Thursday, 3 July 2008

Clark Peak

Climbed Clark Peak (12,951 ft.) near Cameron Pass in CO with Jeff VanBaalen. Cameron Pass is on HWY 14 south east of Walden CO. It's about an hours drive from our house on 230. We parked Jeff's RAV a short way up the 4WD Ruby Jewel Road and hiked up the road and the Jewel Lake trail to the lake, which was mostly still frozen over.
In the photo above, the trail goes through the meadow at the base of the leftmost peak and then up the grassy ramp into the cirque beyond where the lake is. We climbed up the slopes to the right to the summit of Clark Peak (the third to the right.) This stitched photo makes the actual summit look lower than its neighbours.
We ate some lunch at the lake and from there we headed more or less straight up for the summit. We crossed a boulder/scree field up to some gullies leading out of the cirque and then followed the steep grassy slopes to the top. Jeff, who swims 12 miles a week dashed up while I struggled with the altitude a bit. The views are spectacular. To the north along the same ridge line are South Rawah and North Rawah peaks. To the south the Never Summer Range with Nokhu Crags and Mt. Richthofen looking particulary impressive. In the distance tot he south east, Rocky Mt. National Park with Longs Peak visible. To the west, you look across North Park to the Zirkels. There were patchy cumulus but no thunderheads. We descended down the south ridge and across the face of the next peak (12,433 ft.) along the ridge and then back north to the Jewel Lake trail crossing a small creek in the meadow. All told, it took us about six hours and maybe six miles to the lake and another two up and along the ridge for an eight mile walk. With a higher 4wd vehicle and the fortitude to drive the rough road to the trailhead would have saved three miles of walking.

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