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#335 / 13,380' UN 13380 Triangle Peak

Range › Elks Range
Quadrangle › Gothic
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 38° 59' 30.79", W 106° 54' 33.85" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

UN 13,380 (Triangle Peak) is a fairly quick and easy summit located at the head of Conundrum Basin. The remote location of this summit makes it rather difficult to obtain as a day hike. We climbed this summit, along with several others as part of a five-day backpack trip that began at the Twin lakes Trailhead on the Pearl Pass Road out of Crested Butte. As such, this summit will have both a trailhead and an "approach" which will include the backpack description. From Coffeepot Pass, the Class 2 hike can be completed round-trip in about an hour or a little longer. 

Triangle Peak East Ridge Route

Class 2
backpacker icon + Peak Icon
Backpack + Short Day
RT From Pearl Pass/Twin Lakes Access via Twin Lakes: 8.2 mi / 2,250'
RT From Twin Lakes: 1.8 mi / 850'

RT From Pearl Pass/Twin Lakes Access via Coffeepot Pass South: 11.2 mi / 2,975'
RT From Coffeepot Pass South: 1.8 mi / 850'
  • Trailheads
    This route can be accessed via more than one trailhead. Select the from the following trailheads:
    • Pearl Pass/Twin Lakes Access Trailhead

      From the Town of Gunnison: Turn north at the center of town on HWY 135. Pass through Almont and continue toward Crested Butte. About 2 miles before reaching the town, turn right onto CR738 which also becomes FR738. This is locally known as the "Pearl Pass Road." The road starts out paved, then changes to graded gravel. It initially passes through a subdivision. Before turning off the highway, you'll have outstanding views of Teocalli Mtn. Passenger cars can make it in the first 4 - 5 miles to a little past the junction where the East River comes in. Just about the time FR 738 begins to gain elevation, there is a primitive camp area on the right. Passenger cars should be parked here. Higher clearance vehicles and 4WD can continue north. Stay right at the next road intersection in about a mile, continuing on FR738. The road will drop down briefly to a low water crossing of West Brush Creek. Continue driving another 4.5 miles appx. to the Twin Lakes trailhead parking which turns off the main road to the left. If only driving in to climb Teocali, it is not necessary to drive all the way to the Twin Lakes TH. There is a primitive campsite on the west side of the creek at these coordinates: N 38° 56' 26.55  W 106° 51' 36.78". Elevation 10,100 ft. This is about 1.1 mile south of the Twin Lakes TH. An indistinct road turns off to the left and leads down to cross the creek with the campsite being on a bench just above the creek at the coordinates above. If unable to ford the creek, then it's possible to car-camp where this road turns off, 


      Camping

      There are some good, primitive campsites right at the trailhead with some protective trees. You may find other weekend adventurers camped here. Also, see the coordinates provided above for a possible campsite before reaching the Twin Lakes TH that can serve as the TH for hiking Teocali. 

    Approaches Maps Photos
    • From Pearl Pass/Twin Lakes Access TH via Twin Lakes    6.4 mi. / 1,400'

      Note: This backpack approach may not only be used for UN13,550 and peaks in that immediate area, but also for the line of summits bordering Conundrum Creek as far north as Hunter Peak. Since Conundrum Creek and hot springs is a very popular and now regulated destination backpack typically accessed from Aspen and the road to Ashcroft, the access we are suggesting here will avoid the crowds, have a higher starting elevation, provide access to even more summits and offer less competition for campsites.

      From the trailhead, hike NW on trail # 402. Initially, you'll have to find a way to cross Middle Brush Creek - possibly using your vehicle or wading. Go north up the hillside some and then turn NW on the trail to the Twin Lakes. It's appx. 3.2 miles to the north end of the northernmost lake at 11,580 ft. with 1,400 feet of gain. The trail crosses into the Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness. Self-registration is required for a permit for overnight visitation. The trail starts out on the east side of the creek but crosses over to the west side a half mile below the lakes. It starts out crossing open terrain, passes through some higher altitude forest and goes through any number of willows as it approaches the lakes. In 2000, when the trail crossed over to the west side of the drainage, it was so difficult to follow in the wet and dense willows, we abandoned efforts to do so and blazed our own path, avoiding some of the willow-bashing. Perhaps it has now been improved.

