A Sunday Morning Stroll in the Tenmile: Pacific and Atlantic

Fletcher Mountain and “Drift Peak” from the summit of Atlantic Peak.

After spending most of the week wishing I was still running around in the Weminuche and the San Juans, I was itching to go for a walk. These days when hitting the trail solo, I’m usually en route to the Park or catching up on some of the easier Centennials. On Sunday, with a morning to spare and a small weather window, I decided a trek into the Tenmile range was in order. Centennials Atlantic Peak (13,841 ft.) and Pacific Peak (13,950 ft.) were the perfect candidates being just a short jaunt up Mayflower Gulch and if the weather held, I could possibly take a stab at Fletcher and Drift.

Some of the old mining ruins in Mayflower Gulch.
The cirque in upper Mayflower Gulch.

I began hiking just before sunrise. On this early morning I was the only vehicle and hiker in Mayflower Gulch and I was able to really enjoy the solitude. This is a popular area and I knew the same most likely would not be true on my return. As the sun began to rise I made a short circular detour around the upper basin (to avoid the willows) and before I knew it I was quickly ascending Atlantic’s northwest ridge en route to the summit.

Pacific Peak from the summit of Atlantic Peak – July 13, 2014.

On the traverse over to Pacific I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between Mayflower Gulch and McCullough Gulch. It is full blown spring to the west in Mayflower while many signs of winter still remain in McCullough to the east.

Atlantic Peak, Fletcher Mountain & “Drift Peak” from the summit of Pacific Peak – July 13, 2014.
“Drift Peak” (L) with the northern Sawatch range in the distance. The clouds were hanging low to the south all morning.
Surprisingly I could only count 30 people on Quandary, BUT it was 8 AM!

I descended Pacific’s east ridge thinking that I might drop down into the lower basin and make an attempt at Fletcher from the east, but it didn’t take long to realize that without some traction and/or tools this probably wasn’t an option. My shorts and trailrunners weren’t going to cut it out there today!

It’s still winter on Fletcher!
In other news… Back on the other side of the Pacific/Atlantic saddle the wildflowers are in full bloom in Mayflower Gulch.
Pacific’s rugged west ridge.
The saddle between Pacific (L) and Atlantic (R) on my descent.

Overall, this was a solid way to spend an early Sunday morning in a scenic drainage not too far from Denver. For extra credit I would also recommend a Daylight donut, a camp chair, some bug spray and a cold IPA of your choice to cap off a morning well spent!

Thanks for reading!

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