Peak(s):  Point 13,656
Date Posted:  09/19/2022
Date Climbed:   09/15/2022
Author:  Furthermore
 Sangre New LiDAR 13er   

Point 13,656 (formally Point 13,660)

September 15, 2022

~8.9 miles, 3,000 gain

TH: Lilly Lake/Huerfano Trailhead (high-clearance highly recommended) ~3 hours from Denver

Max difficulty: Class 3-4

Being a new LiDAR 13er summit, Point 13,656 has seen a tenfold increase in traffic in the last year. Originally, I was hoping to climb a fantastic-looking moderate couloir on its northeast face but now it's a bit late in the season. After reviewing a few reports, I wanted to avoid the loose talus choss battle to gain the ridge and after scouring over some photos, I found some potential scrambling/technical lines on the peak's northeast face. Initially, I wanted to rope in (pun intended) an alpine partner for a technical route on the northeast face; however, nightmares from my attempted Ormes Buttress climb over 20 years ago made me second guess that decision. A few exciting north spur arêtes "peaked" my curiosity, especially one that lined the edge of my original couloir.

My schedule was in a last-minute flux and partners were non-existent for such shenanigans. I left Denver on a rainy afternoon and completed the 3 hour drive to the trailhead and a best-I-could-do level parking spot satisfied my sleeping accommodation in the car. I woke up at 5:15 AM and hit the all-too-familiar Lilly Lake Trail in the dark by 5:30 AM.

I reached Lilly Lake around 7:15 AM, hiked along its northeast shore, and started the arduous talus hop westward. I located the dry couloir and found the narrow arête I was seeking. I bounded up talus and began scrambling up fairly solid white rock to the base of the arête. A bit stout, I attempted scrambling directly up the arête but backed off (stiff class 4). I continued up the left side of the dry couloir and then easily gained the ridge via a much easier class 3 scramble 100 feet above the direct start.

Morning light.

Sunrise on Blanca. Kinda of sorta.

Point 13,618 (sub-summit)

Lilly Lake

Continuous class 3 scrambling on surprisingly good rock guided me upwards as I stayed directly on the arête. The upper portion of the ridge looked daunting but was surprisingly more straightforward than it appeared. Near the top, I stayed just to the right of the ridge crest. Clouds rolled in and surrounded the upper ridge. I intersected Point 13,656's southeast ridge but headed the wrong way due to the low visibility. I ended up summitting Point 13,618, checked my GPS, and then discovered my navigational error. I then headed northwest along the ridge to the correct summit. Before reaching the summit, a narrow knife-edge ridge blocked easy progress, which I easily bypassed on the ridge's left (southwest) side.

White rock and arête. Dry couloir to the right.

On the arête proper.

Looking down the lower section.

Fun solid upper slabs

Looking down the ridge higher up.

Lilly Lake

Last upper section.

Clouds rolling in.

Upper portion (easier than it appears)

I arrived at the summit at 8:30 AM with zero views. Retracing my steps down the southeast ridge, I went to the top of the dry couloir and then descended the couloir. The rock was less than ideal but provided relatively easy access to the basin. I returned to the Lily Lake Trail and reached the trailhead at 10:30 AM. Now for the long drive to the San Juans for my remaining LiDAR 13ers.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Boggy B
Nice route
09/19/2022 09:12
I also was hoping to take the couloir, but that ship sailed much too early this season (instead I took the NW ridge complete over 13660 from Zapata).
Your route looks more fun.

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