North Ridge of Tijeras Peak and South Ridge of Music Mountain
Peaks Included: Tijeras PeakMusic Mountain
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Difficulty:
 Class 4 
Snow Steepness: Moderate  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Considerable  
 
Trailhead:Music Pass
Start:10,560 feet
Summit:13,604 feet
Total Gain:3,300 feet
RT Length:14.00 miles
Author:markf
Updated:7/2022
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:21 reports
Sheriff:Saguache: 719-655-2544
Forest:San Isabel
Wilderness:Sangre De Cristo
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?WARNING!
This route should only be climbed with consolidated snow, in SPRING or early summer. Climbing this route in mid-winter could put you in DEADLY avalanche conditions.

Trailhead

Take Colorado 69 south from Westcliffe. Drive 4.5 miles and turn right on Colfax Lane. Drive 5.5 miles to the end of Colfax. At a signed junction, turn left onto Music Pass Road (CR 119). Follow the good dirt road approx. 5.2 miles to reach the Grape Creek TH, which is also the end of 2WD on the Music Pass Road. To continue to the 4WD Music Pass TH, drive straight through Grape Creek and continue nearly 3 miles up the rough, narrow road to reach the trailhead.

Route

The Music Pass TH is 4WD access. For 2WD access, park at Grape Creek TH and walk 3 miles up the road, with 1270 feet of elevation gain. There is good dispersed camping at the Grape Creek TH, as well as at the Music Pass TH. From the Music Pass TH, follow the Music Pass trail over Music Pass and down to Sand Creek. At Sand Creek, cross the creek and follow the Lower Sand Creek trail to the outlet of Lower Sand Creek Lake. There are excellent campsites around Lower Sand Creek Lake. Follow the north shore of the lake and skirt around the trees at the far (western) side of the lake, then head up to the cliff band on the ridge line between Tejiras and Music Mountain. Your goal is a narrow chute/couloir that starts at the low point of the base of the cliff band, much closer to Tejiras than it is to Music Mountain. The bottom of this couloir is just about due west of the outlet to Lower Sand Creek Lake. I measured a bearing of 84 degrees from the base of the couloir to the outlet of Lower Sand Creek Lake. With good snow cover this couloir is doable in micro spikes; When dry there are a few 3rd/4th class moves at the bottom. I saw a few cairns in the couloir. From the exit from the couloir, pick your line to the north ridge of Tejiras, then head up the ridge to the summit of Tejiras. Getting to the summit ridge of Tejiras is an easy snow walk or an easy scree walk, depending on the season; the ridge itself is 3rd class. From the summit of Tejiras head back down the ridge, and follow the ridge line across to Music Mountain. There is a small bump on the ridge line that I contoured around on the east side. The start to the south ridge of Music Mountain has a short stretch of 4th class terrain; after that it's mostly 2nd/3rd class. From the summit, backtrack to where the East Ridge route joins the North Ridge. At first glance the East Ridge looks scary, but it's actually pretty mellow with a little bit of 3rd class. Somewhere around tree line I I picked up a faint, intermittent user trail that got me back to the lake's outlet. There's also a faint, intermittent user trail that will get you to the start of the couloir on your way up.

Notes

1. Finding the couloir that I described from above is not easy if you want to descend without summiting Music Mountain. Hence my commitment rating of "considerable". I'd suggest dropping a GPS waypoint when exiting the couloir on the way up. Downclimbing the couloir on dry rock would entail some tricky moves at the bottom. The Mountain Project description of the N Ridge of Tejiras refers to two couloirs that can be used to access the Tejiras-Music Mountain ridge line; the only other possibility that I saw (midway between Tejiras and Music Mountain) looks like it might be doable as a snow climb, but the steepness and the rubble field at the top made it look pretty scary when dry.

2. The Lower Sand Creek Lake trail has a fair number of downed trees blocking it,. NPS has made a fair bit of progress in clearing the trail this summer, but there are still a good number of trees on the trail. I was told that it will be 2023 or later before the trees are completely removed.

3. The old user trail around Lower Sand Creek Lake is also blocked by lots of downed trees. On your way up, skirt around the trees at the northwestern side of the lake. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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