Weekend in the Elks – Sleeping Sexton and Co.

Peaks: UN 13,336, UN 13,020 B, Willoughby Mountain (13,142′), UN 13,039, Sleeping Sexton (13,460′)
Date: July 21-23, 2017
Where: Elk Range
Trailhead: Maroon Lake (9,580′)
Participants: Brian Miller, Dillon Sarnelli

Map Overview.

When you go on a trip with Brian, he comes prepared. “Brian, why are we leaving so early?” He doesn’t answer because he already knows that as soon as we get in the car some dude is going to rob a bank and CDOT will close I-70.

And with that the weekend begins.

Meanwhile, we get creative.

Minor setback.

Friday went something like this. REI, Dudleroy’s Bagels, meet Brian, I-70 via pavement, dude robs bank, I-70 off roading, Aspen, Aspen Brewing Co, Snowmass, Taster’s Pizza, bread sticks, more bread sticks, rain delay, Castle Creek Road power nap, rain delay, Maroon Bells overnight lot, Maroon Bells overflow lot.

Let’s do this.

Friday – July 21, 2017 – 9:15 PM:

We make the 6 mile, 2,200 ft. trek to treeline below Buckskin and Willow passes in the dark, set up camp, and it was lights out by midnight.

Saturday, July 22, 2017:

Itinerary – Go over Willow Pass into the Willow Lake basin. Ascend UN 13,336 via it’s saddle with UN 13,020 B. Return to saddle. Ascend 13,020 B. Traverse from 13,020B to Willoughby. Return to camp. ~ 9 miles, 4,500 ft.

Morning priorities. (photo by Brian)


Brian scoping out the day’s first peak, UN 13,336.


Summit of UN 13,336 – July 22, 2017. North Maroon, Sleeping Sexton, UN 13,039 (L to R).


A look back at 13,336 on the descent back to the saddle. 13,020 B is more of the same.


Summit of UN 13,020 B. Willoughby Mountain, next up, is the high point in the center (west). That’s quite a ridge run! Easy peasy.


A look back across the valley at UN 13,336 as we begin the traverse over to Willoughby. The saddle with UN 13,020 B is visible to the right.


Taking birds eye to whole new level.

Sarnelli, “Miller, this isn’t the summit of Willoughby?”

Miller, “NO”.

Finally approaching the summit of Willoughby.


“WELKOME TO THE PARTY”. Dude can party. Summit of Willoughby Mountain – July 22, 2017. Confirmed via that map and a nice couple and their dog out for a hike in their backyard.


Doesn’t get old.


We arrived home to find 18 marmots living with us. Luckily they kept their party outside. That concludes Day 1.

Sunday, July 23, 2017:

Itinerary – Ascend UN 13,039 via Buckskin Pass and traverse over to Sleeping Sexton. Return via one of Sexton’s gullies and pack out. ~ 10 miles, ~ 3,000 ft.

Good morning Elks!


Summit of UN 13,039 – July 23, 2017.


A few of the speed bumps along the road to the top of the Sleeping Sexton, the weekend’s final prize.


Myself descending 13,039. (photo by Brian)


The view from The Crown looking at The Nose, the true summit of the Sexton. From here it’s a down climb down into the notch and then into a loose gully that will eventually lead you to the infamous ledge that will unlock the rest of the mountain. If you can’t find the ledge, chances are you may have not down climbed far enough. It’s obvious once you find it.


Looking back at the “secret ledge” in full. Look harder. 🙂 It’s wide enough, but be ready for some exposure.


woah (photo by Brian)


Brian, where’s your helmet?


Approaching the summit.


Summit of Sleeping Sexton – July 23, 2017. Smile says it all. (photo by Brian)


Snowmass, Capitol & Co. from the summit of Sexton.


Maroon and Crater Lake from the summit. There’s 8 million people down there…. and only 2 up here.


I’m starving and I really like my helmet. (photo by Brian)


Back at the ranch. Happy to be back on solid ground, safe and sound, while admiring the day’s work, cold beer in hand!

Takeaways: The Elks are still loose and NOAA still can’t be trusted. Overall this trip was sick. Please be safe out there everyone.

Thanks for a great weekend, Brian! And thanks for reading all!

2 thoughts on “Weekend in the Elks – Sleeping Sexton and Co.

    1. Chalk! You have an instagram account. HAHA. love it. I forgot what comments on this site were like. I even get a wordpress notification. I’d ask you when the biathlon is, but that joke is old. Let’s just drink a beer, SOON! Tell my buddy Saywer I’ll bring her hat.


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