Intro/StatsTijeras Pk (13604')
Music Mtn (13355')
Sangre de Cristo Range
Oct 3, 2009
10 miles RT, 5200' gain
From Music Pass TH (10600')
Participants: Dominic, Sarah, Dwight, and Kevin
We were looking for a relatively snow free scramble involving 13ers that we needed, so the Sangres were calling. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find 13er day hikes that none of this crew has climbed outside the San Juans! Tijeras is now in Dave Cooper's CO scrambles book and has probably seen a few more ascents as a result. Music was also in the Denver Post, but we noticed in the trailhead register that only one person had listed these peaks as a destination!
We all arrived at the Music Pass trailhead at different times, with me electing to make the quick drive down from C. Springs in the wee hours of the morning. The road to the Music Pass 4WD trailhead was pretty mellow, easily passable in any stock 4WD vehicle. You can even get by without 4WD as long as you have decent clearance.
We set out at 6:36am under clear skies and a brisk 30 degrees. This might be the last hike above treeline that I get by with trail runners in awhile. The 850' hike up to Music Pass went by quick as the trail was nice and smooth, heavily used by fisherman hitting the Sand Creek Lakes. Once at the pass, our peaks beckoned us downward. The bad part of this hike is you have to drop nearly 500', but we didn't feel it much at the end of the day since the trail is nice and gentle.
Tijeras from Music Pass:
There was no worry of storms for once today and we had a lot to talk about, so we kept a pretty casual pace down to Lower Sand Creek Lake. This lake is a popular spot for fisherman and is a pristine camping spot as well right below the lower cliffs of Tijeras.
We decided to shoot for Tijeras first since it was a bit closer, so we went around the north side of the lake and began bushwacking s.e. from the n.w. side of the lake. We didn't pick the easiest line (I'm not to blame this time :), but a bit of steep willow bashing never hurt anyone as we refined our willow belay techniques! I get a sick satisfaction in steep bushwacks anyway!
Captain Bushwacko (Dominic) shows how it's done:
Once out of the thick willows, we did an ascending traverse back to the n.w. and found the ramp that is the class 3 weakness through the cliff band. We were a bit worried about there being ice and snow on the ramp and were happy that we brought a couple ropes as there was ice at the bottom of it.
Luckily there was a slab to the left of the ice that was dry, so we climbed it and rappelled this section on the way down.
Sarah on the slab:
Looking down from the top of the ramp:
There was a bit more scrambling above this, but luckily the steepest parts were dry. Once above the ramp, it's a class 2 talus hop to the ridge. The talus is a bit loose, but not bad. We gained the ridge at 13400' and it was an easy scramble to the summit, the crux of which is here.
We topped out at 10:40am and took a long break, knowing that pleasant summit breaks on high peaks will be hard to come by soon! We descended back down the ridge and talus slope to the top of the ramp, and quickly rappelled the steepest part at the bottom.
Music & Descent: A Short but Sweet Scramble
The traverse over to Music's east ridge was mostly on grass, as we gained the ridge up a gully to a notch at 12800'. The scramble up the ridge is enjoyable as everything you touch is solid. It can be kept at class 3, although there are harder lines. The least exposure is on the south side.
It didn't take long to hit the lower south summit on Music and the final traverse to the true summit was an airy scramble, with most of the air being on the east side. This can also be kept at class 3, but staying on the ridge crest adds to the excitement!
I took a lower line on the way up and stuck close to the ridge on the way back. If you stay on the ridge crest, just hang your butt out over the less exposed west side. :eek:
We topped out at 1:50, basking in the fading warmth of an October bluebird day. The winds were enough to make us take our break on the leeward side of the summit, but it wasn't more than 20 mph.
Crestones majesty from Music, with Milwaukee in foreground:
The descent went pretty quick, and Dwight found an easy bushwack down to the lake that avoided most of the willows. Once back on the trail below the lake, we took a long break in a meadow enjoying such an awesome day. A couple groups of fishermen passed by and reported no luck catching anything at Upper Sand Creek Lake. We took our time heading back up to the pass and back down to the cars, arriving at 4:53. These are some overlooked peaks with some quality scrambling, a fine way to explore the spirit of the Sangres.