Turner Peak 13233

11 Jun 2005 - by T Colorado

It was our friend's (Don) first climbing trip of the year so we wanted to give him the best chance for success. Camp high ... climb high. We selected an easy (walk-up) peak that is northeast along the Continential Divide from Cottonwood Pass. The Cottonwood Pass road is open on both sides (paved on the east, gravel on the west) and Taylor Reservoir looks ready for boating and fishing. After camping at a pull-out just over 11,000' (there was frost on our tents), we were up early and drove up to the pass. The hike is mostly along gentle, undulating tundra. After hiking over a high 12,000+ peak, you lose approximately 400 feet of elevation on your descent to a saddle. Regain your elevation (and then some) and do a bit of hiking on rocks to the summit. The register has been there since 1999 and contains such notable names as Mike Garratt and Gerry and Jennifer Roach. The views of the Collegiate Peaks wilderness area to the north (and northwest) were very nice (Yale, Harvard/Columbia ridge, Huron, Ice Mountain). We could see Pikes Peak in the distance to the east. And, there was the bulk of Mt. Princeton. The southern views contained many 13'ers (Fitzpatrick, Emma Burr, Jones, Kreutzer). It took under 2 hours from Cottonwood Pass to the top. The wildlife viewing was incredible (such is the benefit of climbing obscure 13'ers). We saw marmots, pikas, 2 wolves, 3 elk and 2 mountain goats (in addition to a grazing deer in someone's yard in Buena Vista at 1:00 p.m.). This is a great family hike ... it could be made easier in the summer by bypassing the 12'er on the left (north side) and intersecting the saddle to eliminate some elevation gain and loss. Watch out for electricity as there is no place to hide. Happy Trails!


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