Date: 10/1/2011 Distance: 14.5 miles Elevation Gain: 5500'
Steve Knapp and I met in Leadville & set up a car shuttle leaving a vehicle at the Bear Lake TH, then parking at Hagerman Pass where we started our 8 peak traverse. Divide Benchmark was first and only took a matter of minutes on fresh legs, but provided good views of Mount Massive. Lyle Benchmark was next and required the longest distance between peaks on this traverse. 12367 was next and was a last minute add on that both of us had been eyeing since it was so close. Its east ridge provided some good scrambling. Next was 12453; we found some annoying krummholz near the saddle. 12734 was next...more krummholz at the saddle and 1000' of gain to reach this one. Next up was the notorious 12500 that has two bumps within its southern contour, that are both higher than the smaller, northern contour with a spot elevation of 12494. Two different parties have leveled the two bumps and both have reached different conclusions as to which is highest. The northern bump requires 5.2 climbing to reach the top and is the present location of the waterlogged register. The southern bump is much easier. Both Steve and I used the same sight level but reached different conclusions. We quickly traveled over 12180, then made our way to the Galena Mountain-12180 saddle where we waited for a weather window between thunderstorms to make the dash up Galena Mountain. We were planning on continuing to 11820, but the exposed east ridge of Galena Mountain that we were planning on descending did not look too enticing as another round of thunderstorms made its way towards us.
Mount Massive from Divide Benchmark. Photo: Steve Knapp
Lyle Benchmark from Divide Benchmark. Photo: Steve Knapp
12734 from 12453. Photo: Steve Knapp
12734 above Lonesome Lake from 12500. Photo: Steve Knapp