Distance: ~20 miles
Elevation Gain: 5345’
Steve Knapp and I met in Morrison, then continued to the Rich Creek TH where we met Mike Rodenak. We left Mike’s ride at the Rich Creek TH and continued to Weston Pass, then followed a 4WD road to its terminus just west of Weston Pass. We started our 5 peak traverse with the highest of the day, South Peak.
South Peak. Photo: Mike Rodenak
Buffalo Peaks from South Peak. Photo: Mike Rodenak
The hike over to 12454 was easy over alpine tundra. Next, we continued to 12306. This was Mike’s Lake County finisher. He is now the 7th person to climb every peak in Lake County!
Representative alpine tundra along the traverse. Photo: Mike Rodenak
Next up was 12135, which is unique because treeline rises nearly to the summit on this low 12er. 12135 also has a fourth class summit block with wonderful views.
12135’s summit area. Photo: Mike Rodenak
Fall foliage from 12135. Photo: Mike Rodenak
Clear Creek Reservoir from 12135. Photo: Mike Rodenak
12135’s summit boulder. Photo: Mike Rodenak
Next was 12132 which was mostly similar terrain, but with some willows near the upper saddle. After several minutes on the summit, we descended north into a drainage and picked up an old trail that led to the Rich Creek TH. We returned to Mike’s vehicle, then headed back up to our original parking spot near Weston Pass. We said our goodbyes to Mike and drove west down from Weston Pass to Leadville, then north on US-24 and north on Forest Road 102 to a decent parking area near East Tennessee Creek. We made quick work of Missouri Hill and were a bit surprised to find a Garratt register from 1991. We probably would have been better off ascending Missouri Hill from US-24 since Forest Road 102 is pretty rutted out making for slow travel. Finally, we made our way to Ski Cooper and found the 4WD road that led to the summit of Cooper Hill.
12132’s west slopes. Photo: Mike Rodenak
South Peak Traverse. Map: Steve Knapp
Missouri Hill Map