Peak(s):  Mt. Tweto  -  13,672 feet
Date Posted:  01/10/2022
Date Climbed:   10/08/2021
Author:  petal53run
 Mt Tweto in the Nick of Time   

Mt Tweto in the Nick of Time

Snow for the mountains was predicted. Friday, October 8, was the target date. I packed the car Monday but work and other responsibilities put me in the daydreaming mode M-Th. Friday ended up being my target date to get that one more mountain climbed: Gotta finish the peaks along Mosquito Creek before fall ended was my intent. And MtTweto, a Bicentennial peak, was IT. When I left Denver 445am it was a balmy 57degrees. Driving S on CO9 from I70, the temp gauge dinged at 27degrees(pic1) while topping Hoosier pass. I shivered in anticipation. I slowly passed through Alma for a couple miles to turn left(W) onto CR12 dirt road(Mosquito Pass). Then turned right onto the N spur to park in my usual spot(pic2). The Mosquito Pass 2WD TR was 1/10m away but water, now frozen, still flooded the road(pic3). My rearview mirror framed a gorgeous sun rise (pic4).

Through the windshield was my climbing goal: MtTweto(13672)(pic5). Outside was winter reality. Brrr. I dressed inside the car this go round. Summer climbing temps caused me to forget how cold winter was, especially since I didn’t bring my winter jacket. But, the nice thing at the end of summer is that I've lost so much weight, all the jackets I had in the car layered loosely but warmly on top of one another.

To get to Tweto, I hiked W on the remaining 2WD road. I skirted around the frozen water and turn R at the fork onto the 4WD rocky 856(pic6) into perfect morning weather: no wind, gentle grade, blue skies, quiet contemplation conditions. Routefinding was in front of my feet: follow the rocky road through the willows(pic7). As I was considering rounding the first bend or shortcut to the next, I thought I heard a Grrr. I didn’t see anything but as I put my foot down to cut across the curve I definitely heard a motor. So I put my thumb out and hitched a ride with a gracious fellow climber who planned to bag his last mountain for the season too. The bumpy ride made our sharing of climbing history pepper with laughter. The switchbacks up through the alpine meadow were framed by the 13ers I had summited this year. My jackets fit tighter with that swell of pride. When the saddle between Tweto and Buckskin came into view, it was: Wow, drive faster!

Once buildings, lumber, shingles and nails, were the mining remnants scattered across this broad valley(pic8-9). The road ended in the mine area(12600). Cables from aerial trams lay all around and I found a filled mine shaft. This entire gulch harbored rich ore. Directly S was the famous London mountain(pic10) that yielded tons of gold, silver and lead. The bowl provided a breathtaking panoramic view to formulate our plans. At the feet of Tweto and Buckskin, 2 saddles begged to be climbed: 1-going NW across the alpine meadow would be lengthy, gradual, class 1-2; 2-straight up the mountainside would be shorter, dauntedly steep, class 2-3. From our vantage point, we had sunny skies and a snowy weather forecast so we chose the latter(pic11). Slowly, methodically and eagerly, we picked out way up on stable grassy patches and summited the crest in reasonable time. It was a heartpounding effort. We could see clouds in the distance so we split to climb our primary goals. I to Tweto and he to Buckskin.

It was a Class3-4 entertaining ridge to Tweto. Highly exposed, there was somewhat of a trail along the SW side and a couple places I had to hug the rock blocks to continue forth(pic12). I had a fun time conquering the challenges it offered. I thanked my lucky stars that the surface was dry and stable because snow on the non-sunny N side going steeply down(pic13) was wet and slick. Pic14of getting closer to the Tweto summit. However the sky was looking worrisome and as the wind picked up speed, so did I. And success: on MtTweto(pic15-16).

Ogden Tweto(1912-1983) was one of my heros. In the very past, I worked in the oil&gas industry. Rocks are the story blocks about the earth. Twetos colorful geological map not only decorated my white office wall but was a vital and fast visual reference to ID sedimentary sections. I saved MtTweto because it had a commemorative plaque as a finishing touch for climbing all the Mosquito Pass & Buckskin Gulch 13ers this year. The views were spectacular(pic17 of Climax mine; pic18 looking at Buckskin;pic19 toward Leadville). I took a few moments to celebrate but I clearly could see the winter weather moving toward me and that was a warning to save Arkansas for another time.

I hurried down kinda of the saddle through the talus and downhill to the grass fairly quick(pic20 going down and pic21 looking back up). I took shortcuts where I could. When I looked back at the ridge I could see the ominous skies topping the ridge(pic22) and a selfie (pic23). Hunting for a shorter cut to the car, I found a trail(pic24-25). As I stood atop an outcropping(pic26) I could see the gnarly willows stretching N-S across the valley. Bushwhacking or taking the jeep trail longly back were the choices that moment. But yea, I spotted a space between them(pic27). It was a trail! Down the hill I connected with a faint line that lead to hopping rocks crossing Mosquito Creek (pic28) which opened into an old mining camp(pic29-30). Walking up a little hill(pic31) I reconnected on the jeep trail(pic32), found a flower(pic33), a buttefly(pic34) and scooted back to the car(pic35). The temps were holding steady so I changed into dry clothes. Perfect timing for as I was starting the car, snow accumulated on the windshield(pic36). As I drove back to Alma, there were still golden leaves on trees(pic37-38).

Back on CO9, was fall weather. I had one more stop to finish the National Forest Auto Tours: the Alma cemetery(pic39). Located 1.2 m W of Alma, a dirt road spurs discreetly up a hillside. Established as a burial ground for those who lived/worked in Buckskin Gulch, eccentric grave markers memorialize individualistic souls(pic40-44). Exiting the cemetery I could see the snow moving E down the gulch(pic45). It was a fun season completing my goals but it was time to head home. Pic46-47 of last fall foliage with snow on windshield crossing Hoosier Pass.

In sum, MtTweto was a doable, satisfying climb. At its South face, the peak was always visible with easy navigation via a Class2 established motor vehicle or hiking path. At its feet, going W up the rocky alpine field, bending toward Tweto across the talus continues a Class2 hike. For a second choice, climbing up the mountainside to scramble the traverse is a Class3-4 adventure. Whichever route, the summit rewards success with magnificent views of 5 ranges: Tenmile, Mosquito, Front and Sawatch. Itself is located in the Pike & Isabel National Forest. What makes this peak unique is the plaque for its namesake. Although he dedicated his life identifying the characteristics of the mineral belt, his colored CO map is his everlasting contribution to geology. As a rock hound hobbyist, I do look down while hiking, particularly in gold territory. Glad I got to do so before the colorful rocks were covered with snow.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53

Comments or Questions
tweto guy
01/10/2022 20:56
Those were the days of oil&gas. And Tweto was a brilliant mind for his novel color idea. I colored many maps, before Cad, with pencils according to the Tweto standards. A lot easier than black and white pixels.
This mountain is a fitting tribute to him and sounds fun and easy to climb going up the W saddle. Have to give a try after reading your report.

01/11/2022 12:48
Another one of my favorite areas. Thanks for putting this up.

Nice pics!
01/21/2022 15:05
Love the shot of the Mourning Cloak, being an amateur entomologist at heart. I'll have to put Tweto on my list.

   Not registered?

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2023®, 14ers Inc.