Grizzly, UN 13140 and Jenkins
Grizzly Peak E is a low 13er (= mountain over 13,000 feet high) located in the Sawatch Range. It combines really nicely with 2 other nearby ranked 13ers: Unnamed 13140 and Jenkins Mountain, and possibly even more peaks if you have enough energy and a good weather.
Why Grizzly Peak E?
Colorado has several peaks named Grizzly (although the grizzly bears do not roam here anymore. Per reports the last grizzly was killed in 1950s, then there was some news about a grizzly attack in 1979, and some people believe that grizzlys still show up here and there up to these times).
List of Grizzly peaks in Colorado:
Grizzly Peak A 13,988 feet, also in Sawatch Range and the highest one (nearly a 14er!)
Grizzly Peak B 13,738 feet, San Juan Mountains
Grizzly Peak C - 13,700 feet, the most difficult one to reach deep in the Weminuche of San Juan Mountain
Grizzly Peak D 13,427 feet - probably the most popular and the easiest one, accessible from Loveland Pass
Grizzly Peak E - this post dedicated to this one
And there is a Grizzly Mountain to add to the confusion - 13,708 feet in the Sawatch Range.
: Line Parent Unnamed 13295
Proximate Parent Jenkins Mountain
From US highway 50 in the center of Gunnison head north towards Crested Butte - CO-135, after 10 miles (Almont) turn onto CO rd 742 towards Taylor Reservoir, continue for almost 30 miles. The road winds around the reservoir and changes into a good dirt road. Then turn onto CR 742.8 and follow this for 4 miles to Pieplant ghost town site. There is a sign for Pieplant.
The road is dirt, little rocky at places and towards the end (the last 1/2 miles) can have some pot holes and mud holes especially after rains. Higher clearance vehicle may be needed. I had no problems with Subaru, leaving my high clearance 4 WD vehicle at home.
The drive from Gunnison is not that long in a distance, but it does take some time - curvy road and dirt road toward the end. Expect about 1 hr 20 min travel time from Gunnison to Pieplant.
You can also reach Pieplant from the east if coming over Cottonwood Pass from Buena Vista area.
Taylor Pak Reservoir
As any mountain, there are many ways to get up it.
I started hiking from Pieplant ghost town on Timberline trail # 414 towards Grizzly. The trail is nice and easy to follow, but it was hard to estimate where to leave it since it went through a deep forest. I left it once it started to go down hill (after about 3/4 hr of hiking). Soon, I got above the tree line and was able to ascend southern slopes of Grizzly. The views of Taylor reservoir were spectacular. The going was not bad, initially on grass with wildflowers, later on a relatively stable talus. The summit was decorated with a small cairn. There was no summit register, only a broken plastic jar without a top. I had no registers with me, so I added a plastic bag inside the broken jar and wrote my name on a cover of a chocolate.
I descended the NE facing ridge towards UN 13140. I think for those, who want to bag also this summit, that it would be easier to avoid the ridge and drop down into the basin and ascend the south ridge of UN 13140. The ridge between Grizzly E and UN 13140 took a while and was loose with many small towers. It did require some class 3 moves.
There is no red tape. Driving, parking, primitive camping and hiking are free. Expect solitude on this one.
When to Climb
Summer is obviously easiest one, spring and winter can provide a longer approach since the last 4 miles of the road are not maintained.
Always check avalanche conditions if traveling during winter time.
There is plenty of primitive camping available with build up stone fire areas. There are not toilet facilities. If you wish to camp at a developed campground, stop at the Taylor reservoir - several camping areas.
External LinksGrizzly Peak E on 13ers.com