      Trail #402 shows on Forest Service maps as playing out above the Twin Lakes. We actually found usable trail all the way to the saddle WNW of the lakes at 12,500 ft., passing through lush, flowering vegetation on the way up. It was shortly after the saddle that the trail began to play out in the tundra benches above the northern end of West Brush Creek. But it makes little difference. In this location, you can find several campsite opportunities and small tarns for water supply by working your way west from the pass above Twin Lakes. The views and the solitude are outstanding. It is also easy to access "Coffeepot Pass," about a mile NW from the Twin Lakes pass and drop into Conundrum Basin. It's an easy backpack (except for the altitude) over mostly tundra. A short distance down on the north side of Coffeepot Pass, you can pick up Trail #1981 as it drops in from Triangle Pass. This trail drops down to Conundrum Hot Springs almost 2 miles down from Coffeepot Pass, and can serve as your access for Hunter, Keefe and Hilliard Peaks. The trail goes all the way out to CR15 between Aspen and Ashcroft. To avoid possible overcrowded campsite conditions at Conundrum Hot Springs, try camping about a mile up the trail from the springs in the upper basin on some of the tundra benches below the east flank of UN13,216. It may be a 20 - 30 minute walk down to the springs, but you'll enjoy a great deal more privacy and solitude. If packing in from Brush Creek & Twin Lakes, total mileage to this campsite will be about 5 miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain.

      This link from the US Forest Service may provide more information about trail #1981 to Conundrum Hot Springs: Conundrum Creek Trail #1981 - Hiking Guide


      Camping

      You may be able to find some primitive campsites in the vicinity of the lower Twin Lake. We did not camp at the lakes. We camped well above the lakes on a higher tundra bench area where the trail plays out in the tundra, since we were here to climb multiple summits over several days. In addition, we also camped on a flatter tundra/grassy bench area north of Coffeepot Pass by about 3/4 mile, well off the trail and east of the UN13,216 summit at an elevation of around 12,200 ft.


      Open This Approach in a New Window
    • From Pearl Pass/Twin Lakes Access TH via Coffeepot Pass South    9.4 mi. / 2,125'

      • Twin Lakes - Elk Mtns Approach  Easy | RT: 6.4 mi / 1,400’

        Note: This backpack approach may not only be used for UN13,550 and peaks in that immediate area, but also for the line of summits bordering Conundrum Creek as far north as Hunter Peak. Since Conundrum Creek and hot springs is a very popular and now regulated destination backpack typically accessed from Aspen and the road to Ashcroft, the access we are suggesting here will avoid the crowds, have a higher starting elevation, provide access to even more summits and offer less competition for campsites.

        From the trailhead, hike NW on trail # 402. Initially, you'll have to find a way to cross Middle Brush Creek - possibly using your vehicle or wading. Go north up the hillside some and then turn NW on the trail to the Twin Lakes. It's appx. 3.2 miles to the north end of the northernmost lake at 11,580 ft. with 1,400 feet of gain. The trail crosses into the Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness. Self-registration is required for a permit for overnight visitation. The trail starts out on the east side of the creek but crosses over to the west side a half mile below the lakes. It starts out crossing open terrain, passes through some higher altitude forest and goes through any number of willows as it approaches the lakes. In 2000, when the trail crossed over to the west side of the drainage, it was so difficult to follow in the wet and dense willows, we abandoned efforts to do so and blazed our own path, avoiding some of the willow-bashing. Perhaps it has now been improved.

        Trail #402 shows on Forest Service maps as playing out above the Twin Lakes. We actually found usable trail all the way to the saddle WNW of the lakes at 12,500 ft., passing through lush, flowering vegetation on the way up. It was shortly after the saddle that the trail began to play out in the tundra benches above the northern end of West Brush Creek. But it makes little difference. In this location, you can find several campsite opportunities and small tarns for water supply by working your way west from the pass above Twin Lakes. The views and the solitude are outstanding. It is also easy to access "Coffeepot Pass," about a mile NW from the Twin Lakes pass and drop into Conundrum Basin. It's an easy backpack (except for the altitude) over mostly tundra. A short distance down on the north side of Coffeepot Pass, you can pick up Trail #1981 as it drops in from Triangle Pass. This trail drops down to Conundrum Hot Springs almost 2 miles down from Coffeepot Pass, and can serve as your access for Hunter, Keefe and Hilliard Peaks. The trail goes all the way out to CR15 between Aspen and Ashcroft. To avoid possible overcrowded campsite conditions at Conundrum Hot Springs, try camping about a mile up the trail from the springs in the upper basin on some of the tundra benches below the east flank of UN13,216. It may be a 20 - 30 minute walk down to the springs, but you'll enjoy a great deal more privacy and solitude. If packing in from Brush Creek & Twin Lakes, total mileage to this campsite will be about 5 miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain.

