The Northeast Face of Grizzly Mountain contains some rather steep slopes. Most of the face is strewn with cliffs or rock bands. In fact, just north of the true summit is a 500' sheer face. There is, however, a break in one place to allow easy passage. These class 2 grass and talus slopes provide a great route for Grizzly by itself, or even better, for combining with neighboring Cronin Peak
or Unnamed PT 13646.
7 1/4 miles Round Trip
From 10,840' at the Baldwin Lake- Mt Antero road split
Turn west onto Chaffee Cty 162 from US 285 near Nathrop. Follow the initially paved road for about 12 miles to the signed Baldwin Gulch Jeep Road. From Cty 162 either walk or drive up the Baldwin Gulch Jeep Road to the Baldwin Lake/Mt Antero road split at a creek crossing at 10,840'. This point is roughly 3 miles and 1400' from Cty 162. Add this distance and vertical gain to the totals above if starting at the base of the road.
Hike for approximately 2 1/4 miles up the Baldwin Lake road to a small parking area on the left right before a mining road switches up to your right. There is a "Closed to Motor Vehicles" sign here where an old road now serves as a hiking trail. Follow this trail 1/4 miles to 12,047' Baldwin Lake.
You now will have to cross the creek and contour around the south shores of the lake. The best place to cross is just below the outlet at a break in the willows. There are good rocks here, but early season they may be buried in high water.
Continue to follow gentle grassy slopes through surprisingly low willows (only knee high or lower) to a bench above the lake. The northeast slopes
on Grizzly now become more defined, climb them!
At about 13,000' the grass fizzles out and its all dirt and talus above. Some of this can be a little loose, just take it slow and its not too bad. Head directly to the ridge crest above. If there is still a cornice, which holds well into July, you can contour below it to the left towards the summit to gain the ridge. Scamper 100 feet to your left (south) and the true summit.
Nothing special when dry, there is a cornice that holds into July and this face may provide a decent snow climb early in the season. For that an ice axe and crampons may be useful.
This route can be used as an exit route when ascending the North Ridge
route on Cronin Peak. From the summit of Cronin follow the East Ridge
route to the summit of Grizzly and descend these slopes back to Baldwin Lake.
You can also use this route as the start of a combination with Unnamed PT 13646. This traverse is approximately 1.7 miles and including a few false summits along the way totals about 875' of vertical gain. The most exciting part of the traverse is the "catwalk" along the north ridge of Grizzly Mountain. The dramatic exposure
to your right (east) gives you quite an airy feeling! The ridge is easy class 2 despite the air under your feet. Descend to the low point at 13,100' and up over unranked PT 13405 on gentle talus. From here climb the south ridge on PT 13646 to its summit. There is one short section that is a bit of a knife edge that can be bypassed below on the right. 1 or 2 class 3 moves may be required on the knife edge, but there are plenty of holds and it can be walked upright without much difficulty.
See below for annotate route map, including traverse to UN 13646