Pomeroy to Carbonate: A Sawatch Six Pack

      10 Comments on Pomeroy to Carbonate: A Sawatch Six Pack

Steve 1/3rd of the way across the long connecting ridge between 13,070 and Grizzly Mountain in the Southern Sawatch.

Peaks

Pomeroy Mountain A (Ranked, 13,151′)
Unnamed 13,070 (Ranked, 13,070′)
Grizzly Mountain (Ranked, 13,708′)
Cronin Peak (Ranked, 13,870′)
“Low Carb” (Unranked,13,591′)
Cyclone Mountain A (Ranked,13, 596′)
Carbonate Mountain A (Ranked, 13, 663′)

Stats

12.8 miles
6,350 gained
10 hours


This past Saturday morning Steve and I motored down to Poncha Springs and up road 240 to the historic Shavano townsite. Armed with a prototypical September forecast and only one day at our disposal, we hoped to get some good bang for our buck out of the day. Earlier in the week we set our sights on a ridge run from Pomeroy Mountain to Carbonate Mountain (including Cronin), a loop we knew had been documented a few times already but a somewhat rare one nonetheless.

From the Shavano townsite we bounced along in Steve’s trusty RAV4 and parked it to the north of Billings Lake high in North Fork. After gearing up we made good time up Pomeroy Mountain’s southeast slopes to its summit.

Steve is all smiles as we near our first summit of the day – Pomeroy Mountain.

Of all the things I appreciated about this high alpine ridge run, the views it lent us was at the top of the list. These peaks are tucked away in a unique area, one neither of us had visited before. It took us a few minutes and a glance at the map to realize we were staring at the backside of Aetna, Taylor, and Missouri Hill, with Monumental Peak poking its head out above the ridge line to our south. To the north we enjoyed views of Pomeroy and Grizzly Lakes, which are accessible from the Chalk Creek Road to the west of St. Elmo.

A look back at Pomeroy from the connecting ridge to 13,070. We were able to keep the terrain at class 3 through here.

After tagging our first summit, we were treated to some of the better scrambling the day had to offer on the traverse over to Pt. 13,070. It went at class 3 and entailed a number of fun slab moves along a series of crumbly gendarmes. For the most part the rock was solid, and dropping slightly off the ridge line to the north made things easier in a few spots. We topped out on 13,070 about 40 minutes after leaving Pomeroy’s summit.

Views down into the colorful basin to our north (that’s Grizzly Lake and Mt. Mamma in the distance).

We rounded the corner along the ridge crest and finally had Grizzly Mountain in our sights.

The stretch from Pt. 13,070 to Grizzly was definitely the longest of the entire loop and entailed the most elevation drop/regain (the first photo in this TR shows the down climb off Pt. 13,070 and the first part of the ridge over to Grizzly). Steve and I both agreed that Pomeroy and 13,070 are the two peaks to cut out of this loop if one is looking for a shorter day out. With the weather holding calm and sunny we grunted up Grizzly’s south ridge and topped out on our third peak. After talking ourselves out of trying for Mt. Mamma (those who know Steve and I would be proud), we fueled up and started off towards Cronin.

Some of the more interesting terrain of the entire day came between Grizzly Mountain and Cronin. Here’s Steve working out a short section of class 4.

Once on the Cronin/Cyclone connecting ridge we took another look at the weather and decided that Cronin was definitely in the cards. Although I had summited Cronin before in the spring and skied down the northeast face, I was curious to check it out during the summer months via the southeast ridge. Steve was even more motivated to get Cronin as he’s loosely working on the Centennials and had yet to bag it. We made good time up the gentle ridge and topped out around 1:30pm.

The fourth peak on our agenda, Mt. Cronin, in our sights with the weather holding just fine.

Fourteener Mt. Antero (left) and Bicentennial Mt. White (right) seen from Cronin’s summit.

After spending a good amount of time on Cronin we reversed our route back down to the “T” junction on the ridge line and headed south for our final few peaks of the day. We made our way up and over “Low Carb”, an unranked hump along the ridge, before topping out on our fifth peak, Cyclone Mountain.

Steve was diligent enough to sign is both in on every summit, as he is doing here on top of Cyclone.

From Cyclone we plodded on over to Carbonate, which given the length of the ridge we had already traversed seemed like a skip and a hop away. On the summit we spent a few minutes chatting with a trio of 14ers.com/LOJ members we ran into, then parted ways and began the long talus descent back down to the road.

Descending towards Carbonate Mountain, our dessert for the day.

Six for six on Carbonate Mountain’s summit.

Descending Carbonate’s southwest slopes went easier than I expected, and after briefly finding a trail before losing it again, we popped out on Road 240 near its intersection with Cyclone Creek. Although we would have liked to believe the day was over, we still had a 3 mile, 1,100 foot slog back to the car parked on the north side of Billings Lake. We turned off our brains and made it to the car in roughly 45 minutes, but not before stopping to check out some of the changing aspens in the area.

Changing leaves signify that fall (and ski season) is well on its way. I can’t wait!

Map Code

A map of the loop.

Moonlight Pizza in Salida provided the cherry on top of what was already a great day in the hills. Steve, it was great getting out with ya buddy, let’s do it again sometime.

Cheers!

10 thoughts on “Pomeroy to Carbonate: A Sawatch Six Pack

  1. DKYarian (Zambo)

    Not easy to find many quality class 4 routes in the Sawatch! Looks like you guys found a solid one tho – great effort on this, guys. I’ve eyed that run for a while – definitely a cool way to grab a bunch of peaks in a pretty cool area. Must have been fun to get back there and have another view of White & Antero after this winter as well, eh Benny? Nice short and sweet report guys – thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      For sure man! I was chuckling inside when I saw that a few people had driven to the same spot we dropped our skis off to go hit White (not that you and I would ever do such a thing). Quite the difference snow season can make on some of these peaks.

      Reply
  2. Dillon

    Looks like a sweet day out boys! Big day for sure… even for Gendarme Steve and Bennygoat! 🙂 Some parts of the Sawatch are very underrated and this sure does seem to fit that bill. Nice report Benny as always. It’s great to see one from you buddy. Nice shots as well man. Cheers to your six pack!

    Reply
  3. Steve

    Nice write-up, Ben! Thanks for sharing a great outing in this scenic part of the Sawatch and also sharing your low carb, lightly carbonated energy drink on the summit of “Lo Carb” as we evaluated the push over Cyclone to Carbonate.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Mike, I agree that one came out really well. And yes, I’m about ready to put knee-bashing talus slogs on hiatus and ski some pow. I’ve heard this ski season might be a heavy one. Thanks for checking in!

      Reply

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