Jones & Half
American, Jones and Niagara from Snare Gulch
then Half from Niagara via Cuba Gulch
It was Thursday afternoon and we were on route to Lake City to climb American, Jones and Niagara on Friday then Half on Saturday. We arrived at the Snare Gulch TH just after dark and slept in the back of my truck. At 6:30am the next morning morning we hiked the closed road to the base of American's southeast ridge. Our objective was to climb American, Jones and Niagara before returning to the Snare TH. We climbed to a point close to 13,400 and ran the fun ridge to American's summit. From the summit we hiked mostly ridges to Jones. On Jone's summit Kristi floated the idea of knocking out Half that day as well. I didn't think it was a good idea as we had zero beta... but the route did look pretty straight forward. At that point no decision was made and we continued down Jone's southwest ridge to the base of Niagara. This is where we decided we would go for Half. To conserve energy Kristi waited for me at the bottom of Niagara's souteast face as I quickly bagged Colorado's 101st highest peak. From the base of Niagara we traversed the high meadows east and dropped 1200ft into Cuba Gulch. From a big rock slab by a waterfall in Cuba Gulch we climbed southeast into the high meadows below Half Peak and hooked up with the Colorado Trail. The CT took us to the base of Half's massive south ridge which was a little more than a mile from the summit. The gentle ridge had a fun little 2+ section close to the top. From the summit of Half we descended the class 3 east face into Cataract Gulch. Before finding the trail we battled some willows and crossed a beaver dam. We arrived at the CG TH just after dark and met out good friend and and his son Rylan who fed us IPAs and shuttled us the 3.3 miles / 1100ft back to our truck at Snare Gulch. We then went back to Patrick's place in Lake City where he fed us more IPAs and made us an awesome meal. Thanks Patrick and Rylan... you guys are AWESOME!!! Our day covered 4 peaks, 19 miles and 8700 vertical in 14 hours.
Partner: Kristi Henes
Here is a link for the GPX file from our trip.
Snare Gulch to American Peak. American to Jones Mountain. Jones to Niagara Peak. Niagara to Half Peak. Half to Cataract Gulch. Our day covered 4 peaks, 19 miles and 8700 vertical in 14 hours.
Kristi hiking American's south ridge
American Peak (center) Jones (top left) from point 13,400 on American's south ridge
Fun scrambling on American's south ridge
This might have been the most fun section of the day
Alex on American's south ridge. Handies on the right
After scrambling the ridge behind her Kristi looks ahead. Quarter Peak in the distance on the left.
Still on American's ridge. Half Peak in the distance. At this point in the game we didn't know we would be climbing it that day.
Kristi on American
Handies and Sloan Lake. Coxcomb, Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre in the distance
Jones from American. Niagara pokes it's head out (center)
Amazing how different mountains look from various angles. Jones
Kristi climbing Jone's northeast ridge. American top center. Handies top left.
Summit of Jones with a Niagara back drop.
Summit of Jones with a Half Peak back drop. This is where Kristi floated the idea of heading over to Half
The Wimenuche From Jones. We were looking for Jagged as we will be there in a week our two to hopefully polish off the Centennials.
From Jones. Petosi, Coffee Pot, Tea Kettle, Sneffles, Emma, Dallas
Kristi descends Jones' southwest ridge
Niagara from the east
Kristi decided to rest up for Half while Alex climbs Niagara
It is a lot further than it looks. Half from the summit of Niagara
Traversing the high meadows from Niagara to Cuba Gulch
Niagara top center. Jones top right
If you look closely you can see the Snare Staircase on American's south ridge in the distance.
Half from the west before dropping 1000 feet into Cuba Gulch
Kristi dropping into Cuba Gulch. We would ascend animal trails in the middle section of trees (right of center) to the high meadows below Half.
Just crossed the creek above a cool waterfall. This looked like it would be a good spot to camp.
Kristi in the meadows above Cuba Gulch. Jones(center), Niagara (left of center), American (right of center), Handies (far right)
Vestal and Arrow from the meadows below Half
Kristi on the Colorado Trail... Half in full view
Looking back at where we came from
Vestal and Arrow from Half's south ridge
Fun section on the ramp leading to Half's summit
Looking north from Half's summit to Sunshine Peak
Wetterhorn, Matterhorn and Uncompahgre from Half
A great view of the first half of our day. American, Jones and Niagara. Much further away than they look
The Wimenuche from Half
Alex on Half
Kristi down climbing Half's steep east face
Half from Cataract Gulch
Walking towards a sea of Willows. Sunshine Peak at the end of the valley
Gorgeous waterfall on the Cataract Gulch trail