…continued from Part II…
After summiting Mt. Silex and The Guardian, Steve and I returned to our camp and packed up under darkening late-morning skies. We slowly but surely worked our way out Leviathan Creek and up the Vallecito drainage to a nice campsite just off the trail around 11,500 ft to the north of a few prominent waterfalls. Tired but ecstatic to be nearing the finish line of our trip, we set up camp under a nice sunset and cooked up some grub before trading it in a tad earlier than we had in nights previous. I’m not sure about Steve but I was pretty tanked at this point and ready to get over Hunchback and down to Silverton for a much anticipated beer and post climb feast.
Day 5: Hunchback Mountain, White Dome, Peak One, and the deproach
Before we were going to allow ourselves the aforementioned luxuries however, we decided to throw one final objective into the mix – a set of three 13ers extending west from Hunchback Pass which we knew would add a definitive explanation point to our trip. An early wake up call in the morning had us packed up before sunrise and heading for the pass.
We dropped our packs, taking the extra time to rig up some webbing and hang them over a 12 foot cliff to avoid any more unwanted marmot visitations. From there we took advantage of the benefits brought on by 4 days of acclimation and peakbagging, summiting Hunchback mountain in about 25 minutes from the pass. From there we could see the the ridge run over to White Dome and beyond. Peak One looked pretty far away.
We rated White Dome in the top half of the peaks we hit on this trip, mainly because of the fun series of class 3 scramble sections we found en route to its summit. The rock was solid through these sections and a few moves were interesting to figure out.
From the top of White Dome we made our way down its west ridge, which entailed a few loose down climbs and some more precarious ridge scrambling than either of us were expecting. Up and down a few humps and we had Peak One in our sights, not to be denied our 12th peak.
We topped out on Peak One and exchanged high fives. It felt really good to have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. I’ve said it in the past but trips like this have a way of creating a certain level of anxiety, if for no other reason than we seemingly get the opportunity for such outings so rarely. It’s always super nice when it all comes together, and on this trip, it really did. We made sure to savor the last summit. And a very scenic summit it was…
After soaking it all in and gulping down the last bit of our liquids, we took an efficient route down One and across the south side of White Dome, which led us through some nice flower fields and lent us views of another “crazy blue” lake down below.
From the southeast slope of White Dome we contoured around to the north of Vallecito Lake and ascended to a prominent notch in Hunchback Mountain’s south ridge. It was slow going but we eventually made it to the notch, from which we made an easy contour back over to our packs.
Saddled up for the final time, we plodded on down the north side of Hunchback Pass under the afternoon sun, reaching the car around 2pm. From there it was down to Silverton (thankfully Steve’s brake lines weren’t chewed in half by our furry friends) for a copious amount of pizza and IPA.
This one will live on in my mind for a long time Steve. Thanks again for making it happen with me this summer. Until our next dozen…
P.s. Here’s a map I put together of the 5 days, color coded by day for anyone who’s interested: