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Peak 13132 ft (Bear Creek, Ouray)
Mountain/Rock

Peak 13132 ft (Bear Creek, Ouray)

 
Peak 13132 ft (Bear Creek, Ouray)

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: North America

Lat/Lon: 37.99310°N / 107.59815°W

Object Title: Peak 13132 ft (Bear Creek, Ouray)

County: Ouray

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Elevation: 13132 ft / 4003 m

 

Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Jul 27, 2013 / Jan 23, 2014

Object ID: 858418

Hits: 872 

Page Score: 82.48%  - 15 Votes 

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Overview


North face of Peak 13132 ft



Name: This peak is officially unnamed.
Rank:: Peak 13132 ft is Colorado’s 543rd highest ranked peak.
For more information about Bear Creek Trail, see this Summitpost Page.


Peak 13132 ft rises at the eastern end of Bear Creek Canyon in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado near the town of Ouray. Bear Creek Canyon is a spectacular gorge with sheer walls that rise hundreds of feet above Bear Creek. In the late 1800s, gold and silver were discovered in the upper portions of Bear Creek Canyon. In order to access the mines, a trail was carved into the walls of the canyon. This trail has now turned into a popular hike that takes you from Route 550 to the remains of Grizzly Bear and Yellow Jacket Mines giving you fantastic views of the canyon. To reach Peak 13132 ft, you must leave the trail at Yellow Jacket Mine and hike up another 2000 vertical feet. This creates a strenuous but scenic 12.7 mile roundtrip hike with more than 4600 ft of vertical.

A much easier way to reach Peak 13132 ft is to drive the Engineer Pass Jeep Road to the 12800 ft Engineer Pass. You can then hike to the top of the 13260 ft Darley Mountain, or bypass it over the 12600 ft high American Flats Plateau, to reach the base of the eastern ridgeline of Peak 13132 ft. Such an approach will obviously require much four wheel driving and much less hiking.




West face of Peak 13132 ft from Bear Creek Trail between Grizzly Bear & Yellow Jacket Mines


Getting There

Directions to Bear Creek Trailhead:
From the south end of Ouray, drive 2 miles south on Route 550 and go through the small tunnel. Immediately on the south side of the tunnel you will see a parking area and sign for Bear Creek Trail.

Route, via Bear Creek Trail

Map
Map



All distances are per my GPS. The sign at the trailhead says 2.4 miles to Grizzly Bear Mine and 4.2 miles to Yellow Jacket Mine.


Place
Elevation
Distance
Bear Creek Trailhead
8500 ft
zero miles
Grizzly Bear Mine
9900 ft
2.25 miles
Yellow Jacket Mine
11100 ft
2.00 miles
Summit
13132 ft
2.10 miles
Total
-
6.35 miles


At the parking area, go to the west side of Route 550 at the southern entrance of the tunnel and find the Bear Creek Trail. The trail takes you right over the top of the tunnel. Abrams Mountain will be well visible to the south.

Abrams Mountain
Abrams Mountain from the top of the tunnel


The trail goes into a forest and makes many switchbacks going up a steep slope. Whitehouse Mountain and Mount Ridgeway will at times come to view.

Ridgeway & Whitehouse Mountains
Whitehouse & Ridgeway Mountains


As you go higher, trees go away and the trail can be seen as a pathway carved into the steep rocky slope.

Trail carved into steep rocky slopes
Trail


At some of the switchbacks, you can look north to see the town of Ouray and parts of Route 550. You may feel like a rock climber far up a wall.

Town of Ouray & Route 550
Town of Ouray & Route 550


The Red Mountains can be seen to the south.

The Red Mountains
The Red Mountains


Another view of Route 550.

Route 550 at the bottom
Route 550 far below


After 1.1 miles and 1000 vertical feet up, the trail turns east and enters Bear Creek Canyon far above the bottom of the canyon. For the next half mile or so, the trail appears as a pathway dug into the walls of the canyon. This is the most dramatic looking part of the hike.

