Tenmile Traverse In Photos: Peak 1 to Crystal

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As I sit to write this post, two things are my mind:

First, there is a lot of great beta on the Tenmile Traverse, including some excellent TR’s. I relied heavily on Steve Knapp’s, Anton Krupicka’s, and Geojed’s reports while prepping for this. Thank you to each of them for the excellent details and info. Because of this, I do not feel I need to add all that much more to the collective knowledge set for this route. Others have documented it well.

Second, I have been reading too many (non-mountain) blogs by my fellow millennials lately. It is grinding on me. The style in which we rant, rave, and ramble on about life is draining. Sometimes it is nice to dump all your thoughts into a computer screen, sure. But more often than not, let’s face it: nothing we have to say is all that original or engaging. And I am no exception – I am just as guilty of this as anyone else.

So, with those two things said, I have decided to keep this post all about the visuals. Here is the story of Dillon and my traverse across most of the Tenmile Range, told via images, photos, and some brief captions.

Tenmile Traverse In Photos: Peak 1 to Crystal

(Photo by Zambo)

  • Climbers: Dillon & Zambo
  • Peaks:
    • Mt. Royal: 10,502 (unranked)
    • Mt. Victoria: 11,775(unranked)
    • Peak 1: 12,805′(unranked)
    • Tenmile Peak: 12,933′
    • Peak 3: 12,676′(unranked)
    • Peak 4: 12,856′
    • Peak 5: 12,855′(unranked)
    • Peak 6: 12,573′(unranked)
    • Peak 7: 12,655′(unranked)
    • Peak 8: 12,987
    • Peak 9: 13,195′
    • Peak 10: 13,633′
    • Crystal Peak: 13,852′
  • Distance: Approx 18 Miles
  • Vert: 9,071 Feet
  • Total Trip Time: 11 Hours

A 4:30 AM start had us huffing and puffing up the brutually steep Mt. Royal Trail. The first 3,800 feet of the day really made us earn it, but the views back over summit county sure were nice. (Photo by Zambo)

The summit of Mt. Royal (the non-descript, 10er above Frisco) was dark and uneventful. If you search carefully in the dark, you might find the common ‘summit county broville’ specimen lurking underneath the numerous wooden shanty sites and campfire rings, but we did not this day. Regardless, we didn’t have real light until the unranked 11er – Mt. Victoria – a bit further up. Here is Dillon trying to telepathically beam news of good traffic patterns via the summit county radio waves. (Spoiler alert: he failed.) (Photo by Zambo)

Did I mention Peak 1 is steep and way above the parking lot? 3,700 feet of gain + following a Sarnelli is a sure-fire way to blast your calves first thing in the morning. (Photo by Dillon)

But despite the blitz up, rising with the sun to look over the Gores is never a bad way to start the day. Never. (Photo by Dillon)

All class 2 junk to the top of Peak 1. Almost there now. (Photo by Zambo)

Apparently we missed a few key items during our climb of Peak 1. These were the summit county headlines two days later. True story: http://www.summitdaily.com/news/crime/17671185-113/summit-county-coroner-investigates-human-skull-found-on

Peak 1 had been climbed. Now on to Peak 2. The first ‘official’ summit would set up the pattern for the day: climb up, reach the top, descend, repeat. Now, do that 13 times. If you look really close you can see Crystal, miles and miles away. (Photo by Dillon)

The traverse from Peak 1 to Tenmile Peak was more class 2 in a typically gorgeous alpine setting. (Photo by Zambo)

From Tenmile Peak (Peak 2) to Peak 4 was the scrambling. Not nearly as complicated as it looks, generally speaking the ridge was firm and fun, only very rarely exceeding Class 3. Dropping to the west of the ridge almost always presented the easiest options. The only place where this was mandatory was between Peaks 2 & 3, which we did in two different sections. (Photo by Dillon)

(Photo by Dillon)

(Photo by Zambo)

Views of the east side of the ridge, with The Dragon showing prominently between Peaks 2 & 3. This was the first section to drop to the west and enjoy the melodious sounds of I-70, some 3,000 feet below. (Photo by Zambo)

Somewhere along the ridge. The route finding was mostly obvious – we simply followed the path of least resistance. (Photo by Zambo)

Of course, every now and we decided to throw in some 5.12+, overhanging lie-back moves, just to keep it interesting. This is me doing my best Brandon Chalk impersonation. (Photo by Dillon)

(Photo by Zambo)

On the way up to Peak 4. This section of ridge provided the most solid, fun rock of the day. (Photo by Dillon)

Reaching one of a few mini knife-edges, just to keep it interesting. (Photo by Dillon)

Dilly’s turn. He took the opportunity to work on his heel-lock moves on Class 3 terrain. (Photo by Zambo)

(Photo by Zambo)

