OverviewThe traverse from Drift Peak to Wheeler Mountain is a long and tedious but very exciting ridge climb. If you love to climb for hours over one tower or spine after the other then this is the right place for you.
Route Description /Gear
I will keep the description pretty short. Once you gained Drift Peak it is up to you to decide what route along the ridge fits best your abilities. Drift Peak to Wheeler Traverse is a rarely visited ridge - despite its closeness to Breckenridge. It is a long and rugged climb and definitely not a ridge for beginners.
Climbing the ridge from Drift Peak to Wheeler Peak will take most of a day.
Best place to start is from the Blue Lake Reservoir (you should be able to also make a roundtrip from Mayflower Gulch- not tried by myself).
Climb to the summit of Drift Peak and start scrambling straight south in direction of Wheeler Mountain. The descent from Drift Peak is pretty mellow, but the difficulty of the climb will increase rapidly. You will have to climb over several subsummits - each with its own sets of spines and towers - which are mostly in the Class 3 - 4 range (you can also get into Class 5 if you want at several spots).
From Wheeler Mountain you have to scramble down the very steep rubble field gullies of Wheeler's Northeast Face to get back to the Blue Lakes. These gullies will be snowfilled well into late spring.
Start very early in summer - be off the ridge before noon to avoid getting caught in a thunderstorm. Several gullies along the ridge offer escape routes to the East and West.
Do not expect to meet anyone along the ridge after leaving Drift Peak - Wheeler Mountain is a rarely visited peak and the traverse sees even less traffic.
Bring a helmet (and in spring crampons and ice axe) and be prepared for all weather conditions