Trail carved into the wall of canyon
Trail carved into the wall of the canyon

Bear Creek Canyon
Bear Creek Canyon

Bear Creek Canyon
Bear Creek Canyon

Bear Creek Canyon
Bear Creek Canyon

Bear Creek Canyon
Bear Creek Canyon


As you keep going, the bottom of the canyon begins to rise getting closer to the trail. A forest of Aspen Trees appears. You will then reach the remains of Grizzly Bear Mine.

Reamains of Grizzly Bear Mine
Remains of Grizzly Bear Mine


The 2 miles between Grizzly and Yellow Jacket Mines consist mostly of an Aspen forest. The trail stays near the bottom of the valley.

Bear Creek Trail
 

Bear Creek Trail
 

Bear Creek Trail
 

Bear Creek Trail
 


Peak 13132 ft finally comes to view to the east but as you keep going, it goes out of view again.

West face of Peak 13132 ft
First view of Peak 13132 ft, west face


To the west the jagged summit of Mt. Sneffels and its entourage appear.

Mt. Sneffels
Mt. Sneffels


You will then reach the remains of Yellow Jacket Mine. If you continue on the trail a short distance toward Engineer Pass, you will see this pretty waterfall.

Remains of Yellow Jacket Mine
Remains of Yellow Jacket Mine

Near Yellow Jacket Mine
Near Yellow Jacket Mine


A sign at Yellow Jacket Mine may point to Horsethief Trail & Engineer Pass Trail in the same direction. The USGS Map shows a trail that goes up the slope above Yellow Jacket Mine to enter the valley to the north of Peak 13132 ft. This trail probably branches off of the Engineer Pass Trail a short distance beyond Yellow Jacket Mine (and not directly above the mine). I decided to leave trail at Yellow Jacket Mine and went directly up a steep grassy slope to the east/northeast of the mine. Soon Peak 13132 ft and this rocky point came to view.

Peak 13132 ft, NW face
Peak 13132 ft

Rocky Point
Rocky Point


More views of the Mt. Sneffels group to the west.

Mt. Sneffels
Mt. Sneffels/Potosi Peak


I was now in the grassy valley to the north of Peak 13132 ft. A trail appeared. I suspected that this trail separated from Engineer Pass Trail a short distance beyond Yellow jacket Mine.

The valley to the north of Peak 13132 ft
Valley

Valley to the north of Peak 13132 ft
Valley

Valley to the north of Peak 13132 ft
Valley


As the north face of Peak 13132 ft came into full view, it appeared that its western ridgeline might be easier to climb than the eastern ridgeline. Grassy slopes, however, went much farther up on the approach to the eastern ridgeline so I decided to go up the grassy valley to reach the base of the eastern ridgeline of Peak 13132 ft.

N/NW face of Peak 13132 ft
North/northwest face of Peak 13132 ft

North Face of Peak 13132 ft
North face of Peak 13132 ft


Near the base of the ridgeline, it did not look promising.

Below the eastern ridgeline of Peak 13132 ft
Base of the eastern ridgeline


At 12700 ft, I reached a saddle at the base of the eastern ridgeline. Great view of Darley Mountain appeared to the south.

Darley Mountain
Darley Mountain


The hike up the ridgeline turned out to be not bad at all. Some scrambling needed among the rocks.

The eastern ridgeline of Peak 13132 ft
Eastern ridgeline

Climbing the eastern ridgeline of Peak 13132 ft
Climbing the eastern ridgeline

Climbing the eastern ridgeline of Peak 13132 ft
Climbing the eastern ridgeline


Views from the summit of Peak 13132 ft:

Bear Creek Canyon & Mt. Sneffels
Mt. Sneffels & Bear Creek Canyon

Uncompahgre
Uncompahgre & Wildhorse Peaks

Looking SW
Looking SW, Red Mountains

Looking SE
Looking SE

Darley Mountain
Darley Mountain

American Flats Plateau
American Flats Plateau






Red Tape

No fees or permits for day hikes.

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