San Juan County High Point Trip Report

Date: May 27, 2000
Author: Dave Covill

Saturday we got a late start and were at the TH for Mt. Peale (12,700 feet) about noon. We parked at La Sal Pass, 10,000 feet even, and went up through a meadow, then an aspen grove, then a thick fir forest, then around a steep basin. We headed for a thin, relatively gentle snow-filled couloir that leads up the east edge of the basin, all the way to the ridge crest at approximately 12,150 feet. The talus and fir stands were time-consuming, but once we hit the couloir, we hiked up it with ice-axes about 1,000-foot vertical. We hit the ridge, and had a faint trail across manageable talus to the summit approximately 1/2 mile away. Best weather I've ever had on an alpine summit, around 70d, no wind, 100% blue skies. We got down around 7PM, via a great couloir glissade, and a short walk through fir near the edge of a talus slope, then onto a different meadow further east, directly under the south face of Peale, then cutting back to the TH on a faint goat path through an aspen grove. This place would be terrific in September, and rivals Steamboat CO for the amount of aspen trees. If I went back, I would stop approximately 3/4 mile short of La Sal Pass, and go straight up the road we took down, TH would be approximately 9,900 feet. I would also not go later than around June 5th, so as to be able to use the snow-filled couloir. It would be quite hot here in summer.