Reaching the top of Peak 4, the day’s difficulties were behind us. Given this fact, as well as the bluebird skies, it seemed a fitting spot to take the summit selfie. (Photo by Zambo)

One of the remarkable characteristics of this ridge-run is just how dramatically the terrain shifts. Rocky ridges give way to grassy, gentle slopes almost instantly beyond Peak 4. The remainder of the day consisted of a whole lot of up and down over gentle alpine tundra. Glorious. (Photo by Dillon)

(Photo by Dillon)

Peaks 5-10 are all over Breckenridge. I have skied these lines hundreds of times, so it was very fun to be there in a whole new setting. (Photo by Dillon)

Copper. (Photo by Zambo)

With the terrain as nice as it is, it only made sense to jog the flats and downhills. (Photo by Zambo)

Copper beyond. (Photo by Zambo)

(Photo by Zambo)

Along the Colorado Trail for a very brief stint between Peak 5 & 6. (Photo by Zambo)

(Photo by Dillon)

After many hours of moving, the awaiting 13ers finally came into close view. But not before a quick trip over the Lake Chutes. (Photo by Zambo)

(Photo by Zambo)

At the trail crossing between 8 & 9. Someone described the ascent up 9 as the “heartbreaker” of this route. No arguments from me. It’s a long way from 8. (Photo by Zambo)

Going from 9 to 10 wasn’t much better. I knew the grundle-slope was climbable, but the road looked much more forgiving. Plus the low point offered a chance to refill waters. After 11 peaks already, it was time to be lazy. (Photo by Zambo)

Looking back to Peak 9. (Photo by Zambo)

On the road to 10. (Photo by Zambo)

(Photo by Zambo)

The good life. After a successful ascent of Peak 10 we did what we set out to do. The only problem was, Crystal was right there. And it’s a Centennial. Dillon knew I had to go. What’s 2 more miles and 800 more vert at this point anyways? Dillon decided to stay behind and work on some local mountain surfer girls while I went for the peak. Easy traversing had me there and back in no time. (Photo by Dillon)

Peak 10 views. (Photo by Zambo)

Backside of Peak 10. (Photo by Zambo)

Atop the Centennial. The blue birds continued to sing, and I looked back to enjoy views of the day’s efforts. (Photo by Zambo)

Meanwhile, back at Peak 10, Dillon got some Facebooking in to realize just what awaited him on the drive home. Those positive radio waves backfired, it seemed. (PS: If you are reading this from out of state, please don’t move here. This is what awaits you.)

All that was left was a road-jog down to the Peak 9 restaurant. After Katie took the wrong road and nearly tipped the Rav-4, they decided to wait for us at the bottom. No matter – a nice couple gave us a ride down in their Wrangler instead. We were all too happy to hitch and avoid an extra 3 miles trudging through blue ski runs on peak 9. (Photo by Zambo)

And finally, one last look at the vert for the first 10 peaks. (Courtesy of Summit Post)

In closing, I highly recommend this route. It is a huge day to be sure, but the variations and position are spectacular. The perch over Frisco is a good way to start, the scrambling early on is very enjoyable, and the alpine tundra trekking after that is about as good and consistent as anywhere in the state. In fact, I think you would be hard pressed to find a sustained, gentle ridge quite it like almost anywhere else. (With the very likely exception of the San Juans).

Overall we had a great time. Many thanks to Dillon who was, as always, an excellent partner to get out there on something like this. I am glad we got the chance to knock this off as it had been on my list for some time – it was fun to spend the day together. Thanks dood!

Ok….if I say anything else I risk rambling. Thank you for reading if you did. Happy climbing to you all!

5 thoughts on “Tenmile Traverse In Photos: Peak 1 to Crystal

  1. Brandon Chalk

    So excellent, Zambo! Gorgeous pics as usual and a great “picture caption” write-up! I like that format. You guys certainly rocked it, man. Well done and congrats! Your report brings back some good memories of that ridge run from back in July of 2010 with Kristine. Such a fun day. I loved that scrambling up to Peak 4 – definitely the best of the route. Cheers, fellas!

  2. Ben

    Sweet! Looks like a fun traverse, one that I’ll probably have to check out someday and this TR will help point the way I’m sure. Thanks for posting it Zambo, and great job to both of you guys!

  3. Brian

    You guys could’ve put an exclamation point on this traverse by starting the day with the multi-pitch 5.9 Royal Flush sport route!
    Was there any snow left in the 4th of July Bowl on Pk.10?
    Sweet outing!

    1. DKYarian (Zambo) Post author

      Not only was there snow, dear Brian, but there were two skiers making the most of it for a mid-August “descent”! I kept waffling back and forth between thinking it was the stupidest idea ever (the ‘line’ looked horrendous) and having respect for getting out there in the summer.

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