LoJ: #376 (G & M: #375) / 13,321' Trico Peak

Range › San Juan Range
Quadrangle › Ironton
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 54' 19.42", W 107° 44' 17.83" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

If you have 4WD so you can drive to the summit of Black Bear Pass, this is a very easy, Class 1, short hike to a summit overlooking Red Mountain Pass. From a car park at Red Mountain Pass, this is still a relatively easy Class 2 day hike.

Trico Peak South Ridge Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Red Mountain Pass - Black Bear Pass Access: 7 mi / 2,250'
  • Trailhead
    • Red Mountain Pass - Black Bear Pass Access Trailhead

      We're writing this trip up with the assumption that climbers do not have a 4WD vehicle available, hence, the trailhead for this peak, Trico Peak, T.10, Three Needles, T.11 and UN13,159 is just south of the Red Mountain Pass summit. From Ouray, drive south on US 550 to the summit of Red Mountain Pass and park just south of the actual summit on the west side of the road where the Black Bear Pass road takes out. (FR823) From Ouray, this will take about 20 - 25 minutes of driving.

      From Durango, drive north on US 550 to the Red Mountain Pass summit. Park on the west side of the highway just south of the summit where the Black Bear Pass road begins. (FR823)

      If you have 4WD with good clearance, you may drive to the summit of Black Bear Pass and reduce both the mileage and elevation gain for the day considerably, if climbing UN13,510, Trico or T.10. In 1996, we found the road up to the pass surprisingly good with no real clearance problems. It was just steep in spots. The more rugged and notorious sections of the Black Bear Pass road are apparently further down on the Telluride side. However, our son reports from trips in 2012 - 2014 that the switchback at about the 11,700 ft. level is deteriorating and becoming progressively more difficult to navigate due to increased use and no maintenance.


      Camping

      While there are no designated Forest Service campgrounds in the immediate vicinity, north or south of Red Mountain Pass, there are numerous at-large, primitive sites close by. One is located on a knoll, by driving up the Black Bear Pass road about 1 mile and taking a left fork of the road that leads over to Porphyry Basin. Drive up to the knoll no more than .3 mile from the intersection. The elevation is appx. 11,600 ft.

      Another good primitive camp location(s) if coming from Ouray is located at the south end of Ironton Park on the east side of the highway, in the vicinity of the road for Corkscrew Pass. If coming from Durango/Silverton, your best bet will be up the South Mineral Creek road.

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Trico Peak South Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1996

    Note: the mileage and elevation for this hike assumes a walking start from the beginning of the Black Bear Pass road just south of the Red Mountain pass summit.

    If you have 4WD with good clearance, you may drive to the summit of Black Bear Pass and reduce both the mileage and elevation gain for the day considerably. In 1996, we found the road up to the pass surprisingly good with no real clearance problems. It was just steep in spots. The more rugged and notorious sections of the Black Bear Pass road are apparently further down on the Telluride side. However, our son reports from trips in 2012 - 2014 that the switchback at about the 11,700 ft. level is deteriorating and becoming progressively more difficult to navigate due to increased use and no maintenance.

    From the car park at Red Mountain Pass, either drive in 4WD or walk appx. 3 miles to the summit of Black Bear Pass road (FR823). If walking, you'll probably want to avoid the road traffic by heading more directly up into Mineral Basin. There will be two steep pitches with an intervening bench. Most of the hiking will be on tundra. At the pass, turn north and follow the fairly broad ridge to the summit of Trico Peak. The 500 feet of elevation gain will come quickly as you'll be walking over mostly tundra, chiprock and small rock. On the summit, you can gaze down the rather imposing west side of Trico. Contemplate whether or not you want to attempt the 3rd class north ridge traverse over to UN13,510, which is less than one mile north.

    Be warned that to descend the first 400 feet of the north ridge of Trico involves some somewhat exposed 3rd class work. On LoJ, "Furthermore" describes this section as "the rock appearing super sketchy but surprisingly somewhat solid." If you choose not to continue to UN13,510, return as you ascended.

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