The approach is much harder than the ridge itself. From the Cyclone Creek Trailhead, you may approach Cronin Peak's southwest ridge by either of two ways. Each approach is described below
Via Cyclone Peak
From the trailhead at Shavano ghost town, hike almost 2 miles north alongside Cyclone Creek. The trail is faint and easily lost, especially as you enter the long willow thicket bordering the creek on both sides. That is where you need a trail the most, of course. The trail tends to parallel the stream about 50 yards uphill to the east. Pass a pond at 1.8 miles, and look for a break in the trees to the right a little farther up, at 11,480 ft.
Leave the trail at 11,480 ft. and hike a half mile northeast to the base of a broad, shallow gully that eventually leads to the saddle between Carbonate Peak (right) and Cyclone Peak (left). Climb this unstable, talus filled gully. From the ridge, hike northwest to Cyclone Peak's summit. Continue NNW for another mile. Turn NNE where three ridges converge, and you are now on Cronin's southwest ridge.
Via Grizzly Mountain's East Ridge
Hike up the Cyclone Creek Trail about 2.5 miles to where the creek begins. The trail is faint and easily lost, especially as you enter the long willow thicket bordering the creek on both sides. That is where you need a trail the most, of course. The trail tends to parallel the stream about 50 yards uphill to the east. Grizzly Mountain is directly in front of you.
If you choose to climb Grizzly Mountain, you may head directly up its south face - very straightforward and recommended. Descend Grizzly's east ridge crest past some spectacular couloirs and short knife edges, not to mention continuous, fabulous views of Princeton, Antero, Cyclone, and Cronin Peak.
You may cut off some mileage and elevation loss by bypassing Grizzly's summit. From the large pond at Cyclone Creek's head, continue north then northeast across the least steep terrain, to position yourself for a climb directly north to the low point of Grizzly's east ridge.
From the low point of Grizzly's east ridge, climb a steep section of ridge - easy class 3 - to the convergence of three ridges at 13,450 ft. At this point, the route to the summit of Cronin Peak is obvious.
After you reach the convergence of ridges at 13,450 ft, follow Cronin's southwest ridge another mile to the summit. It can almost be done in your sleep. I know, because I was sleep deprived when I did it. The maddening thing about this route is its four false summits. Give me a break!
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