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Tom and I were scheduled to get together in Colorado to climb 14ers starting on Saturday. I had told him of my plan to climb a CoHP the day before, not really expecting him to go for it. He had a long drive from SoCal, and I figured he'd rather stop to climb something around the mid-point. But after consulting Google Maps and considering the 13hr drive to reach the TH, he decided to join me, meeting me at a parking lot for nearby Needle Rock. Mt. Lamborn is the highpoint of Delta County, located in the Gunnison National Forest, only a few hours from where we had planned to meet for a climb of Snowmass Mtn on Saturday. Mt. Lamborn and its nearest neighbor, Landsend Peak, are both P1Ks dominating the view from the west during my drive the previous evening. Lamborn has a trail going to the summit but Landsend requires some non-trivial cross-country travel. We decided to do both in a full day, about 14mi roundtrip with 5,500ft of gain. As an aside, Needle Rock is a pretty impressive volcanic plug near where we met up, fifth class by its easiest route. It's definitely worth putting in some effort, but we would leave it for another day.
Tom arrived sometime during the night after I had gone to bed. In the morning, we left his jeep at the Needle Rock TH and drove in my jeep to the TH at the end of Cottonwood Creek Rd. Most of the road is in decent shape, but the last section requires high-clearance. We got as far as one could drive, where there is a large clearing for a number of vehicles. We started off shortly after 7a, spending much of the first two hours making our way along the trail system. We reached a trail junction south of Lamborn, along the forested ridgeline connecting the two summits together. Here we left the trail to start the cross-country traverse to Landsend, a distance of less than two miles. A good use trail at the start gave us high hopes, but these were soon dashed when it disappeared before 15min had gone by. The route was not arduous by any stretch, but it had its brushy moments and we would spend more than an hour and half to reach the summit of Landsend from the junction. There are some views along the way during open stretches of ridgeline, and though most of the summit is forested, the summit drops off to the west and provides excellent views in that direction. We took a short break here, signed the register we found in a small rock cairn, then returned via the ridgeline route back to the junction, taking nearly the same length of time.
It was almost noon when we returned to the junction and took another breather. I found a tick crawling on my clothing which set off a mini-panic as we did a hurried check to see if there were more ticks on us. None were found, thankfully, and to date this is the only tick I had seen in the state. Panic subsided, we then spent a bit over an hour making our way along the trail north to Mt. Lamborn. The trail was overgrown in places but quite useable. We came upon a herd of cattle enroute that allowed Tom to herd them some distance before they tired of the game. The trail near the end grows quite steep before going over a false summit and leading to the class 2-3 summit rocks. Several register books were fitted inside a PVC tube tucked among the rocks. The views are outstanding, open in all directions. With cell service available, we whiled away a bit of time relaxing before starting off on the descent. Our return made a small loop of the upper portion of the mountain, with about a mile of easy cross-country travel to allow us to descent to Inter-Ocean Pass and pick up an alternate trail from there. We were back to the TH in less than 2hrs, finishing up by 3:20p.
We probably could have used the remaining daylight to explore the base of Needle Rock, but we had in mind a BBQ joint in Marble, a few hours away. We drove SR133 over McClure Pass and into the Crystal River drainage where Marble is located. The BBQ place seemed to be the only business doing any business in town, apparently quite popular with the OHV crowd that descends upon the small community in the summertime. After having our fill in the somewhat socially-distanced setup they had going outside, we drove off to find a place to camp for the night...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Landsend Peak
This page last updated: Thu Aug 20 11:58:37 2020
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