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LoJ: #518 (G & M: #516) / 13,156' V 5

Range › San Juan Range
Quadrangle › Ophir
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 49' 33.64", W 107° 46' 11.91" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon South Lookout Peak Peak Icon V 2

Peak Summary

A Class 2 summit most easily done from the Clear Lake Road above the South Mineral Campground. Requires 4WD vehicle access. This summit has just a little bit of scrambling. It's most rewarding feature is its view overlooking Clear Lake and the rugged peaks surrounding it, including the ominous South Lookout Peak.

V5 South Slopes Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From South Mineral Creek TH: 1.6 mi / 1,325'
  • Trailhead
    • South Mineral Creek TH

      From the Town of Silverton and the US 550 intersection on the west side of town, drive north on US 550 and in a little over 2 miles turn west onto FR585. If coming from Ouray, drive south on US 550 over Red Mountain Pass and watch for the FR585 turnoff on your right before reaching Silverton. Drive west on this graded dirt road to the campground and trailhead parking appx. 4.7 miles in. The last mile of road gets a little rougher but should still be navigable by passenger cars.

      Alternate TH: This should only be used if accessing peaks in the Ice Lake basin area. Do not follow these directions if trying to access peaks at the head of the South Fork of Mineral Creek.

      Follow directions from Silverton or Ouray as before, but before arriving at the campground, watch for a 4WD drive road that heads diagonally up the hillside on your right, a little more than .7 mile before the campground and lower TH parking area or about 3.9 to 4.0 miles in from the highway. The road you're looking for is called the "Clear Lake Road," #815. It does not show on the older USGS quad, but does show on the Forest Service map. It turns off at these coordinates: N 37° 48' 19.49" W 107° 45' 46.26". Drive about a mile up this road to the first switchback and park here for summits in Ice Lake Basin if a space is available (very limited parking and no camping here). Parking coordinates are: N 37° 48' 37.64" W 107° 46' 35.63" Elev. 10,335 ft. Beginning your hike here will not save overall mileage but will save about 400 feet of gain. 4WD with better clearance recommended. From the car park, a trail heads NW and quickly comes to a crossing of Clear Creek. Getting across when water volume is high can be problematic & even a bit risky. If you succeed, continue following the trail on the other side. It will shortly be joined by the main trail coming up from the trailhead at the parking area by the South Mineral Campground.

      This same road also continues to Clear Lake and the basin below South Lookout Peak. If in a lower clearance 2WD vehicle, you will not want to drive up this road any. Park wherever you can find a place to do so near where the road #815 turns off from FR585. If you have a good clearance, 4WD vehicle, you can drive all the way up to Clear Lake.


      Camping

      All along FR585, there are numerous at-large, primitive sites. Upon turning off US 550 and driving less than a mile, there's a large open area on the left with a vault toilet. There are usually a large number of RV's here. There is also the South Mineral Creek Campground and before arriving at the campground, you will see a number of other camp spots. Expect competition on the weekends for sites. This is a very popular area. There is no "allowed" camping at the trail head parking area.

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info V5 South Slopes

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2007

    From a parking spot below Clear Lake, where the road just begins to lose altitude, an old mining road leads up the mountainside. Follow it whenever you want to help avoid some of the boulder talus. For the most part, tundra-covered slopes allow for more direct access without using the road. Higher up on the southwest face of the peak, we left the old roadbed and hiked up a very prominent couloir that splits the summit ridge. Where this couloir forks, take the right hand branch and continue ascending on steep and loose, broken rock until you come near the head of that couloir. Just below the head, turn left and follow a path through a break in the rock and cross the head of another branch of the couloir. Ascend directly up the rock & tundra ledges for a short bit before heading over to another upper branch of the couloir that will lead out and to the summit ridge. From this ridge location, the rocky, rounded summit is just a few minutes away. The summit affords an outstanding view of South Lookout.
    It only required about an hour to climb to the summit and the descent was even faster. While our South Lookout climb had taken about three hours to complete, this peak only takes about 2. We utilized more of the road going down, but most of this southwest face of V.5 is tundra covered, but steep and you can descend directly for much of it. Again, wildflowers would be rampant here in the middle of summer.


    Additional BETA

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