|Page Type:||Trip Report|
|Lat/Lon:||38.72661°N / 104.9225°W|
|Date Climbed/Hiked:||Oct 21, 2018|
I have been peakbagging the 86 named El Paso County Summits over the year and had a good look at Mt. Vigil from both Sugarloaf and San Luis.
I've read that the summit consist of a 5.7 pitch but felt fairly confident I could just run out there and do some 4th or low 5th class scrambling to the summit (I had just seen Free Solo for the 4th time, so I was feeling way too confident). I was able to convince my youngest daughter to get off her computer and hike through the snow to join me (partly for safety reasons) and we headed out. We took the standard approach, from 371, and quickly came across an old mine.
Be sure to head right at a fork, and within about 3/4 of a mile you will be at Bear Trap Ranch. Make your way through the ranch, around any creepy paper dolls that look they are from Blair Witch ...
and to the right of the large community dining/dorm building. You will follow a ridge on the north aspect of the mountain, and as you get closer you will likely run into snow and ice. It had been so warm that we didn't even bring microspikes so we had to carefully negotiate this section.
At the saddle I headed up to the NE corner of the summit (which also happens to be the shortest approach). There is a weird 15 foot tall, 18" foot wide off-width V1-ish bouldering problem here. I situated my daughter about 50 feet lower in the sun, and headed up, jammed my back to the West face of the off-width, and started making my way up. Topping off requires a little bit of an overhung mantle move, and though I was certain I could get up safely, I was not at all certain I could get down safely (only had about 50 feet of 7MM cordage with me). I made my was back down to search for other routes.
Further West, I saw a line that looked like it might go, and I following it on 4th class terrain for about 20 feet before I ran into some legit climbing. I downclimbed and continued to head West and South, to look for more lines. The problem with Mount Vigil, is that the more you head South, the longer the pitch, as the ground begins to quickly fall away.
I found another line that went up past 2 pine trees, and I gave it a shot. The climbing was very low 5th class, but I quickly began to feel very exposed and beyond my comfort level about 60 feet up, when things got steeper (see pic below).
I decided to downclimb, and used my 7mm for protection on the upper pine tree. Once I got down to a safer spot, I was suffieciently sketched that I wanted to repeat the process and anchor to the lower pine tree. I began my downclimb from there, and eventually made my way down to safety. When I tried to retrieve the cordage, it someone became incredibly lodged behind the tree. I tried and I tried to get it down, but it just wouldn't budge. I thought about climbing back up to retrieve it, because I was fearful someone would attempt to use it for protection. Unfortunately, we had movie tickes that required us to be off the mountain quick (actually ended up being 15 minutes late), so I ended up leaving it there. Please, if you climb Mount Vigil, take the cordage down, and do not use it. If not, I will retrieve it next time I am up there.
If you look at the West Face pic taken from San Luis, it looks like there are some other options a couple of hundred feet lower and to the South on the West face. I might give that a go the next time I head out there. If it doesn't go, I will probably just stick to the bouldering problem for an ascent. Sorry to all about the cordage that was left out there. Usually I bring other peoples shit back with me, not leave my shit behind.