|Leg||Distance (miles)||Elevation Gain|
|Beartown TH to camp||9.5||2600'|
|Camp to Jagged Mountain||2.9*||2600'|
|Jagged Mountain back to camp||2.9*||0|
|Camp to Beartown TH||9.5||2900'|
|Total round trip||24.8*||8100'|The Drive to Beartown
The Base Camp Trek
Just as there are false summits on peaks, it appeared that Hunchback Pass just kept getting higher and higher. But we were fresh, and before long we had reached the high point (12, 493’) and were headed down into the Vallecito Creek drainage. Of course the downhill portion carried with it the knowledge that the uphill punishment was yet to come.
We passed the turnoff to Nebo Creek trail on the left, then passed the Rock Creek trail, also on the left. I had marked a track to Leviathon Creek on the GPS prior to the trip, so when we saw a trail heading to the right into the woods near my GPS track, we took it. On the way back we found a cairn that followed the edge of the woods. In this area there were many social trails.
We took quite a bit of time trying to find a river crossing. Finally we decided on a series of rock hops, followed by a skinny log crossing to a couple of additional rock hops near an obvious stock crossing. The skinny log wasn’t enough for me, resulting in 2 boots full of water. I wrung out the socks and liners, saving the dry socks for the next morning. On the return, we scouted Vallecito Creek from the west bank and found a much better spot for crossing. It required only 2 steps on bedrock through a shallow area in the creek.
There is an attached GPX file that can be used for more detail on the stream crossing.
On the west side of Vallecito Creek was a flat area containing a large tent, possibly used for hunters. We picked up a highly visible trail and followed it easily up the drainage. A little more than 2 miles after crossing Vallecito Creek, we crossed a small stream and found a lovely flat area for our base camp at around 11,500’. We were treated by the setting sun to a reddish glow on the surrounding peaks.
Summit day dawned clear and remained that way throughout the entire day. As we left camp, the trail became faint in places, but with maps we were able to point ourselves in the right direction and eventually pick up the trail again.
We skirted Leviathon Lake on the north, then climbed through a rock field to a saddle just west of Leviathon Peak. From here there was a great view of the climb. We took out the map and directions from Roach’s Thirteeners book and studied the route.
In the photo below, the green line is the approach, the yellow is the route, and red marks areas where ropes were used.
We contoured around to the southwest toward the saddle to Noname drainage, then followed trails to the base of the climb. A few hungry-looking mountain goats were hanging out so we planted our trekking poles firmly and located the start of the climb. The photo below is a close-up of the first crux of the climb.
We worked our way up the mountain, frequently referencing Roach’s Thirteeners book, and summited under a beautiful clear blue sky. To descend, we reinforced the webbing and added a rappel ring, used 2 160’ ropes and enjoyed the ride. The first rappel was the longest and most fun. We had kept an eye on the way up for rappel stations, but finding them on the way down still required some hunting. We retrieved our trekking poles at the base of the mountain, headed back to our base camp and watched the sky begin to cloud up ominously.
We awoke to a gray sky. After a quick breakfast, we scrambled to pack up the gear before it got wet but didn’t quite make it. It rained the entire way out but we didn’t care, and the rain kept us cool for the long slog back up over Hunchback Pass.