Cleveland Pk (13414')
"Dead Man Pk" (13050')
Oct 16, 2010
15.5 miles RT, 6900' gain
Participants: Dominic, Sarah, & Kevin
Sangre de Cristo Range
From Music Pass TH (10560')
Scrambling sans snow in the high country is coming to an end and this hike has been on the agenda for awhile. We figured we better get down there and squeeze this in before it's too late. The Cleveland Group is a long day as the best way to climb them is up and over Music Pass since there are access issues on the west side. The good thing is you start high at 10560', but you lose about 500' on the other side of the pass that you have to slog back up on the way out! This would be my third and last time to do this.
Up and Down and Up and Down
We set out in the dark at around 5:40am to knock out hiking in the dark at the beginning of the day. We make great time over Music Pass and caught the well graded trail to Lower Sand Creek Lake. Dominic says he's not feeling well, but he sets a quick pace and I can't keep up! We catch some nice view of Tijeras south face above the lake as the trails ends here.
We head south then s.w. from the lake to reach the hidden gully that provides easy access to these peaks. Cliff walls all around dominate the scenery and our hidden gully soon comes into view after some talus hopping and steep grass.
The hidden gully is just behind the shaded cliffs:
The grunt up to the ridge isn't bad with some snow here and there and scree down low. We take advantage of patches of grass and are soon on the ridge. We traverse underneath Pt 13495 at the 13200 foot level and are soon at the saddle to 13401. The north ridge of 13401 affords some nice, solid scrambling and we stay at or near the crest of the ridge.
We take decent breaks at all 4 summits as the many ups and downs eventually take their toll. 13401 to Cleveland is probably the toughest part of the ridge run with some significant spots of exposure, but nothing exceeding 3rd class.
Cleveland's north ridge:
There are some patches of snow here and there, but nothing real significant. We crest a false summit and the steepness relents over to the highpoint. The next stretch of the hike is over to "Dead Man", unofficially named by Roach I think due to its proximity to Dead Man Lakes. We still haven't hit the wall yet and decide to hit Dead Man first since it will require the most vertical to get back over to Cleveland's flat plateau. The descent of Cleveland's west ridge is pretty steep, but 2nd class. We top out on Dead Man and I'm not dead yet, but beginning to feel the ups and downs!
Off we go to 13384, the last "new" peak of the day. Our pace slows as we reclimb to Cleveland's south ridge. 13384 is steep but short and offers some 3rd class scrambling here and there on the crest. I think we top out around 2pm, dreading all of the reclimbs we have left on the way back.
For the return, you have to reclimb Cleveland and 13401 or you'll end up in the wrong drainage, far south of Music Pass. We reverse our tracks and I'm getting tired of watching my footing across the narrower spots. At least there's no loose rock to worry about.
Up over Cleveland and 13401 we go, and we're all dragging by the time we crest 13401. We skirt 13495 again and are finally at a sustained downhill! We're happy to see the trail again at the lake, then back over Music Pass one more time! I arrive back at the TH at 6:05 and Sarah tells me that Dominic ran down the trail so that he could pack up camp so that we could get to the pizza sooner! Where's the Superman shirt for Dominic? So much for being under the weather I guess! I actually feel a lot better than I thought I would after a 12.5 hour, 7K vertical day. We make it down to Silvercliffe and enjoy some fine pizza at R's. Not too much longer until we'll be slogging in slowshoes again!