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Northeast Ridge

Northeast Ridge

Northeast Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.91490°N / 106.437°W

Object Title: Northeast Ridge

Route Type: scramble/loose climb

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: class 4

Route Quality: 
 - 3 Votes


Page By: Kane

Created/Edited: Jul 21, 2004 / Aug 29, 2005

Object ID: 161590

Hits: 5407 

Page Score: 73.26%  - 4 Votes 

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Starting at the 4wd parking at 10,600-ft, hike .6 mile on the Lake Ann Trail to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Boundary. Hike another .6 miles to the Hamilton town site, I don’t remember seeing any old cabins here so I’m assuming this is just the site or place that at one time was a bustling, tiny mining town.

OK this is where Roach’s centennial book is way off in my opinion. His book says to cross to the west side of the South Fork of Clear Creek on the Lake Ann Trail, then leave the Lake Ann Trail and turn left onto the Three Apostles Trail. This beta is incorrect.

The following description is correct and easy to follow, complete with GPS coordinates for the hidden Apostle Basin Trail turnoff, it is not signed.

From the Hamilton town site, continue on the trail until you quickly reach the well-signed Apostle Basin/Lake Ann trail junction. Take the Apostle Basin Trail and start to count your steps, at 100 steps look sharp for a spur trail that branches off to the right. If your looking for it after 100 steps you will find it, we found easily before the sunrise. In case you want to use a GPS-here is a set waypoint for this turn-off.

Lat 38.94083
Long -106.45657
Elevation 10838

Once on the unsigned Three Apostles Trail, drop down a bit and follow this trail for about 150 yards as it eventually descends down to a creek where you will find a huge log to cross the creek. After crossing, follow the well-trodden path one mile up to Three Apostle Basin, where the trail deposits you into an open, willow-infested basin, mostly above tree line. From here hike east (left) on the fading trail about 25-30 yards and drop down to the creek and cross the creek on another convenient log. Once you cross this log the trail will disappear. From here it is up to you where you go, but the best route avoids the willow filled lower basin and ascends the grassy, tree-covered slopes to the east (left-refer to my topo map). Ascend this basin, generally staying on the far left, staying high and as close to North Apostles nasty northwest ridge. At about 12,600 ft, hike southwest into the center of the steep slope that ascends to the North Apostle and Ice Mountain saddle. Ascend this heinous, talus-laden slope to 13,460-ft saddle.

Route Description

From the saddle, start you ascent of Ice’s northeast ridge. Stay on or near the ridge crest, following the path of least resistance (loose-class 3.) At about 13,840-ft, the ridge makes a sudden jump up which will keep you from staying on the crest. From here traverse the difficulties on the right and make your way to the crux gully (loose-class 3.) You will know when you get to the crux gully, its obvious.

OK… one more time, Roach notes in his thirteener book to ascend the right side of the gully to a tiny notch, back onto the crest of the northeast ridge. He calls this class 3. When you look up the gully, your eyes will say that this is the obvious route back to the ridge crest. Well, this route does work, but it is loose, exposed class 4.

The easier route (class 3 with one or two easy class 4 moves) is not easy to locate but it is on the left side of the upper gully. We located this route on the descent after ascending the right, exposed, side of the gully. Make sure you are at the highest point in the gully before you have to make a decision to climb the right or the left, look sharp left for a 6 ft ledge to ascend on the left (class 4). Afterwards, follow the steep rock back up to the crest of the northeast ridge. From the ridge crest it is class 2+ for about 100 yards to the summit.

Essential Gear

Helmet!!! and trekking poles will help with all of the loose talus on the approach to the saddle.

Additions and Corrections

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Viewing: 1-3 of 3    
johnmcysRoute Comment


Hasn't voted

Kane states in the Approach section of his Ice Mt, NE Ridge route description that he does not remember seeing any cabins at Hamilton and assumes it is the site or place where a once booming mining town stood. On my last trip there in July, 1999, the foundation of an old cabin was visible across the creek at the site. I will post photo of it to the peak description.

Posted Nov 1, 2004 9:28 pm
metal4lyfSpur trail


Hasn't voted

I've hiked up into Apostle Basin once in winter and once in summer (yesterday) and was extremely confused both times by the route description. I don't think there is a spur trail, and I don't believe it's necessary to turn off the Apostle Basin trail. Following the Apostle Basin trail will take you along the route described.
Posted Jul 17, 2011 2:16 am


Hasn't voted

Awe Yes....Almost a decade ago there was always a lot of confusion about this approach, and there still seems to be questions. I remember when I wrote up my description thinking there are going to be mountains out there that logistically will always challenge. With Ice, I'm not sure it's a bad thing that people get confused with the approach. I'm guessing the confusing approach has kept a lot inexperienced hikers away from the peak. Those that really want Ice will have to work for it..like you and me. Anyways, here is a link to my submitted topo from back then. Does this map look pretty good to you bases on your experience?
Posted Jul 17, 2011 1:06 pm

Viewing: 1-3 of 3    


Mid-July photo of the lone...