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LoJ: #369 (G & M: #368) / 13,330' UN 13330 Proposal Peak

Range › San Juan Range
Quadrangle › Handies Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 52' 57.55", W 107° 37' 27.19" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon Bonita Peak Peak Icon Dome Mountain

Peak Summary

UN 13,330 (Proposal Peak) is a Class 2 hike accessible from Eureka Gulch, west of the ghost town of Eureka, NE of Silverton. The trailhead can be accessed by higher clearance vehicle. This moderate length hike offers a nice hike in the largely tundra zone of the San Juans with wildflowers and a seldom visited valley. Why is this called "Proposal Peak?" We believe it was an unofficial name given to it by the Roach's because this is where Gerry proposed marriage to Jennifer. 

Proposal Peak SE Basin Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From South Fork Animas River TH: 6 mi / 2,770'
  • Trailhead
    • South Fork Animas River TH

      From the Town of Silverton, drive east on the main road through town to where the paved road splits one block past the courthouse and veer right onto the blue-signed County Road 2 (set odometer here) for 4.2 miles of nicely graded dirt road to Howardsville. (On Trails Illustrated map #141, this road is labeled #110. Pavement ends after 2 miles.) From the Howardsville intersection, continue north another 4.3 miles to the old site of Eureka. The road will cross to the west side of the Animas River and continue up a steeper shelf section. It begins to get rockier here. After a short climb, take the road sharply left that heads up into Eureka Gulch. This is BLM4508. ON Google Earth, this is labelled CR25. The turnoff is about a half mile after crossing to the west side of the Animas River. Drive west 1.2 miles to another road that heads off to the left. Follow that road .7 mile as it contours below the main Eureka Gulch Road and crosses Eureka Creek just above its confluence with the South Fork of the Animas. Just a few yards after crossing, the road terminates at an old mine site and a trail takes out in a SW direction from there heading up the drainage. 


      Camping

      There may be some primitive camping available at the trailhead coordinates at the old mine site, however, since it's been several years since we visited this location, it's possible that this area has become posted for No Trespassing. If so, search for camping opportunities elsewhere. In general, over the last couple decades, the number of campers in this area of the Animas has increased dramatically making it difficult to find a private spot. There are no designated campgrounds with facilities so be prepared to be self-contained. There is quite a bit of private land to avoid. Between Howardsville and Eureka, there is one large flat area that typically has numerous campers, trailers, etc. parked there. It has become something of an "RV" village. This is across from the Maggie Gulch Road. Also, at Eureka, there's a popular camping area with some scattered trees that will have a number of vehicles and trailers parked there as well. This is on the east side of the river. Best we can do is wish you "good luck" in finding a spot. 

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Proposal Peak SE Basin

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2003

    As noted for Dome Mountain, the official name for the trailhead here is "Boulder Gulch." Maps show that the main trail stays on the north side of the creek, however, Google Earth shows a slightly more visible trail on the south side as well. From the mine, we hiked along the trail on the north side of the creek. After a few hundred yards, the trail forks with one path leading down to the creek and the other climbing up just a little and then continuing to contour up valley above the creek. We stayed on this upper track for almost a mile before turning up the mountain on our right just after crossing a gully that was still harboring some snow. This is one of those narrow, entrenched gullies that originates high up on the mountainside. Coordinates for the place to turn up are: N 37° 52' 32.82"  W 107° 36' 04.91", after crossing the gully. 

    Head WNW up the very grassy and steep mountainside. We had no trouble making upward progress, but the 1,800 feet of vertical gain along this steep route was relentless. Along the way, we saw plentiful evidence of elk in the area, but never actually saw one. Intersect the east ridge of Proposal Peak at about 12,700 ft. just where it turns to the northeast. Initial progress along the ridge is fairly easy, but the difficulties do increase. One section is particularly rocky with a rock tower to avoid (see photo) by traversing below it on the south side, and there is one cliff section to bypass closer to the summit where a north running couloir breaks through the ridge  line. The summit is a moderately rocky affair, but it is no struggle to attain, other than continued dealing with the rocky conditions. 

    Enjoy the spectacular view of the north facing slopes of Tower Mtn. and Dome. This valley is short but beautiful. There was a fair amount of snow on the north facing slopes when we climbed this in late June - enough to afford a nice glissade if one were descending from Tower or Dome, but the route up on Proposal was not so fortuitous. For our descent, we took the south ridge off the summit for a short distance and then crossed over to a snowfield that gave us a quick descent into “Slagle Basin.” The first part is steep and then tapers out. Towards the bottom, the snow became soft as it played out in the basin. At a near level area in the upper basin there are a couple of exploratory digs. 

    Continue on down, descending steeply on grassy slopes and into some scattered trees on either side of the shallow drainage where you may be able to pick up a faint, old trail that switchbacks down to the creek. Aim for these coordinates on the stream, but you may not have to descend all the way down to find the trail: N 37° 52' 17.76"  W 107° 36' 24.24". On the north side of the creek, pick up the very faint trail that leads back down the valley. After less than a half mile, it becomes more clear and soon, you should rejoin your original path back to the mine and trailhead. If all else fails, as mentioned before, it's fairly easy to cross the creek and pick up a more visible trail that shows on Google Earth on the other side. 


    Additional BETA

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