#46 Point 13811
Date: January 18, 2014
Team: Christy, Ted
Route: South Face
We’re three weeks into 2014, and with a stretch of beautiful weather and a good amount of snow already this season, Christy and I climbed and skied UN13811 (as in “unnamed summit that’s 13,811 feet in elevation”) last weekend. And thus began the 2014 Centennial Skiers season.
On the subject of unnamed peaks, there are nearly seven hundred 13,000 foot summits in Colorado, and quite a few of them have never been given official names. Since a mountain without an official name still needs to be identifiable, they are often given the initials “UN” for unnamed, or “PT” for point, followed by their elevation.
A lot of mountains are not so lucky as to be given an official name. The high, historic ones, the local ones, the interesting ones– they all get named on a map, but many others do not, and the further down the list in elevation you go, the more common it is to be unnamed.
Some “UN” summits are named by climbers or area locals, but may never be identified officially as such on a map. Huerfano, Phoenix, Lackawanna, and Thunder are instances I know of where people are in general agreement as to what mountain they’re talking about, but yet on a map they remain identifiable only by elevation. In some cases, people petition successfully to name mountains. Not long ago, two unnamed Centennials that were identified in guidebooks as “North Carbonate” and “Kat Carson” were finally granted official names. Interestingly though, they weren’t actually given those names, and they’re now known respectively as Cronin Peak and Columbia Point (for good reasons that are a discussion for another time).
Still others remain unnamed even by the locals. And that’s the case with UN13811.
The early winter months don’t often provide the greatest ski conditions on the high peaks. But the weather can be nice at times and there is often enough snow to piece together summit ski descents. It isn’t our goal to ski the Centennials by unimaginative, wind-crusted ridges, but in the interest of getting up high on a beautiful January weekend, Christy and I made our way down to Lake City to check out this unnamed, unloved summit.
UN13811 is located along the ridge that goes east from the 14er Redcloud Peak. This Centennial has a dramatic north side and a mellow, grassy south side. Being January, avalanche issues were present, plus the steep faces weren’t in skiable condition yet, so we opted for the latter, the mellow angled south side of UN13811.
After consulting the maps in search of a route on this obscure peak, we decided that a low angled, broad, forested ridge from the south would be a safe ascent route. Once up past treeline, we figured the early winter prevailing winds would have likely scoured the west side of mountain of snow, allowing for avalanche-free climbing on bare ground. We also expected that same wind to move the snow along east and south ridges and faces, which would hopefully lead down to some snow-filled gullies. It would be a far cry from the plastered peaks we skied last spring, but we kept it in perspective, acknowledging it was a really good ski day for the date.
And that’s what we found. Bare west faces, loaded east faces, sastrugi covered ridges– predictable January conditions up high. We caught views of peaks that remain to be skied– Half Peak, UN13832, Rio Grande Pyramid, Phoenix, and Stewart. Some of them looked good. Others, near Creede, still need snow. But that was partly the point, to clean out the cobwebs, get up high, and see what was going on. Besides, with Dav unable to join us here, we’ll just have to come back as a group and ski the steep north side too.
So we’re crossing our fingers, hoping this winter continues on track. We have big plans this spring.
- #1 Grizzly Peak – 13,988 ft.
- #2 Stewart Peak -13,983 ft.
- #3 Columbia Point – 13,980 ft.
- #4 Pigeon Peak – 13,972 ft.
- #5 Mount Ouray – 13,971 ft.
- #6 Ice Mountain – 13,951 ft.
- #7 Fletcher Mountain – 13,951 ft.
- #8 Pacific Peak – 13,950 ft.
- #9 Cathedral Peak – 13,943 ft.
- #10 French Mountain – 13,940 ft.
- #11 Mount Hope – 13,933 ft.
- #12 Thunder Pyramid – 13,932 ft.
- #13 Mount Adams – 13,931 ft.
- #14 Gladstone Peak – 13,913 ft.
- #15 Mount Meeker – 13,911 ft.
- #16 Casco Peak – 13,908 ft.
- #17 Red Mountain – 13,908 ft.
- #18 Emerald Mountain – 13,904 ft.
- #19 Horseshoe Mtn. – 13,898 ft.
- #20 “Phoenix Peak” – 13,895 ft.
- #21 Vermillion Peak – 13,894 ft.
- #22 Cronin Peak – 13,870 ft.
- #23 Mount Buckskin – 13,865 ft.
- #24 Vestal Peak – 13,864 ft.
- #25 Jones Mountain – 13,860 ft.
- #26 North Apostle – 13,860 ft.
- #27 Clinton Peak – 13,857 ft.
- #28 Dyer Mountain – 13,855 ft.
- #29 Crystal Peak – 13,852 ft.
- #30 Mount Edwards – 13,850 ft.
- #31 California Peak – 13,849 ft.
- #32 Mount Oklahoma – 13,845 ft.
- #33 Half Peak – 13,841 ft.
- #34 Atlantic Peak – 13,841 ft.
- #35 Hagerman Peak – 13,841 ft.
- #36 Turret Peak – 13,835 ft.
- #37 PT 13,832
- #38 Holy Cross Ridge – 13,831 ft.
- #39 Jupiter Mountain- 13,830 ft.
- #40 “Huerfano Peak” – 13,828 ft.
- #41 Jagged Mountain – 13,824 ft.
- #42 “Lackawanna” – 13,823 ft.
- #43 Mount SiIverheels – 13,822 ft.
- #44 Rio Grande Pyramid – 13,821 ft.
- #45 Teakettle Mountain – 13,819 ft.
- #46 PT 13,811 – 13,811 ft.
- #47 Dallas Peak – 13,809 ft.