East Ridge via Music Pass

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 3

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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East Ridge via Music Pass
Created On: Jul 8, 2005
Last Edited On: Mar 24, 2009

Getting there

Please refer to the Music Pass Trailhead page for driving directions.

Route Description

Music MountainMusic Mountain

RT Distance: 10.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 4100'

From the Music Pass Trailhead, hike the good trail up 7-800' to Music Pass, and then descend 400' to the Sand Creek Valley. Please note that both the Crestone Peak quad and the Trails Illustrated map #138 show the trail leading to Lower Sand Creek Lake in the wrong place. I've done my best to approximate the trail in this image, but there are a number more switchbacks than I've shown. The key is to realize that the trail to the lower lake will split off from the Sand Creek Trail much earlier than either of those maps would have you believe. By being prepared for this and checking the good signage in the valley, you won't have any trouble locating the proper trail.

Once you've reached Lower Sand Creek Lake, enjoy the nice view of Tijeras and Music, and then start a brief bushwhack northwest toward Music's east ridge. You shouldn't have a problem with this, but be aware that there are slabs and cliff bands on the east end of Music's east ridge (illustrated by some tight contours on the quad), so you'll want to stay to the west of those. Once you make treeline, continue the steep grunt all the way to the ridge crest. It is possible to reach this point on steeper terrain (the difficulty can be kept at Class 2) from Upper Sand Creek Lake, as well, but I haven't climbed this way personally.

The east ridge is gentle at first, and you'll enjoy some nice views of Music's twin faces. As you get nearer Music, the ridge gets rocky and begins to steepen. You'll face some third-class scrambling before you reach a notch in the ridge. Downclimb to the notch and then begin the steepest section of the ridge. (As an alternative you can traverse below this initial section of scrambling and climb the gully in this picture to regain the crest at the aforementioned notch). The scrambling here is enjoyable, and you shouldn't have any trouble finding a good line. Once you make the summit ridge, you still have some fun left because Music's true summit is the northernmost of three highpoints.

The traverse from the southern to the middle is straightforward with no real scrambling to speak of unless you're looking for it. But from the middle to the northern, things get interesting again. There's some good scrambling to get you started, and then the difficulty increases. We used a grassy ramp that came in handy. Next, there's a deep notch in the ridge, and we used a brief downclimb onto the west side of the ridge to get to it. From the notch, again there are more than a few options, including a climb up a crack or a couple steps across an exposed ledge. Getting above and past the notch is where I would place the crux of this route. After getting past the spot near the notch, the difficulty eases for the rest of the way to the summit. If this section near the notch is looking too difficult for you, it appeared to me that you could descend approximately 100' to get on easier but likely looser terrain. Return via your ascent route.

If you would like to bag a second peak with your day, consider Tijeras Peak. Once you've descended Music's east ridge to the grasses, you could contour south until you're under Tijeras Peak's crux cliff band. Join the standard route up that peak and you'd only add about 1200' to your day. Please refer to the Tijeras Peak page for more information.

Essential Gear

Bring a helmet and some DEET.

East Ridge via Music Pass

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