Two Summits of the La Garita Wilderness
San Luis Peak (14,014ft.) & Organ Mtn. (13,801ft.)
Climbed 6-29-2007 & 6-30-2007
Approximately 12.6 miles roundtrip, 4294ft. elevation gain
I left Denver for the Stewart Creek TH Friday (6-29-2007) at 2pm. It wasn’t until 8pm that I was departing from the TH on the solo. I was making haste in an attempt to reach tree line before it got too late. By 9pm I had a ways to go and put on my headlamp. It was relatively easy but spooky navigating under the glow of a full moon. At one point I must have startled some wildlife as I heard a monstrous crashing through the thick forest to my right. The sound of cracking branches & rustling was impressive enough to have been only something very large like a bear or moose? To my relief I’ll never know. It took me until 10:30pm to reach tree line and set up camp at 12,000ft.
When I awoke in the morning I was disappointed to discover that I had slept until 8:45am. So much for an alpine start! I quickly started down the trail leading towards San Luis Peak (photo below).
I easily gained the ridge at about 13,107ft. and previewed the easy jaunt up to my southwest. The terrain was easy and non-complicated. Many other climbers were out.
The view of Organ Mountain from near San Luis summit was enticing (photo below).
Roughly six others were atop the 14er summit and we enjoyed the views. I quickly departed for Organ Mtn as it was already 11:20am. The descent to back down to the saddle was speedy as is to be expected. Then the following incline began towards Organ.
The ridge has several ups and downs. The majority of this ridge is easy terrain.
Roughly a half mile from Organs summit and I reached the fabled cliff (photo above – taken from Organs North Ridge). There was no possible way across the cliff. The only thing to do was follow the guidebooks and descend several hundred feet to the south (right) of the ridge (photo below).
From here you are in the base of the cliff and can scamper up the other side to regain the West Ridge at 13,370ft. The scrambling isn't over until you regain the ridge crest. Things are pretty loose too (photo below).
Organ Mountains volcanic rock looks impressive from this vantage point (photo below).
To the northwest of the south facing rock organ pipes is a vaguely defined rock gully. I followed this to a direct finish on the summit of Organ. The difficulty here is nothing more than a walk up on steep, loose talus. My descent of Organs North Slopes and the three deer I saw at 12,500ft. on the way down made for a fine finish.
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