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[TR] Monte Cristo Area - Columbia, Kyes, Monte Cristo & Cadet Peaks 07/21/2018

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Trip: Monte Cristo Area - Columbia, Kyes, Monte Cristo & Cadet Peaks

Trip Date: 07/21/2018

Trip Report:

Last Friday evening and Saturday I explored the Monte Cristo area by connecting four of the major peaks in a big full value alpine loop.5b5aa41e85761_MonteCristo.thumb.PNG.d42d03e61acb30d52766dbf7b7ee22ed.PNG

 

I left the office early afternoon on Friday and found myself biking the old Monte Cristo road around typical quitting time.  First view of Columbia set my spirits sailing:

 

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Couple hours later below the upper mountain:

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I made quick work of the scramble up Columbia and scouted Saturday's peaks.  I wasn't sure if Kyes was going to be on the itinerary tomorrow, but the 5400' west face snow ramp was mostly connected and it all looked like it would go.  Better yet, it looked as though their would be a snow traverse to Monte Cristo Peak high on the west side of Kyes:

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After descending down to 6000' on the west shoulder of Columbia I settled into my bivy for the night:

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I was up and moving across the 76 glacier towards Wilmans Pass and then Monte Cristo Pass early on Saturday morning.  Looking down the Columbia glacier and Blanca Lake from Monte Cristo Pass:

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I descended to the glacier and on towards a large right facing gully and made my way up to the South Ridge of Kyes.  Cresting the ridge gave this view of Kyes summit:

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Class 3 scramble on the left got me to the top. View towards the next course, Monte Cristo Peak:IMG_9969.thumb.JPG.c0b2be34537daa5f8a270fb6bc94c1fa.JPG

 

I descended the Kyes summit block back to the south ridge and found a short cliff leading down to the west face snow slopes.  Two loose 15m raps got me over the cliff and traversing the steep snow of the west face, eventually leading to some rock scrambling and finally to the Kyes/MC col and then the north side of Monte Cristo Peak.  From there I found the short fifth class pitch leading to class 3 scrambling above.  A large moat blocked access to the rock, but the moat had caved in ~100' north of the rock pitch and I was able to scramble down in the moat and get to the rock pitch, now an extra 20' tall out of the icy hole.  I self belayed the short fifth class pitch:

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And scrambled to the top.  Immediately looking forward to my next peak, Cadet:

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Another couple raps and I was back on the snowy north face of MCP.  Traverse to the north col, descend towards Glacier Basin.  At ~EL 5800 I started a hard traverse towards the south face of Cadet.  A perfect goat path led me across the bottom of the face where I eventually picked up the climbers trail to the top.  The first trail of any kind I'd seen since Friday evening on the way to Columbia.  Up the trail to the summit of Cadet, then reversing the trail down and into Glacier Basin with a view back up towards Monte Cristo Peak:

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Finally hustling back to the ghost town, my bike, and my truck, my home, and my family.  Passing this on the way out.  James Kyes was an interesting man.  His memorial deserves some maintenance:

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The Monte Cristo area is a great compact alpine playground!

Gear Notes:
30m rope, a couple pieces for Monte Cristo Peak

Approach Notes:
Bike the Old Monte Cristo road with the log crossing. I took the new old Wagon Road on the way out and it just adds extra mileage and worse, extra elevation gain.
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Always wanted to try something similar, until I didnt.  When looking at it on the map it looks like the perfect loop with potential to bag many peaks and log many miles. great job. you think it might still need some tweeking? (starting or ending it) I was looking to end it near the william spires to finish

Edited by kukuzka1

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Lovely. Great vision and execution. I need to get back in there again. It's been too long.

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