Montezuma County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: August 28, 2004
Author: W.K. Mallory

We climbed both Hesperus and Lavender using the connecting ridge. It didn't seem to be as bad as it looked. With a relatively moderate pace, it took us 2:33 to reach the summit of Hesperus using Covill and Mitchler's description from the trailhead. It took 1:56 to traverse to Lavender.

The first obstacle on the ridge is a notch that needs to be bypassed well below it on its south side. I believe we dropped to about 12,600 feet on scree and talus, and had to scramble down the last bit into the gully on dark rock. It was easy to climb out of the gully on the other side where we began gradually contouring up on scree/talus back up to the ridge crest. There is one more notch to overcome. For this, there is an unexpected gap in the rock near the crest of the ridge that offers easy access into the notch. From the top of this notch, we descended slightly in the south-facing gully before climbing out of it and onto Lavender's south face. I didn't traverse far enough onto Lavender's south face before forcing a Class 4 route up, but found the easier Class 3 route down that Teresa had taken up. The rock here is very solid and blocky, and a lot of fun.

After scrambling back down, it was easy to continue to the Moss/Lavender saddle. Moss was easy to climb from here - 33 minutes from the summit of Lavender. We then descended north from the Moss/Lavender saddle - it's typical loose scree/talus that so common in the San Juans. There was even a little old snow at the base of it. We hiked north over a few ups and downs on the large talus bench below Centennial's eastern cliffs, gained Centennial's north ridge where it was easy to do so, and then hiked a trail to Centennial's summit (1:57 from Moss's summit). And if that wasn't enough, we had to grab Sharkstooth too! (55 minutes from Centennial). An excellent 10:09 day with perfect weather.

Webmaster's comment: I am uncertain whether the technical level of this route merits considering it one that is doable by the majority of highpointers - especially the Hesperus to Lavender traverse. An overall assessment of the technical issues is desired.