Earn Your BeerThe North-West face of Fletcher Mountain is a nice routefinding challenge, with just enough exposure and complexity for mountaineers exploring the ropes. There is plenty of loose rock to watch for, and the lower slopes might even have a tendancy to slide in the winter (though I haven't personally seen it). This route is called "Black and Tan" due to the nature of the rock within, and... if you like to earn your beer, this climb is worth a Black and Tan. Recommended start is at dawn, leave plenty of time for this one, it has some unexpected distances and time-surprises along the way.
Getting There - DrivingThe best access to the base of this climb is from the West by going up Mayflower Gulch. From I-70, go north on Hwy 91 which is the Copper Mtn. exit. Follow Hwy 91 for several miles (10 miles?), when the valley opens up where you can see Jaque Pk. on the right, there is a parkiing lot / pull off on the left. If you spot a small reservoir on the left, you have gone about 1.5 miles too far.
Coming from Leadville? Head on Hwy 91 North toward Copper. Over Fremont Pass and about 5 miles you'll see the small res on the right, go about 1.5 miles and park in the parking lot on the right.
Getting There - from trailhead to baseHead southeast out of the parking lot along road. This is a destination spot for xc-skiing so it can be expected to be packed down low. Stay right on road(SE), an early split going left heads N. Follow road ~2miles to treeline. Fletcher will be in your face between Drift Peak and the spires that connect Fletcher to Atlantic Peak. Head through the old mining village (Boston Mine)towards the bench at the base of the face.
Photo by Brent D
Once reaching the bench head up the moderate snow just right of the steeper rocks to the North. Now you're en-route.
RouteClimb the obvious gully as it gets steeper and narrower. Eventually more vertical rock will surround the gully and some rope work may be required to gain a couple steps. About the time the climbing gets interesting and steeper, the decision to continue directly into the steeps or take a left towards the ridge will need to be made. The variation is somewhat easy to see, it is basically ascending the next gully to the north. The direct route gets into more scrambling and loose rock. Steer left to avoid vert by choosing the path of least resistance within the several ribs.
Descent is probably easiest going down the length of the variation gully. Might be scree filled in summer though.
Essential GearWinter: Ice Axe
Spring: Ice Axe and Crampons
Recommended GearHelmet, Rope, Set of Stoppers, Set of 4-5 Cams (BD .5-3), Slings, Crampons when snow is present (Nov-July), Camera.
Optional GearGuiness Draught (tall can is more packable), Harp ale, and a glass (or bottle) to combine the two.
Drink responsibly, pack it out and don't be stumblin'.
Map and Info2900' Vertical
About 3 miles one-way