San Juan Range Overview
The San Juan Range
is the largest mountain range in Colorado. The San Juans are home to 342 peaks above thirteen thousand feet (1).
"Quarter Peak" from Half Peak
"Quarter Peak" Overview
"Quarter Peak” is located 1.2
miles north-northeast of the centennial thirteener, Half Peak
. “Quarter” has also been nicknamed “Square Peak” because of its proximity to Square Gulch. “Quarter Peak” is the most widely accepted name and is perhaps the most appropriate because it resembles Half Peak from the east, but is about half the size.
Half Peak & Quarter Peak, from left to right, from the east. Photo: RyanS
However, “Quarter” is not half the height. “Quarter Peak” stands tall at 13764 feet: 161st
highest in Colorado and 202nd highest in the contiguous United States. The map suggests that the south ridge is an easy climb. Nevertheless, the south ridge contains many spires that make climbing the south ridge impractical. There are two established routes up “Quarter Peak”. The most documented route approaches via Cataract Gulch from the east (2). The climbing is rated third class and accessing the Cataract Gulch Trailhead does not require a four-wheel drive vehicle. The least documented route approaches via Square Gulch from the west. The climbing is rated class 2+ and accessing the Square Gulch Trailhead requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Perhaps the best way to explore “Quarter Peak” is to climb the west face via Square Gulch and descend the east face. The west face route is described below because it is not described in any printed text.
Half Peak from "Quarter Peak"
Drive 2.2 miles south on CO 149 from the bridge that crosses Henson Creek in downtown Lake City, CO. Turn right onto Lake San Cristobal Road. Turn left onto Sherman Road (CR 35) at mile 14.3. At mile 18.0, cross Boulder Creek and reach the Square Gulch Trailhead at mile 18.2. The unsigned trailhead is west of Square Gulch and has a parking area on the left (south) side of the road. There is an abandoned truck with many bullet holes on the south side of the parking area.
Quarter Peak's West Face Route
Cross Cottonwood Creek on a downed tree directly behind the abandoned truck. Cross to Square Gulch's east side at your earliest convenience. Find a thin trail marked by intermittent cairns leading up Square Gulch's east side. At about 12,000 feet head east up Quarter Peak's west face. The climbing should not exceed class 2+.
Camp at the trailhead.
1. San Juan Range Peak List
2. Colorado's High Thirteeners: A Climbing & Hiking Guide