Greenhalgh Mountain as seen from the slopes of Sheep Mountain AGreenhalgh Mountain
is a low 13er located in the San Juan Mountain Range. It is easily accessible from 4WD road 520 - Rio Grande Road, just on the east side of Stony Pass. (This is a rough 4 WD road open from June to October). The mountain combines well with another ranked 13er - Sheep Mountain A
. Both peaks are remote and not often hiked, expect peaceful solitude and great views an all directions.
Guide to the Colorado Mountains
edited by Randy Jacobs with Robert M. Ormes
briefly mentions that for Sheep Mountain and for Greenhalgh Mountain descend one mile east down from the Stony Pass. Ascend easy west slopes of Sheep Mountain, and then cross Sheep Mountain towards Greenhalgh. There are not many descriptions of this hikes on the internet, but it is not really needed. Both peaks are easily identified and route finding is obvious.
The road to 12,588 foot Stony Pass provides access to the "Bend" area of the Continental Divide. If one checks the map of the Continental Divide Trail, it does make a big nearly U or V shape towards the west and then returns back. Canby Mountain sits right on the Continental Divide.
Colorado Rank: 463
Parent Lineage: Sheep Mountain
Wildflowers - Stony Pass
Stony Pass Peak and Continental Divide and Colorado TrailStony Pass
is accessible from Silverton
(shorter and much easier) and from Creede
/Rio Grande reservoir (a really long road in a very bad shape as of 9/2015). I drove the road in both directions and was amazed in what condition we found it heading towards Creede (tough sections start way pass the turn off for Beartown). Lots of water damage, huge potholes (more than 40 cm deep) - I would not take my car again all the way to Creede this way. The road from Silverton however is nice, only narrow at places making passing vehicles in the opposite direction difficult.
High clearance 4WD vehicle is necessary.
From Silverton drive north east past the courthouse and veer right onto County Road 2. On some maps this road is marked as #110. Pavement ends after a couple of miles. Around 4.2 miles you reach Howardsville (mostly some mining buildings). Turn here onto FS Road 589 - it is signed for Stony Pass/Cunningham Gulch. Shortly you come to an intersection - one to the left is signed for Old Mine Tour, the other one close to the creek continues straight. It does not matter which one you choose, both reconnect after 1-2 miles, and neither is technically challenging. There is more traffic on the Old Mine Tour fork of the road. Soon, you have to leave Cunningham Gulch and start your climb up the Stony Pass - FS 737. It is again marked and hard to miss. The road will begin to degrade some and high clearance 4WD is needed here. The road is steep at some sections and exposed and at other sections making passing other vehicles difficult. Mid July to August there are amazing wildflowers.
Stony Pass is a popular destination with ATVs and other off road vehicles. You are standing at 12,590 feet without any physical work!
A small parking spot for hiking Green Mountain A/Greenhalgh Mountain is located on the north side of the road, about 1 mile east from the summit of Stony Pass. It is unsigned. There is a little campfire (no woods nearby - you need to bring your wood if planning a fire) at the parking lot and it is a good spot to spend a night if needed.
Continental Divide Trail and Colorado Trail are located just above this unsigned parking area - about a couple hundred meters higher.
Saddle between Sheep and Greenhalgh Mountains
Greenhalgh Mountain as seem from Sheep Mountain AGreenhalgh Mountain
is easily accessible either via Sheep Mountain A, or from the saddle between Sheep and Greenhaulgh Mountains.
Approach via Sheep Mountain makes a perfect sense. Ascend gentle west slopes of Sheep Mountain and then continue along a narrow and exposed Sheep's Mountains ridge. Descend the loose scree on the east side of Sheep Mountain to the saddle between Sheep and Greenhalgh Mountain. There are a few cairns in the saddle, but not really an established trail. I found the loose east slopes scree on Sheep Mountain the most unpleasant part of the hike. I caused a few rock avalanches while descending.
Ascend gentle and stable talus on west slopes of Greenhalgh Mountain - about midway up is a huge well engineered cairn. Continue up on an easy terrain, stable talus, class 2 until you reach another large summit. Both Sheep Mountain A subsumit and Greenhalgh Mountain's summit are huge, one can wander on the top trying to figure out the actual highest point. There was a little shelter and a few small cairns. I did not find summit register here.
Per reports eastern slopes are loose, I did not attempt that route, needed to return west towards my car.
Descend back to Greenhalgh Mountain - Sheep Mountain A saddle and find the easiest way down south. There appeared to be a faint trail used mostly by elk. I continued along the southern slopes of Sheep mountain towards west. This seemed much easier than going all the way to the road and then ascending up. I found a little trail leading by a remains of some shelter. The trail eventually took me all the way back to the parking lot. The views were spectacular.