"Campbell Creek Peak"

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Colorado, United States, North America
County:
Hindsdale
Activities:
Hiking
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elevation:
13454 ft / 4101 m
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81.84% Score
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Created On: Dec 20, 2017
Last Edited On: Mar 8, 2018

Overview

Campbell Creek Peak
Campbell Creek Peak
East Ridge
East Ridge
"Campbell Creek Peak"
is a low 13ers located near historical town of Lake City. The Peak is surrounded by 14ers, which are a popular destination for many hikers and a number of other 13ers - the area is peak baggers paradise. "Campbell Peak" ranks among the highest 300, therefore not on everyone's list to summit.  It offers solitude and great views, especially over Sunshine Peak, Handies Peak and Redcloud (surrounding 14ers). You can also view (during the cold season) several ice climbs located on the northern flanks of Quarter Peak, including the famous Sherman Ice Climb. There are about 3-4 more ice climbs higher up the road. 

The peak offers several routes up, I chose an approach via east ridge, which is pretty aesthetic line, and you can avoid infamous San Juan scree. The trailhead is accessible in the winter. This route is per my opinion class 2+ with some exposure.

If you have time, stop by the Alfred Packer site. Alfred Packer is Colorado's famous cannibal. The site is located just about 1/4 mile past the intersection from 149 to Lake Cristobal. 
Lake City is a nice historical town with restaurants and souvenir shops. They even have Packer Saloon, but no human meat is served.

Colorado Rank: 287 (tricentennial)

Line Parent: 13795

Nearby Peaks

Getting There

From Lake City take Hwy. 149 south, 2.5 miles. Turn right on the road to Lake San Cristobal. Follow the paved road about 4 miles, then continue on dirt road for another 8.3 miles. Bear right at the fork - well signed road up Cinnamon Pass; and travel another 4.2 miles to the Silver Creek Trail if combining Campbell Creek Peak with Handies and Unnamed 13795 . Obviously, you can access this trailhead also if coming over Cinnamon Pass from the west - Silverton area. You do need a 4WD high clearance vehicle to reach this trailhead. 
For East Ridge: Do not head up towards Cinnamon Pass, but turn left to a well signed Sherman site site (just before the road starts to steeply climb up). Continue on this road for about 1 mile and park at the Cataract Gulch TH - small paring lot and toilet. The dirt road up to Cataract Gulch is in a good condition and accessible by 2 WD vehicles.
The road is open year round up to Sherman townsite (only a ghost town currently with very few buildings left), the road up towards Cinnamon Pass is closed from November (conditions dependent, could be earlier) till late May. 

Route

East Ridge: I explored this route when climbing Sherman Ice Fall, the ridge appeared aesthetic and guarded on its south side by steep cliffs. From the parking at Cataract Gulch trailhead, find the easiest path through forest towards the ridge. You will cross some dead trees, but nothing too hard. Once you gain the ridge, continue initially through forested parts of it - the ridge is wide here. I found an animal trail and follow it at places. You will find a few rock outcroppings, easy to negotiate. Continue higher up above the treeline. At some sections the ridge will be narrow and will require a few climbing moves, it gets steep, but views are spectacular. The summit is big, and is decorated with a small cairn and glass summit register. 

Traverse from Unnamed 13795: per reports requires a short section of climbing up to class 4-5, but most of the traversing is easy, the distance is about 1 mile. Watch out for the weather during the monsoon season. 

From Campbell Creek Drainage from the north: there is no trail, but this provides another route through a basin and possibly connection with 13795.

East Ridge
East Ridge

East Ridge
East Ridge

Rock outcroppings
Rock outcroppings

East ridge
East ridge
East Ridge
East Ridge
 
East Ridge
East Ridge
 

Summit Views

UN 13795 and Handies Peak
UN 13795 and Handies Peak

Half Peak
Half Peak

Sunshine Peak
Sunshine Peak and shadow of Campbell Creek Peak

Sunshine Peak
Sunshine Peak
Summit of Campbell Creek Peak
Summit of Campbell Creek Peak
 
Sherman Ice Fall
Sherman Ice Fall
 

Red Tape

Hiking "Campbell Creek Peak", parking, and even back country camping is free. The drive around San Cristobal Lake and part of the Alpine Scenic Loop is spectacular. The road is snow plowed throughout the winter all the way to the ghost town of Sherman and parking at the Cataract Gulch Trailhead. If you choose to hike the mountain from the north, popular when combined with UN 13795, expect winter closure from November to June. 

When to Climb

Summer and early autumn is the easiest since you can drive to high up on Cinnamon Pass road. Winter and spring provide a more difficult access, and you have to travel through avalanche prone terrain. Check avalanche conditions prior venturing out there in the winter - Northern San Juan Avalanche Information Center.
The alpine scenic loop is usually open to motorized vehicles in June and closes with the first big snowfall - late October, early November. 

Camping

There is a primitive camping available past Cataract Gulch TH. This TH has a dry toilet. 
If you wish to camp at an established campground, check this website

External Links