Northwest Face

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
A long day
30-ft of class 4 and 12-ft of class 5

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Northwest Face
Created On: Nov 9, 2004
Last Edited On: Nov 14, 2004


Round Trip-15.5 miles and 4,000-ft

Starting at the Twin Eagle TH (8,540-ft.), cross Tarryall Creek on a good bridge and hike .03 mile to the Brookside-McCurdy Trail. Your view of McCurdy Mountain here is inspiring. Go left at the register sign-in and follow the trail past some private property at the base of the McCurdy Massif. After 1.4 miles you will intersect the Hankins Pass Trail junction at 8,900 ft.

Continue 1 mile to the Lost Creek Wilderness Boundary at 9,500-ft. Continue another 1.2 mile as the trail switchbacks up a major drainage that separates the McCurdy Massif from the Tarryall Massif. At 10,740-ft you will come to a pass. From the pass, stay on the trail and descend 200-ft down to a beautiful meadow. From the meadow you finally get your first glimpse of the towering rock formations of McCurdy Park. Stay on the right side of the meadow for .03 mile until the trail crosses the meadow and ascends a few switchbacks up to another pass at 11,000-ft.

Next, locate the huge meadow to the left; it's more like a bog, it's always saturated with standing water. Do not attempt to save time by crossing the meadows in McCurdy Park, you will sink to your knees in mud, plus you won't be doing the environment any good. Hike .75 mile west then north, staying on the fringe or edge of the meadow for .75 mile.

Once at the end of this meadow, ascend slightly and stay to the right and do a traverse through downfall and trees, staying high above another much smaller meadow down below. Again, resist temptation to drop down during this stretch to any meadows below, stay high here so you don't have to ascend back up to the next few passes. Also, the bushwhack in this section can be very difficult and you still cannot see 11,180.

After 1.5 miles of traversing the steep east slopes of McCurdy Mountain, you will finally come to another pass, just west of Point 11,056-ft. Here is where you get your first view of the complex 11,180. Descend an easy slope through the trees until you get to another meadow at the base of 11,180's south face.

Route Description

You will notice sort of a vertical amphitheater that protects the summit ramparts. Ascend up into this amphitheater and stay left and head for a notch that will allow you to cross over the west ridge and onto the northwest face. Hike up steep tree-covered terrain up to a hanging garden that separates the lower north summit from the higher south summits. From the hanging garden, locate the summit block on your right and pick your way up steep boulders via inset cracks (class 3 and 4) until you reach an exposed platform about 12-ft from the summit area.

From the platform, locating the correct chimney is nescessary to keep the difficulty of the next 10-12 feet at easy, exposed class 5. Locate a deep inset chimney on the right and climb the chimney to the summit ramparts. This chimney is easier to climb than to descend. The highpoint of the summit area is on the right, there is a summit registry.

Essential Gear

  • Topo Map

  • Compass

  • GPS

  • Northwest Face

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