Tomboy Peak as seen from Chicago Peak
Tomboy Peak as seen from Imogene Pass Road
"Tomboy Peak" is a low 13er located near Telluride, just off the Imogene Pass Road. Most people combined this peak with other peaks in the area, really easy combination is with Chicago Peak.
I chose to run it from Telluride and Tomboy Peak was my only objective since I have done all other peaks in the area and I used this as a training run for Imogene Pass Run. It is a ranked 13er. The views are spectacular and expect some infamous San Juan scree on this peak. You can do it as a really short trip if driving a car up to ghost town of Tomboy (you need a high clearance 4WD vehicle), or as a long run up the Imogene Pass road from Telluride. It is about 5 miles to Tomboy ghost town and another 1.5 to 2 miles of scrambling depending what route you choose to take.
Tomboy Peak is actually lower in altitude than Imogene Pass accessible by 4 WD vehicles. The summit of Imogene Pass is at 13,114 feet.
Colorado Rank: 573
Parent Lineage: Chicago Peak
is a former town that in its heyday housed 1,000 residents. When the ore ran out, so did the people. The mine closed in 1927. Tomboy had a store, school, stable and cabins for miners. It also had tennis courts! The mine was sold for $2 million to the Rothshchilds in 1897.
Elevation at Tomboy: 11,509 feet (3,508 m).
From Telluride's Main Street (Colorado Avenue), turn north onto Aspen Street and proceed one block. Turn right onto Columbia and then left onto Oak Street and follow this to the end of the paved road. Turn right (east) onto the dirt Tomboy Road. There is not really parking along this section of the road.
It is 5 miles from Telluride and the elevation gain is 2,650 feet.
The Imogene Pass Road is a popular rough 4 WD road which connects two historical and beautiful mountains towns: Ouray and Telluride. Imogene pass is also the highest pass road in the San Juan Mountains - elevation 13,114 feet.
History of the road: The Imogene Pass road was built in 1880 for access to Ouray from Tomboy Mine. It was named for Imogene Richardson, the wife of one of Thomas Walsh's partners in the Camp Bird Mine. Wires carrying the first commercial transmission of alternating current electricity were strung across this pass in the 1890s. The power was generated in Ames and transmitted to Ouray.
The Tomboy Mine, located in 1880 by Otis Thomas, was situated high above Telluride. Tomboy was Thoma's nickname. For several years there was little activity in Tomboy because it was hard to reach. But after the silver crash in 1893, prospectors struck gold at the Tomboy, and the mine was very productive. The Tomboy Mine was sold for $2 million to the Rothschilds of London in 1897 and continued to operated until 1927.
Imogene Pass Road Description: Imogene Pass is the second highest pass road in the United States and provides a wonderful scenic route though the San Juan Mountains. The route passes through two major mining camps: Camp Bird and Tomboy. The Imogene Pass run always runs from Ouray to Telluride. I have actually never driven the road, but hiked it and ran it many times.
From the Yankee Boy turnoff, the road deteriorates and high clearance 4WD is needed. The track travels through the forest and Imogene Creek Valley. There are number of shallow creek crossings, the roads narrows for the final ascent to the pass. The summit is well marked and a great place to stop. There is parking for several cars.
About two miles from the pass, the track enters the ghost town of Tomboy. The town site has several historic remains. Another couple of miles past Tomboy, the road passes through Social Tunnel, a short passage through a rocky outcrop. Near this tunnel is a good place to spot and view Ingram and Bridal Veil Falls.
As any mountain there are many routes to reach its summit.
The easiest combination is to start at the top of Imogene Pass, summit Chicago Peak, continue on an easy terrain from the summit of Chicago in north direction and then turn left = west and descend on a scree to the saddle between Chicago and Tomboy Peak. The saddle between Chicago and Tomboy Peak is at 12,780 feet, and the distance is slightly over half a mile.
South slopes to the saddle between Chicago and Tomboy: I ran up the road from Telluride to Tomboy ghost town (5 miles) and left the road here, ascended grassy slopes and walked around the south face of Tomboy Peak to the saddle. The walking was initially easy, grass, wildflowers and then rock fields and higher up scree.
North slopes from slightly above the saddle of Chicago and Tomboy: I chose this way to descend. This was steeper and more loose (not recommended). I dropped into Middle Basin and explored the north facing steep cliffs of "Tomboy Peak". I stopped by Thorne Lake and return back to Imogene Pass road and back to Telluride.
You can make this trip much shorter if driving to Tomboy ghost town. The road is rough and popular with ATVs and tourists (Telluride companies take visitors up Imogene Pass this way and stop in Tomboy ghost town).
The driving the Tomboy and Imogene Pass Road is free. Tomboy townsite is privately owned - please do not trespass if signs are there and explore only parking areas near the road.
Hiking Tomboy Peak is free.
The road is open to all motorized vehicles, however strongly recommended high clearance 4WD vehicles.
When to Climb
Summer is obviously the easiest time since the Imogene Pass road is open and there is no danger of avalanches. Another great time would be early autumn. Winter and spring provide a much longer approach and avalanche approach. Always check for avalanche conditions during winter and early spring.
There is NO camping on the Telluride side of Imogene Pass Road. There is some primitive camping below Imogene Pass on Ouray side - Richmond basin area and there are 2 official campgrounds just above Ouray along the Yankee Boy Road, which leads higher up to Imogene Pass Road.
Camping around Telluride is on the other other side of town from Imogene Pass Road.