East face of Peak 13042 ft, note the band of cliffs above Putnam Basin.
Name: This peak has no official name. Rank: Peak 13042 ft is Colorado’s 612th highest ranked peak. Prominence: 942 ft.
Peak 13042 ft rises to the west of the town of Silverton in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The eastern slopes of Peak 13042 ft are steep/wall-like and drop down into Putnam Basin. The western slopes, above 12000 ft, are in contrast quite gentle and are covered by beautiful grass all the way up to the summit. A band of cliffs tens of miles long traverses the slopes of many of the mountains in the area at an elevation of 11800-12000 ft creating a serious obstacle to the hiker. Occasional breaks in these cliffs, however, do provide walk-up access to the summits of the peaks. One such break happens to the southwest of Peak 13042 ft above Colorado Trail. You could start at Little Molas Lake Trailhead off of Route 550 and follow Colorado trail until you see the break. You can then leave the trail and find your own way to the summit of Peak 13042 ft.
Southeast face, L to R: Peak 13042 ft, Peak 12764 ft & Point 12613 ft.
Directions to Little Molas Lake Trailhead (not to be confused with Molas Lake Trailhead):
From Silverton, drive 7 miles south on Route 550 to the well signed Little Molas Lake Campground/Trailhead on the west side of the road. Turn west and drive the well graded dirt road about a mile past the camp site to the end of the road at the trailhead.
Route, from Little Molas Lake
All distances are per my GPS
Net elevation gain is 2150 ft. Due to the many ups and downs on the trail, my GPS recorded a total ascent of 3075 ft, 12.4 miles roundtrip.
Little Molas Lake Trailhead
At the trailhead, Peak 13042 ft will not be visible. Get on Colorado Trail and head west. The trail zigzags up through a sparse forest and soon gets on grassy slopes that are mostly without trees. You will soon have a glimpse of Little Molas Lake with the peaks of the Grenadier Range in the back.
Little Molas Lake & The Grenadier Range
You will then find the trail on the crest of a very broad and gently sloped ridgeline going uphill.
Rolling Mountain & Peak 12569 ft
North Twilight Peak
After 3.2 miles, you will reach a wide saddle between Peak 12764 ft to the west and Peak 12849 ft to the east. Bear Mountain comes to view to the north.
Continue on the trail on the south side of Peak 12764 ft.
The Grenadier Range
On Colorado Trail
Peak 12764 ft
Peak 12569 ft
Twilight Peaks & Potato Hill
Peak 12569 ft & Point 12766 ft
The trail does a number of small ups and downs as it heads northwest. You will note a continuous band of cliffs above you on the southern slopes of Peak 12764 ft. At some point at around 11500 ft, the trail begins to go downhill more steeply making a bend to head southwest on the slopes of Point 12601 ft. You will find a break in the cliffs above you.
Break in the cliffs
Leave trail and head up the grassy slopes through the opening in the cliffs. A faint trail actually takes you there but where it branches off of Colorado trail is hard to find.
Cliffs below Peak 12601 ft
Twilight Peaks & Potato Hill
Once you go through the opening in the cliffs, you will find yourself at a 12100 ft saddle where you seem to be on a high grassy plateau surrounded by cliffs below.
The Vermilion Group
Hike northeast up the beautiful grassy slopes of Peak 13042 ft.