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LoJ: #625 (G & M: #623) / 13,020' UN 13020 S 10

Range › San Juan Range
Quadrangle › Sams
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 38° 01' 37.30", W 107° 54' 22.52" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon S 8 Peak Icon S 9

Peak Summary

Note: The designation for this peak as S.10 appears in the G&M editions. However, Lists of John maintains that the S.10 designation made by the SJM belongs to a summit of 12,311 ft. located north of Whipple Mtn., which is the ridge on the west side of Deep Creek.  Hence, 13,020 has no other designation other than its elevation, but in this report, we will use UN13,020 and S.10 interchangeably. 

UN 13,020 (S.10 in G&M) is a Class 2, medium day hike when done from Box Factory Park at the end of CR 9 out of Ridgway. The old trails and roads that connect together to complete the route can be a little complex, but some common sense will get you there. The trailhead is accessible to some passenger cars and cross-over style vehicles that have a little extra clearance. The route we discuss here has the additional opportunity to see some elk. 

UN 13,020 NNW Ridge Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Box Factory Park: 10.8 mi / 3,740'
  • Trailhead Photos
    • Box Factory Park Trailhead

      Measure from the intersection of US550 and CO62 on the east side of Ridgway, turn west onto CO62, drive across the bridge over the Uncompahgre River, continue through town and go up the hill and continue for about 5.5 miles total to the turnoff for County Road 7 which will be on the left (or south side of the highway). From that turnoff, continue another 1.5 mile on CO62 to the turnoff for CR9. Once onto CR9, drive 6.7 miles generally south to a cattle guard crossing that marks the beginning of National Forest Service land. Some passenger vehicles may want to park here, but keep in mind that some people pull horse trailers up to this point and use the spot for a turn around area. For all others, continue another mile to Box Factory Park. There is a low water crossing of the West Fork of Dallas Creek, just before arriving at the meadow. 


      Camping

      The best camping is at Box Factory park. This long, open meadow has plenty of room and is surprisingly flat. There are no facilities here and there are no Forest Service campgrounds on the drive in. Since much of the drive on CR9 is through private and /or BLM land, we advise only trying to camp once you are on National Forest land. 

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info UN 13,020 NNW Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2012

    On the Uncompahgre NF map, follow Trail #200 to the west from the north end of Box Factory Park. This is currently referred to as the "Dallas Trail." Some other sources such as FSTopo 2016 identify this as the Alder Creek Trail. Five minutes up the Dallas trail heading west from Box Factory Park, we got a glimpse of a bull elk crashing through the undergrowth as he fled from us. From Box Factory Park, the trail actually climbs in a NNW direction gaining some elevation, then contouring west across a timbered ridge and dropping down into a clearing, crossing a minor west fork of Dallas Creek. The trail then heads uphill to intersect an old roadbed (no longer in use for vehicles) that comes up from lower on the same ridge. This is about 1.0 mile from the start. Follow this roadbed that has an increasing amount of water running down it from an overflowing stream above. About the time the road would head away from the ridge, another trail leads west, (this is still the Dallas trail) crossing a minor creek and then NW for a good mile, basically contouring at just below 10,000 ft. This trail then intersects another old roadbed ( not in use). You're now about 2.8 miles into the hike. Turn SW walking up the road for about 200 yards before turning off on the Dallas trail again and heading west about 1/3 mile to yet another old roadbed. The North Pole Hut is located somewhere in the vicinity but we never actually saw it. This old road splits very near to where the trail intersects it. We took the lesser used left fork and followed it up to a switchback from where another old road departs heading south while the main road turns east for a bit. Either will get you to where you want to go because they later rejoin. Higher up, the roadbed crosses a small stream and climbs up to an old mining area. We never actually found a mine, but saw a lot of old equipment lying around. 

    At this old mining location you are 3.8 miles in. You should be in open forest & meadow and it is briefly level. From here, you can look south and see a fairly open, steep slope to the right of a tree-covered ridge, all on the left flank of Hayden. Head up to the open slope. You will likely see numerous game paths leading into the basin on the east side of Hayden. We stayed high in the trees not getting too close to cliffs on Hayden and then made a short drop into the basin near the last trees at 11,400 ft. From here, it is open tundra & grass hiking. In earlier season you may find some snow left. We saw abundant signs of elk, but had not actually encountered any yet. Continue SW up the basin on the right side, staying on grass & tundra until you come to the bottom of a tundra & flower-covered slope that leads more westward onto the eastern flank of Hayden. This provides a nice tundra approach to the peak which can be seen from far away. 

    As we headed on up the tundra slope toward the summit of Hayden, we finally spotted a group of elk far above us on a bench-like area. We could see their heads as they peered at us, trying to determine what we were. The wind blew our scent in their direction, so after a short while, they fled heading north around the top of Hayden. 

    Continue on up to the SSE ridge of Hayden and the saddle between Hayden and S.10. From here, it is a quick ascent on mostly smaller, broken talus/rock/scree to the S.10 summit. It is a rather plain little peak but offers great views of not only the north side of Dallas Divide, but also down the Deep Creek drainage and beyond Telluride to the Wilsons and the many San Juan peaks south of Telluride. Take a seat on the summit, eat some lunch and enjoy the splendid view.  We found no register. In the far distance, we could see Lizard head taunting us with its steep walled rock pinnacle. 

    After a comfortable break head on back, with possibly a visit to the unranked Hayden summit on the way. A 15 – 20 minute crossing back along the connecting ridge will bring you to the Hayden summit where we did find both a bench marker and a summit register. There are some nice flowers to photograph here. From Hayden or the Hayden - S.10 saddle, we recommend going back as you came. A year later, our son and a friend of ours tried to take a different route back and encountered a number of difficulties. 


    Additional BETA

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