LoJ: #470 (Pre-LiDAR #489) / 13,220' UN 13220 Formerly UN 13202

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Mt. Champion
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 09' 41.55", W 106° 33' 05.45" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Lying at the head of the North Fork Lake Creek, UN13,220 combines readily with UN13,291 for a two-thirds day hiking trip. By itself, UN13,220 is a Class 2 ascent from the North Fork or Class 2+ traverse from UN13,291, with passenger car access to the trailhead and mostly trail access to the peak.

UN13,220 East Ridge Traverse Route

Class 2+
Peak Icon Peak Icon
Long Day // Back for Dinner
Climbed with UN 13302
RT From North Fork Lake Creek: 10 mi / 3,350'
From "Formerly UN 13300 E or "V 8"": 1.50 mi / 850' (One-Way)
  • Trailhead
    • North Fork Lake Creek TH

      From Aspen, drive east on SH82 over the summit of Independence Pass and continue down the east side of the pass to the last switchback where the highway drops into the North Lake Creek valley. Just below the last switchback, there's a turnoff to the left (east) that's a short dirt road that leads to trailhead parking for several vehicles in 100 yards or so. This is just under 5 miles from the summit of the pass. The trailhead parking has a wood rail fence. The short drive in may have some potholes.

      If coming from the Front Range, turn west from US24 onto SH82 and drive west past Twin Lakes, continuing up along the Lake Fork until the highway makes the first switchback to begin the climb up Independence Pass. Just before that switchback, turn right (east) onto the dirt road that leads to the trailhead parking in 100 yards or so. This measures about 18.5 miles from US24/SH82 turnoff.


      Camping at the trailhead parking area is not good. If you can get your vehicle across the creek here, there's a faded track that leads up to a primitive site in some trees. Otherwise, there are designated National Forest campgrounds at Parry Peak and Twin Peaks campgrounds back towards Twin Lakes. We recommend a primitive site that has numerous camping possibilities about 2.4 miles back south on SH82 from the trailhead where a diversion tunnel empties water into the Lake Creek at these coordinates: N 39° 04' 54.99" W 106° 32' 21.86". We call this the Graham Gulch TH and it's 16.1 miles from US24/SH82. About a half mile north of there is another smaller area on the west side of the highway at these coordinates: N 39° 05' 15.72" W 106° 32' 32.28".

      Measuring from the US24/SH82 intersection, the Whitaker CG is 5.3 miles; Town of Twin Lakes is 6.1; Willis Gulch TH is 8.1; Parry Peak CG is 8.7; Twin Peaks is 9.4; La Plata Peak TH is 14.0.

      Campsite Locations

      Graham Gulch › N 39° 04' 54.99", W 106° 32' 21.86"
    Approach Map Photos
    • From UN 13302

      From the trailhead, walk north up the trail. For the first 3 miles, you'll not gain too much elevation on this trail as it passes through many willows. It is well-worn and somewhat rocky in places, but you can make good time on it. The trail begins to climb more earnestly a little past where the two main drainages in the upper basin come together. It heads straight north up the broad ridge/slope coming down from Pt. 12,990, running parallel to a group of low trees that run in a thin line up the slope. You may still find a trail junction with the left hand trail heading over a pass to the NW and dropping into the head of Marten Creek. This trail has been closed for some years now. The trail for this climb heads off tot he right and crosses a minor ridge and the group of trees and then works NE up to the unnamed lake at 12,378 ft. The USGS map doesn't show this, but Google Earth shows the trail switchbacking some just below the lake. Hike around the lake on the west side to the pass and then leave the trail for the fun part of the day.

      Past the lake, veer left toward the bottom of a large couloir that runs down from the first major break you can see above in the ridge line to the west. Ascend up that couloir for 500 feet or more of elevation gain to the break in the ridge. You'll start out on open grassy slopes that will give way to more rock and gravel as you ascend. Now turn north to gain the summit and meet the main challenge of the day. Problems found directly on the ridge can be avoided by contouring on the east side below the ridge crest. At times, we found ourselves as much as 100 feet below. We crossed over some rocky ribs and gullies and then found a natural "ramp" system that eventually led to a place where we felt like we could climb back up towards the ridge crest. Most of the progress to this point was Class 2+ with a little Class 3 thrown in here and there. Climbing back up, we intersected the ridge at the second major notch north of the Continental Divide mark where it turns abruptly east. From that point on, it was just some more easy rock scrambling and elevation gain to the summit. he summit is a narrow, rocky affair with no good place to sit or stretch out and enjoy the view. Do you best to find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy this wide view of the Sawatch. We combined this peak with UN13,202, so we suggest taking a look there for information regarding the ridge traverse over to that point. It's possible according to other reports to continue north from here to other points overlooking Marten Creek (west) and the headwaters of the Frying Pan River (east).

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    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info UN13,220 East Ridge Traverse

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2006

    This peak was done in combination with UN13,291 so the route description for UN13,220 begins from the summit of UN13,291. From that summit, retrace your ascent route as best as possible and return to the saddle just north of the Continental Divide turn. Continue south, heading up the ridge on mostly small rock and gaining nearly 200 feet. From here on out, the ridge is never any more than Class 2+. The only Class 3 work is returning off of UN13,291 to the saddle. Follow on south along the ridge and then west after about a half mile near point 12,990. Earlier in the season when we did this, we found numerous snow cornices and at a number of locations, we could walk on snow if we stayed safely back from the cornice overhang. This may have made the traverse easier overall.

    At the 12,700 foot saddle just west of UN13,220, begin your final ascent to the summit along the ridgeline for a ways. It's easy enough until the last 150 vertical feet which presents a rugged, rocky summit block that appears to present some difficulty. At the base of the rocky section, follow a ramp that appears to the left (SW). The ramps takes you out to open slopes which can be easily hiked to the summit. The view from atop offers nice panoramas looking down Marten Creek and the South Fork of the Frying Pan as well as a distant view of the Williams group of peaks to the west.

    To return, one option is to hike back east as you came to the 12,700 ft. saddle. When you crossed here, you may have seen remnants of the old Marten Creek trail. You can follow this back down to the SE back to the main trail in the North Fork Lake Creek, but sections of this trail on Google Earth appear to have disappeared through disuse. The other option is to walk down the SW ridge from the summit, at first on broken rock that gives way to tundra, losing about 300 feet or more and then drop down a short couloir, then break out to the SE, making a long, contouring descent back to the North Fork trail. Willows may make this more interesting. Also, on Google Earth, as you head SW off the summit, there's a game trail that's visible, that cuts across the ridge. It appears that this game trail cuts down to the SE across the south face of UN13,220 and then gets lost in the easier terrain farther down.

    Additional BETA

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