The Truro Group: Not Your Typical Sawatch Slog

The Truro Group: Not Your Typical Sawatch Slog

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.04479°N / 106.63124°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 20, 2008
Activities Activities: Hiking, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Summer


Truro Pk (13282')
"West Truro" (13140')
"Tellurium Pk" (13300')
Larson Pk (12908')
"Petroleum Pk" (13505')

8.6 miles RT/5300' gain
From Lincoln Cr Rd (10960')
Participants: Sarah Thompson, Dominic Meiser, Pete Krzanowsky, & Kevin Baker


With summer scrambling season drawing to a close, we were looking to squeeze in one more long day before significant snow comes. We tossed around a few ideas late in the week and came up with a group of 13ers in the Sawatch west of Indy Pass near centennial Grizzly. These peaks are relatively unheard of, but they are not your typical Sawatch talus heaps. These peaks offer some fine scrambling, although there is some loose rock to deal with. These gems reminded me more of scrambling in the Elks, although not quite so loose.

We met late Friday evening and car camped along the Lincoln Creek road where Galena Creek meets Lincoln Creek at 10960' north of Grizzly Reservoir. I arrived just 20 minutes before Pete and Dominic while Sarah already hit the sack after hitting Silver King and 13462 earlier in the day. This is the same drainage that is used to access Grizzly. The road is suitable for 2WD to Grizzly Resorvoir, but beyond that you will need 4WD. It is a pretty mellow 4WD road and my Santa Fe did fine.

Scrambling on the Truros

After a restful but cold night we set out at 6:40am under clear skies. The peaks had a fresh dusting of snow, but only on north and west facing slopes. It looked like we could avoid the snow on the scrambling sections of our loop hike. We were parked a bit south of Galena Creek, so we first had to cross Lincoln Creek which was flowing pretty low. We all made it across without incident except for Pete, who slipped on a slick boulder. He jumped out before he got too wet though. This marked the 4th time somebody has bit it in a creek this summer when hiking with Dominic and Sarah! Crossing Galena Creek was no problem other than a few minutes of rather comical willow bashing. Can you find Pete?

Instead of following the creek up the basin, we decided to attack Truro's steep, grassy s.e. slopes to the east ridge. This is an 1800' grunt in 3/4 mile from the road. We followed a nice gully to the ridge crest, which popped us out just a couple hundred feet below the summit. From here, it's just a quick boulder hop to the summit and we arrived at 8:45am. The rest of the days' peaks were now in plain view, with West Truro next on the agenda. It's east ridge looked pretty rugged.

I started pumping the sugar knowing this was going to be a long day. Pete broke out some Peeps and he shared one with me. These were the special edition white ghosts for Halloween. Maybe that is what got me through the day! Off we went to West Truro, descending the fun west ridge of Truro. We stayed true to the ridge as much as we could and it offered some fine, relatively solid class 3 with exposure on the south side.

Sarah on west ridge of Truro:

Pete enjoys the views at an airy perch:

We made it down to the saddle pretty quickly and decided to stay at or near the ridge crest as long as we could. The few reports out there for this peak mention having to drop below the ridge on the south face, so we were expecting some difficulties. The first part of the ridge is solid, class 3 slab climbing, which was probably the funnest part of the day for me.

Sarah and Dominic on the lower east ridge of W. Truro:

The ridge steepened as we climbed and we came across a couple cairns, one of which led us through a notch. We decided to back off this as it led out onto exposed, loose junk. Sarah found a solid class 2 route on the north side that led us to the top of a tower that was a definite no go on the other side. We backed off and retraced our steps down to a reasonable gully on the south side.

Pete descending gully on south face:

We then traversed a bit and found another gully that brought us up to the ridge crest. We thought we were home free now as we were only a few hundred horizontal feet from the summit, but a 10 foot 5th class notch stopped us again! We dropped down the north side of the ridge and traversed across a snow filled but reasonable gully.

This was the only snow we came across all day. A bit more class 3 scrambling and we were finally on the summit. The traverse took 1:38 with all the routefinding we had to do.

Looking back at the tower that we backed off of:

Tellurium Grunge Climb

At this point, the weather was looking iffy to make it up 5 peaks, so we didn't hang around long. The west ridge of W. Truro was a piece of cake as we continued our westward march to Tellurium. We enjoyed a mellow ridge walk until the ridge turns to the n.w., where it steepens dramatically. Teresa's report noted loose, exposed class 3 on the ridge crest, so we opted to stay below it on the west side. The exposure wasn't bad at all on these ledges, but it was horribly loose so we took our time.

Once beyond the grunge, the rest of the way was an enjoyable scramble to the summit. It took about 1.5 hours from W. Truro.

Pete enjoying some fine scrambling near summit of Tellurium:

Just as we got to the summit, graupel began to follow, but thankfully it was light. We hadn't heard any thunder throughout the day and there wasn't much vertical development going on with the clouds. We only hung around for a few minutes and once we got down to the first mini-saddle, the precip stopped. We avoided the grungy traverse by descending a gully on the north side of the ridge, and did a not so fun sidehill across scree to regain the main saddle.

Another gully descent:

Larson and Petroleum

The last 2 peaks for the day were Larson and Petroleum.

Petroleum from W. Truro:

Larson looked like a cool peak, and should not be overlooked since it is a high 12er!

We descended down s.e. from the saddle and took a direct line across the head of Galena Creek basin toward Larson, gaining its west ridge via a steep scree slog. The sun came back out and it looked like we were going to hit all our peaks. Once on the ridge, it was only about a 500 ft boulder hop to the summit.

Anderson from Larson. Check out the sweet couloir!

Petroleum looked far away, but it made no sense to skip it. Since we obliged Sarah with a new 12er, she was nice enough to repeat Petroleum. I was beginning to slow down, but had enough in the tank for another 1000'. The traverse over to Petroleum was mellow until the last 1/10th of a mile, where its' east ridge climbs ~400 feet. A bit of class 2+ scrambling finished off the climb and we topped out at 3:45. A boom of distant thunder to the s.w. kept our stay brief again and we bombed down the ridge and caught a nice scree surf.

It began to rain on as as we met up with the Petroleum Lake trail, but it actually felt kind of refreshing. Once back on the trail, it was a mellow descent back to Lincoln Creek Rd where we only had a mile left to the cars, arriving at 5:30. What a fine hike to close out the summer!

GPS track courtesy of Sarah Thompson:


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-6 of 6

cftbq - Sep 23, 2008 3:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Nice work

That's a nice brace of rarely-visited peaks to slip in before the serious snow flies! Well planned and executed. And (no surprise) excellent time, especially considering all that backtracking.


Diggler - Sep 29, 2008 11:23 am - Voted 10/10

looks fun!

I didn't know the Sawatches had anything that rugged. Nice TR & photos. Looks like you all had fun!

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Sep 29, 2008 8:42 pm - Hasn't voted

mountain ninja

Great series of photos. The woman in black looks like a ninja.


ktiffany22 - Oct 1, 2008 1:21 am - Voted 10/10


Good work on another great climb- Front page again baby!


woodsxc - Oct 1, 2008 2:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Good stuff

Sounds like you ended the season on a high note. sweet trip.


Gareth - Oct 4, 2008 2:31 pm - Voted 10/10


I really do have to return someday and climb the rest of those peaks.

Viewing: 1-6 of 6