Montezuma County Highpoint Trip Report

Hesperus Mountain (13,232 ft)

Date: July 7, 2004
Author: Layne Bracy

route from Sharkstooth Trailhead (10,900 ft)

My folks and siblings are spending a few days in Pagosa Springs, so I took the opportunity to nab this distant HP. My wife, Amy, siblings Becca and Andrew, and I formed the party. From Durango it takes about an hour to reach the trailhead via Mancos.

The peak is visible from the trailhead and is impressive looking. Large horizontal bands of color span the pyramidal peak. We headed southeast to the West Mancos trail. After crossing the stream, we turned west, and after 10 minutes started bushwhacking south towards the west ridge. We aimed for the ridge just right(west) of the summit pyramid.

The ascent up the 1000-foot scree slope was grueling. It was fairly steep and loose. Attempts to ascend the rock ribs were futile, as seemingly good holds would threaten to split off. At one point, I dislodged a 100-pound boulder, which missed my brother by a couple feet. From that point on we ascended in parallel.

After attaining the ridge, we headed up left on or near the edge, generally following a faint trail. We did enjoy some class 3 on the ridge, a welcome break from the loose scree.

It took 2 hours, 35 minutes to summit. We had great views, including Lizard Head and the Wilsons to the north. The area is beautiful; wildflowers are in bloom, and fossils can be found in the fragmented shale. The way back was much better, as the scree was easy to descend.

The mileage and elevation gain are deceiving on this strenuous hike, but we found it well worth it to experience this less-visited peak.

Climb statistics: 5.0 miles round-trip; about 2,800 feet of elevation gain.