

      Elbert Creek › N 39° 09' 09.16", W 106° 24' 48.74"
      10,075 ft. elevation
      Half Moon West › N 39° 09' 27.30", W 106° 23' 52.32"
      9,950 ft. elevation
      Half Moon East › N 39° 09' 32.36",, W 106° 23' 48.64"
    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Mt. Oklahoma East Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1994

    The route we used to climb Mt. Oklahoma in most respects followed the route described by G&M and is also written up in the Roach's book on the high 13ers. The only point of variation will likely be how far up the trail to the North Halfmoon Lakes one should go before turning off the trail to begin the main ascent to Oklahoma. 

    From the trailhead where North Halfmoon Creek comes in, head north on the old roadbed, which after a while will become trail. For the next two miles, the trail will gain only modest elevation, about 600 feet. At these coordinates, one of the trails to Mt. Massive turns off: N 39° 10' 04.68  W106° 28' 46.03". Do not turn up that trail. Continue west on the North Halfmoon Trail which after the previous coordinates, will pass through another area of forest and then break out into another meadow. At these coordinates, the trail begins to depart the main drainage and gain some altitude. (N 39° 10' 08.60"  W106° 29' 05.33" - elev. 11,440 ft.) Follow the trial on up to just short of 12,000 ft. elevation, then depart at these coordinates: N 39° 10' 28.83"  W106° 29' 18.08". 

    Depart the trail and walk westward along an open bench with trees & some willows. Cross a smaller tributary stream and continue walking WSW now through more open trees and low willows to cross a major tributary stream. To cross this stream, you'll need to lose about 150 feet in elevation. Once across, continue WSW following along the edge of another area of trees,, cross a rocky area and as you do, you'll be well below the cliffs on the east ridge of Oklahoma. After passing the rocky area, watch for a small drainage coming down from the west. Head up along that drainage on its south side and hike into a flatter basin. Walk to the west end of the basin using as much tundra as you can. somewhere between 12,600 and 12,700 feet, turn north to gain Oklahoma's east ridge. This will be the steepest part of the hike and will be on mostly low tundra with loose, small, pebbly rocks and moderately good footing to gain the ridge. Once on the ridge at about 13,150 ft., hike NW on spotty tundra, embedded rock and rubble to the rocky summit. Mt. Massive, seen to the east, will seemingly dwarf this summit. For the return hike, go back as you came. Done early enough in the season, you can find some snow fields that may offer some nice glissading. Take and ice axe then. 

    It is possible to make the long trek from Mt. Massive to Mt. Oklahoma, by following a very long, connecting ridge that forms a semi-circle around the headwaters of North Halfmoon Creek. The main difficulty will come at the low point saddle north of the Oklahoma summit. Crossing that saddle are several rocky ribs that transect the ridge line. Avoiding them entirely would mean losing a fair amount of elevation on the west side. Staying on the ridge means crossing the multiple ribs. This involves some slower, 3rd class scrambling work, but can be done and kept at that level. Beyond that saddle, it's back to Class 2+ boulder & rock hopping to the Oklahoma summit. 


    Additional BETA

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