Montezuma County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: October 24, 2005
Author: Bill Schuler

For Hesperus, I started from Mancos and drove through Tamarack Basin to the Sharktooth trailhead. I followed Mitchler and Covill's route up the black shale gully from the West Mancos River to a notch in the West ridge. Lots of loose scree and talus on a trail that disappears occasionally gets you up the ridge to the summit.

From the top, the traverse over to Lavender looked doable if a few notches were negotiable. Only one way to find out. I started down and made pretty good time until near a deep notch. I had to drop down quite a ways (about 12,600 ft) to bypass it. Reclimbingon the other side of the notch, the terrain got increasingly loose, slabby and icy. After taking a slipping fall and cutting my arm, I decided that prudence was the name of the game so I headed back.

On the way back, about 200 ft east of the lowest notch, I met two climbers (Joe and Heff) who were roped and were headed to Lavender. After a bit of conversation, they invited me to rope in with them and I jumped at the chance.

As we passed the area where I turned around, we approached the blocky and solid twin summits. I had just spent almost 3 hours on the ridge (time flies when you're having fun) and I was wiped out after negotiating the summit blocks.

I had leveled to Lavender from Hesperus and Lavender looked lower (through my El Cheapo level). Sighting back to Hesperus from Lavender gave the same results. Given the spire-like shape of Lavender, I can't see how the USGS could have left off two contours.

After a good rest, we returned to the notch area, unroped and started down, first some slabby stuff and then some talus and scree which we negotiated in a controlled fall. I sure wouldn't want to climb up this loose, crappy slope.

The next morning, I climbed Centennial Peak from Sharktooth Pass. The ridge over to Lavender from there looked horrendous. I'll let someone else attempt that one.