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#233 / 13,531' UN 13531 Ervin Peak

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Mount Elbert
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 00' 13.93", W 106° 26' 19.09" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon "Mount Blaurock"

Peak Summary

A mostly Class 2 hike with some Class 2+ work on the final summit ridge and some interesting rock scrambling. Peak combines well with Mount Blaurock (UN13,616) for a 2/3rds day adventure. 4WD access preferred but not required, though without, there may be an additional 2 miles of hiking.

Since Ervin Peak combines well with Mount Blaurock, use the route description for Blaurock as the "approach" for Ervin. Including Ervin in your day will add another 1.25 miles and 500 vertical elevation gain. Time from Blaurock to Ervin may require over an hour.

Ervin West Ridge Route

Class 2+
Peak Icon Peak Icon
Long Day // Back for Dinner
Climbed with "Mount Blaurock"
RT From North Fork Clear Creek - Winfield: 4.5 mi / 3,500'
From "Mount Blaurock": 1.25 mi / 500' (One-Way)
  • Trailhead
    • North Fork Clear Creek - Winfield Trailhead

      From Leadville, drive south a little over 19 miles on HWY 24 to the turnoff for Clear Creek Reservoir (CR390) and head west. The turn is less than 2 miles south of "Granite." From Buena Vista, drive north just under 15 miles to the same turnoff. Drive west on graded dirt road 11.7 miles to Winfield. As the road approaches Winfield, it will become a little more narrow and likely to have some potholes. Because of heavy use, this road is often washboarded badly.

      From Winfield, turn right (north) and follow FR390A north, then west as it heads up the North Fork of Clear Creek. From the intersection in Winfield, it will be about .9 mile to the coordinates provided. We have not been on this segment of road in several years. It was not too bad when last on it and did not really require 4WD but good clearance vehicles would be best. In Gerry Roach's "Colorado's Fourteeners" book, he describes the road as "rough" from Winfield on and recommends 4WD.


      Camping

      All along the drive up the Clear Creek Road, there are at-large camp spots. Finding an unoccupied spot anywhere near Vicksburg or Winfield can be difficult on weekends. Be aware of private property. For the North Fork of Clear Creek, it is best to drive west, past Winfield and look for at-large campsites from about the location of the old cemetery and westward, up to the wilderness boundary.
    Approach Map Photos
    • From UN 13616

      The climb of Mount Blaurock begins about a quarter mile after crossing Grey Copper Creek. Where the road is heading north, then swings back to the west, depart the road here and walk uphill through an open, grassy meadow. This open slope, as it ascends, will narrow to become a ridge that borders the west side of Grey Copper Creek and leads all the way to the SE summit ridge of Blaurock. For the most part, the slope and ridge are open all the way with areas of trees that can be avoided.  Above the trees, the tundra-covered slope will gradually give way to increasingly small, broken rock (scree), but not difficult. This south facing route will be clear of snow earlier in the season, but higher up, there may be a snowbank along the edge of the ridge.

      Once this SW ridge intersects the SE summit ridge, the difficulties will begin. Head NW along the ridge crest which will become rocky and fragmented. Earlier in the season, snow may fill the cracks and gullies that penetrate the ridge crest. If you find snow, you may have to negotiate the sharp crest of some corniced snowbanks at the head of a gully or two. This is where an ice axe could come in handy. There may also be one steep couloir you may need to drop down into (on the south side), possibly have to cross snow in it and then re-ascend to the ridge on steep, loose talus. All of this may slow your progress, but eventually, you'll gain the summit on the far east end of the ridge.

      For the return, simply follow your ascent route back down for a total of 4 miles and about 3,000 feet of gain. Roundtrip can easily be done in a half day. But for more peakbagging opportunity, continue over to Ervin peak (UN13,531.) This will only add about 2 more hours to your day.

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    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Ervin West Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1994

    Use the route for Mount Blaurock (UN13,616) as the approach for Ervin. From the summit of Blaurock, backtrack over the somewhat difficult Class 2+ SE ridge retracing your ascent route as best you can. A little below 13,400 feet, the difficulties will subside and you'll be able to more easily over mixed tundra and small rock. After the saddle at 13,060 ft., continue hiking SE up the ridge now with the rock becoming larger and more broken. Once on the final summit ridge, begin working your way east. The high point is on the far east end. What may have appeared as a fairly easy summit ridge, you will now discover to have numerous minor difficulties that will slow progress. For the remainder of the distance to the summit, following the ridge crest, you will encounter constant hopping over large rocks, negotiating snowbanks and cornices earlier season, the heads of steep snow fields and clambering over rocky pitches for short distances. You will need to work the ridge crest on both sides at times to find the best route. Ice axe could be handy early season.

    Once you arrive at the summit, enjoy the view west to La Plata and south, looking down onto Winfield and further south to Ice Mountain & the Apostles. To return, head back west along the summit ridge to the far end where it begins to drop back to the Blaurock-Ervin saddle, but turn SW instead and begin your real descent by heading down the SW ridge of the peak that gradually broadens out and defines the east side of Grey Copper Creek. The medium-sized, broken rock will never relent until you get down to the trees. By then, most of the battle is over. Try to stay on the ridge and not get drawn down into the creek drainage. Follow various clearings through the trees and game trails to keep descending more directly south. You'll likely encounter an old roadbed that leads to a private cabin. From near the cabin, (but avoid the private property) drop on down through a dense stand of aspen to a clearing that follows a shallow drainage back to the road in an easterly direction. Hike back up the road to your vehicle.

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