        This link from the US Forest Service may provide more information about trail #1981 to Conundrum Hot Springs: Conundrum Creek Trail #1981 - Hiking Guide


        Camping

        You may be able to find some primitive campsites in the vicinity of the lower Twin Lake. We did not camp at the lakes. We camped well above the lakes on a higher tundra bench area where the trail plays out in the tundra, since we were here to climb multiple summits over several days. In addition, we also camped on a flatter tundra/grassy bench area north of Coffeepot Pass by about 3/4 mile, well off the trail and east of the UN13,216 summit at an elevation of around 12,200 ft.


        Open This Approach in a New Window
      • Twin Lakes - Elk Mtns Approach 2  Moderate | RT: 3 mi / 725’

        Trail #402 shows on Forest Service maps as playing out above the Twin Lakes. We actually found usable trail all the way to the saddle WNW of the lakes at 12,500 ft., passing through lush, flowering vegetation on the way up. It was shortly after the saddle that the trail began to play out in the tundra benches above the northern end of West Brush Creek. But it makes little difference. In this location, you can find several campsite opportunities and small tarns for water supply by working your way west from the pass above Twin Lakes. The views and the solitude are outstanding. See coordinates below for the approximate location of our first night's camp. These coordinates were not field-checked and are only an approximation of where we stayed. 

        It is also easy to access "Coffeepot Pass," about a mile NW from the Twin Lakes pass and drop into Conundrum Basin. It's an easy backpack (except for the altitude) over mostly tundra. A short distance down on the north side of Coffeepot Pass, you can pick up Trail #1981 as it drops in from Triangle Pass. This trail drops down to Conundrum Hot Springs almost 2 miles down from Coffeepot Pass, and can serve as your access for Hunter, Keefe and Hilliard Peaks. The trail goes all the way out to CR15 between Aspen and Ashcroft. To avoid possible overcrowded campsite conditions at the now regulated Conundrum Hot Springs, try camping about a mile up the trail from the springs in the upper basin on some of the tundra benches below the east flank of UN13,216. It may be a 20 - 30 minute walk down to the springs, but you'll enjoy a great deal more privacy and solitude. If packing in from Brush Creek & Twin Lakes, total mileage to this campsite will be about 5 miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain.


        Camping

        As mentioned above, the basin head south of Coffeepot Pass, at the north end of West Brush Creek offers a nice tundra/rock mix area with wildflowers and a few melt-water ponds. Water is available but no trees at this altitude. We favor this campsite location over camping back down at Twin Lakes, but each has its advantages. 


        Campsite Locations

        West Brush Creek Headwaters N 38° 59' 14.21", W 106° 54' 06.32"
        12,525 ft. elevation

        Open This Approach in a New Window
    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Triangle Peak East Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2000

    UN 13,380 (Triangle Peak) is included on a five-day backpack trip  we made in 2000. It is therefore "sequenced" with the trailhead and approaches for this trip. One-way mileage and elevation gain are measured from Campsite #1 at the head of West Brush Creek. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assumes completion of the backpack trip as described. 

    From Campsite #1 at the head of West Brush Creek, the first half hour of hiking will include hauling packs to “Coffeepot Pass,” about a half mile away and 400 feet or more of elevation gain. At the pass, we dumped our packs, got out our day-packs and headed out to climb the Triangle Peak directly west of the pass along the west ridge. This is an easy 600 foot gain on mostly firm footing. Just below the summit ridge, there is one little difficult, narrow gully with a small amount of snow to negotiate through. Note that this climbed was in mid-July. Once on the summit section of the ridge, stroll and scramble along the ridge to the summit. To make sure we had climbed the true high point, wherever that was, we hiked a good distance south along the summit ridge. It's difficult to tell for sure where the highest point is. The map makes it appear to be on the northern end. From this summit, enjoy a good view of White Rock Mountain which is included in this backpack trip. This view may provide an opportunity to survey White Rock for possible routes. 

    For the descent, simply return as you came and pick up your backpacks. We quickly descended back to our packs at the pass, saddled back up and headed on north into Conundrum Basin.


    Additional BETA

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