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Bell Creek to north-east ridge
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Bell Creek to north-east ridge

 
Bell Creek to north-east ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.77090°N / 107.5511°W

Object Title: Bell Creek to north-east ridge

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Jeremy Hakes

Created/Edited: Jul 13, 2009 / Sep 12, 2009

Object ID: 529201

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Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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Overview

This is the most commonly used route to ascend this seldom-climbed peak. Occasionally, a local or two come up from other routes (from the Crawford side), but there are no official trails or trail-heads. It should be noted that there is no trail at all on the massif itself, but the ridge is easy enough to follow (keep going uphill!), although navigation, bushwacking, deadfall, and animals will significantly slow your progress.

Getting There

One way or another, you have to get yourself to Paonia, Colorado. I am only describing the Paonia access and hike, as I have not done it from the Crawford side (although it can be done, steeply, from there).

Once in Paonia, head south on one of the roads that head south (Lamborn Mesa, which turns into 4100 Rd.) or 4050 Rd. From Lamborn/4100, head south and west until it merges with 4050. Continue south until it dead ends in a 3-way intersection (L30 road). Turn east (left), and follow this increasingly rough road SE as it gains a lot of elevation. A few unmarked trails branch off either direction, but keep on SE. You will need a high clearance AWD or a 4x4. A very few number of places exist where you can pull off and park, if it gets too rough. At a wider intersection area, turn right (38.8032, -107.5655) and follow this even rougher road to the TH sign. Plenty of room exists for parking, but it is unlikely you will see anyone else all day.

Route Description

Follow the Lamborn trail uphill through gorgeous aspens and meadows as it climbs. This trail continues all the way to the 9500' saddle between Lamborn and Landsend. There is no trail on Landsend, so you have to choose when you want to begin the bushwhack.

We began at a nice boulder field at 38.7878, -107.5359 (about 9,000'), and bushwhacked WSW to the summit. Plan on thick timber, some deadfall, no trail, and slow going. Keep in mind it will be worth it.

Essential Gear

A GPS is handy, and a map is a must. I also recommend trekking poles. Water is available in Bell Creek, but it should be treated before use. I also recommend sunscreen, and bug spray during the summer.

Words of Advice

The access is closed from December 15th to April 15th. If you are brave enough for a winter ascent of this peak, you'll have to do it from the Crawford side.

While not exceptionally difficult technically, anyone interested in navigating to this seldom visited summit should be very comfortable with orienteering, map reading, bushwhacking, navigating deadfall, traversing LARGE boulder fields with both large and small talus (no scree, thankfully), and being awfully isolated, despite being only a scant few miles from town. Cell phone coverage is spotty, but Delta County DOES have a search and rescue team (Slogan: Help Search and Rescue: Go Get Lost). Keep in mind that there is a large wildlife population in this area, including bears. People also horse pack in and hunt in this area in the fall.

What's the draw?

Landsend Peak, along with Mount Lamborn, the Delta County High Point, is one of the two massively prominent peaks that dominate the skyline of the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley. Rising up more than a vertical mile in a scant three horizontal miles, it sticks up above the valley floor like an overlooked giant. There are massive boulder fields and stands of coniferous trees as well as huge fields of Gambel Oak and Aspen that turn magnificent colors in the fall. In winter, it wears a cloak of white that seldom fades. Unlike Lamborn, Landsend holds no snow couloirs and thus no snow climbs (that I know of).

So why climb it? For such a "low" peak, it provides a serious challenge for day-trippers and county list junkies. The peak itself has no trail, and therefore off-trail navigation is required. Wildlife, massive stands of HUGE aspens, ferns, off-the-hook wildflowers, boulder fields, and solitude await those interested in an ascent.

Peaks like this see few visitors, even fewer than Lamborn, as Landsend lacks such status as a county highpoint. It does fall onto the Colorado Prominence List, with more than 1,300' of prominence above the shared saddle. Surprisingly, upon our ascent, we discovered a summit register placed a mere 5 days before our ascent. It is easy to estimate that far fewer than 50 people a year summit this peak.

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