From the summit of Independence Pass, this is an easy Class 1 walk-up that will only take a couple of hours to complete. Passenger car accessible trailhead. Very family-friendly hike. Short & Sweet. Can be combined with Twining Peak for a somewhat longer day that's still very family friendly.
UN13,500 SSW Ridge Route
RT From Independence Pass:
Two possible access routes but both involve Highway 82:
From US HWY 24 between Leadville and Buena Vista, take the State HWY 82 west, around Twin Lakes and to the summit of Independence Pass. Park at the pass summit.
From Glenwood Springs/Aspen, drive on State HWY 82 through Aspen and continue driving one of Colorado's most thrilling passes to the summit of Independence Pass.
On the east side of Independence Pass, designated Forest Service campgrounds include Parry Peak and Twin peaks. There are also numerous primitive sites all along Lake Creek. One of the best is here: N 39° 04' 54.99" W 106° 32' 21.86". This is where a diversion tunnel empties out into the Lake Fork and is just under 2 miles past the turnoff for the south fork of Lake Creek.
On the west side of Independence Pass, there are designated Forest Service campgrounds at Difficult Creek, Weller, Lincoln Gulch and Lost Man. There are no good primitive sites, but you may be able to use the trailhead parking area across from the Lost Man CG.
Route Info UN13,500 SSW Ridge
Click thumbnail to view full-size photo + caption
Year Climbed: 1997
From the summit of Independence Pass, head north, skirting the small lake on the west side and avoiding willows as best you can. Then begin ascending the SSW ridge of the peak on mostly tundra with more willows at times. As you approach the summit, things will become a little rockier, but there's nothing difficult. Park to summit is about 1.5 hours and round trip time about 2.5 hours. A great time to do this route is just after the pass opens for the summer. Take an ice axe and some micro spikes or crampons and get an early start before the snow softens up. Enjoy a nice glissade back down. Better yet, if you're a skier, take your skis up for a nice ride down.
Also note: This peak combines well with Twining Peak, a Top 200 summit less than one mile north along the ridge.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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