Kicking off the Summer in the Sangres: Mount Adams

Mount Adams looming large over South Crestone Lake.
The beasts of the Sangres.

With my snowshoes on Craigslist and Ben and Brian’s skies packed away for the season, it was finally time to dust off the trail shoes, strap on our 8 lb. packs, and kick off the unofficial start to the summer of 2014.  The Sangres were an easy choice with the amount of snow still lingering around the rest of Colorado, and Adams and it’s surrounding 13ers were more than a worthy objective.

I should begin with some background. The last time Ben, Brian and I made our way to the Sangres, we were greeted by 75 mph winds. By morning we were 3 deep in my jeep and our camp was decimated. Ben still can’t find his tent, Brian will never be able to cook another quesadilla on his favorite grill again, and 3 weeks later I replaced my Jeep. It’s a trip that will live on in infamy, salvaged only by a 5pm summit of Hunts Peak the next day and my first IPA at Amicas in Salida. Needless to say, this trip would be different.

During the week we discussed several route and peak options with Centennial Adams being the main objective. In the end we decided that the South Crestone Lake approach made the most sense and we could make a loop out of it if we came back using the Willow Creek Trail from Willow Lake.

Peaks: UN 13,153, Mount Adams A (13,931 ft.), UN 13,580 A
Date:  June 14, 2014
Trailhead: South Crestone
Route: S. Crestone Lake approach, ascend from S. Crestone Lake to UN 13,153, traverse to Adams, traverse to UN 13,580 A, descend to Willow Lake and exit via the Willow Creek Trail.
Distance: 10.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 6,064 ft.
Group: Ben Conners, Brian Miller, Dillon Sarnelli

Route Overview

After a few hours of sleep and a long heated boxing match, complete with statistics and gaper-ythms over why transplants are good and bad for Colorado, but mostly bad, but maybe could be good as long as they don’t come from Texas or ride a cruiserbike, not too mention several hundred mosquito bites later, we arrived at S. Crestone Lake.

The scramble from the lake to the summit of 13,153 is straightforward. If you start your ascent on the lake’s west end across 13,153’s open western slopes, you can avoid any bushwhacking around the lake. Ben set a nice pace in his 12th gear.

Ben on the summit of 13,153 with Adams in the distance.

The traverse from here over to Adams is a little less than a mile and the 1,100 ft. ascent of Adams NW ridge is a fun little scramble.

Ben on the summit of Adams getting a good look at Challenger, Kit Karson, and Columbia Point.
Summit of Mount Adams – Ben (l), Dillon, Brian (r) – June 14, 2014 #gaperselfie
Beginning the traverse from Adams to 13,580 A. The Crestones always keeping a watchful eye.
Looking back at Adam’s south face as Miller takes a breather. I think it was here he muttered something like “everything from my b@lls down hurts!” Skiers… 🙂
A good look east at the Horn Lakes on the traverse over to 13,580 A.
Summit of Bicentennial UN 13,580 A – June 14, 2014.
Challenger’s north face on our descent to Willow Lake.
High above Willow Lake on our descent.

Arriving at the lake we took a well earned breather and watched as the clouds and wind rolled in. We reminisced about prior treks up to Willow Lake, the GSA, Camp Gladiator, how underrated the Sangres really are, and, most importantly, how exactly we would avoid Mosquitopalooza and enjoy our Aspen IPA’s sitting in the creek back at the jeep.

We’re still not sure what this is, but it engulfed us on the way to Salida!

The Sangres take a lot of heat for their lack of snow this time of year, but if lack of snow is what you’re looking for, as we were on this day, then you’re in for a solid June outing! Great day out, as they all are, Miller and Conners! Thanks boys. Cheers to many more in ’14!

Parting shot from the beer garden at Moonlight Pizza – Salida, CO.

Thanks for reading!

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