Peaks named for the tusks and teeth of animals usually match their descriptions well, and this Sharkstooth Peak, one of two in Colorado alone, is no exception. From any angle, the peak appears as a lone, fang-like pinnacle. Once sighted, it acts like a magnet, drawing the avid mountaineer to climb it and commune with the alpine wilderness surrounding it.
Sharkstooth Peak is in the La Plata Mountains, part of the San Juans, and is a prominent landmark although it is not nearly the highest peak in the area. Despite its distinctive shape, its "low" height (for Colorado, that is-- it would be considered a very high peak indeed in almost any other U.S. state) makes it easy to dismiss in Colorado. That is a mistake because this is a beautiful peak in a beautiful area that offers an easy approach, a fun but moderately challenging climb, and solitude that is hard to find atop Colorado's more famous summits. In short, you get San Juan conditions and San Juan views but without the San Juan crowds (and human impact) found on the 14ers, a few of the better-known 13ers, and on the popular trails.
I originally posted a page for this peak back in 2005, before the introduction of SPv2. This was only my second page ever, and it did not measure up to the standards I would apply to a page I would make now. It was easier to create a new page than make extensive revisions to the old one, but I have preserved the original Climber's Log entries from people other than me below.
Five Peak Day! Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 23, 2008
Climbed this after Hesperus, Lavender, Moss & Centennial. A quick scramble from Sharkstooth Pass up terribly loose talus.
Posted Aug 25, 2008 12:25 pm
rockslide heaven Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 18, 2004
THis was a double peak day. After climbing centennial mountain we just decided to huff it up this one. Took about 20min to get to top in a fast scramble. Falling rock with every step. be wary of who is above and below at ALL TIMES
Posted Mar 23, 2007 2:13 am
Views of the Mountain
Views from the Mountain
From the western end of the small town of Mancos, follow CR 42 north until it enters the national forest and becomes FR 561. After the Aspen Guard Station, go right on FR 350. Keep right at subsequent junctions (there are two of them) until you reach the signed Sharkstooth Trailhead about 19 miles from Mancos. There is good signage from Mancos. Hesperus Mountain looms above you to the right; it is brilliant at sunset. There are no real campsites at road's end, and there may be sheep around, so sleep in your SUV or arrive early. The trailhead is at 10,900'. The last mile is rough but will usually be passable to passenger cars. You might need 4WD early in the season or after a good rain.
An alternate approach is to take the 4WD road up La Plata Canyon to Kennebec Pass and use the Highline Trail. This approach is much longer but does traverse the La Platas and could make a great point-to-point trip if you have two cars.
None as of August 2005. You may have to share the area with sheep.
When To Climb
June-September. Earlier or later is pushing it with road conditions. The trailhead will be inaccessible to cars during winter and is too far from town for most sane people to try on skis or snowshoes.
Most of the trailside terrain is too steep for camping. There is one campground along the way, and dispersed camping in the national forest is available. It takes about an hour to get to the trailhead from Mancos, so I recommend sleeping in the car at the trailhead and getting an early start since this area of Colorado is notorious for powerful summer storms that often start before noon.
Mountain Conditions and More Information
Check with rangers for the San Juan National Forest
. Phone # 970-247-4874.