Black Bear Pass Peaks

Date of trip: 07/02/2018

Mileage: 6.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2500 Feet

Time: 5 Hour(s) and 30 Minutes

Class: 3

Partners: Carrie

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Trico Peak13321461San JuanOuray, ColoradoNoNo37.9052, -107.7383
T 1013477537San JuanOuray, ColoradoNoNo37.8979, -107.7492

Trip Report

After doing peaks in the Last Dollar Pass area the day before, we headed to Ouray to checkout the town and soak in the hot springs. After that, we headed up Highway 550, aka as The Million Dollar Highway. This highway has spectacular views, steep dropoffs and few guardrails. The road leads to Red Mountain Pass at 11,075'.

The next day we were doing a few peaks just east of the pass near Black Bear Pass. We weren't sure where to camp, so we turned onto Black Bear Pass road. This road is infamous for being one of the most rugged in the US. The section we were on was before it gets too bad, though it was still rocky and had steep drop-offs!

We followed the road until a side road branched off heading to Porphyry Gulch. Not long after we left the main road, we found an excellent camp spot at 11,600' overlooking a meadow.

In the morning, we followed our side road back to Black Bear Pass Road and basically parked at the intersection of the 2 roads at 11,500'. Our goal was the 2 peaks on each side of the pass... T 10 and Trico Peak. Trico Peak is named for the 3 county lines that meet on it's summit (Ouray, San Miguel, and San Juan counties).

We simply hiked up the road to Black Bear Pass. I was worried about traffic, but on the way up, we did not get passed by any vehicles (too early I guess). We took our first break at the pass looking up at the route on T 10.

The route looked steep and potentially loose. It did have a few loose spots, but wasn't that bad. The summit of T 10 had great views and the day was stunning... clear, cool and breezy! Since neither of us wanted to go down our ascent route, I peered down the west ridge. I couldn't see the full route, but I could see a path to the saddle west of the peak and it looked easy. Once I could see the route down from the saddle to the basin below us, I got a bit nervous... it was steep!

We took our time getting down this steep section. Sometimes, the best way was to scoot on our butts, sometimes slide on the dirt... either way, it worked. Once in the basin we made our way back to Black Bear Pass and then up the south ridge of Trico Peak.

Trico Peak had a climber's trail and was a much easier ascent than T 10. The northside of Trico Peak is pretty rugged. We took in the views, then headed down the road and back to our waiting vehicle. I thought this wouldn't be a scenic area, but the green peaks, waterfalls, ponds, and wildflower displays made it very scenic!


Getting There

Black Bear Pass road starts just south of Red Mountain Pass on Highway 550. It is signed.


Hiking Directions

We just hiked up Black Bear Pass road from the 11,500' mark. Once at the pass, we hiked up the north ridge of T 10, then back to the saddle, then up the south ridge of Trico Peak.


Photos

View Slideshow

Red Mountain #2 and #3
Red Mountain #2 and #3
Old Mining equipment near Red Mountain Pass
Old Mining equipment near Red Mountain Pass
Near camp along Black Bear Pass road
Near camp along Black Bear Pass road
Cool waterfall
Cool waterfall
Along the road to Black Bear Pass
Along the road to Black Bear Pass
Interesting waterfall/snowbank
Interesting waterfall/snowbank
Heading up T10
Heading up T10
Looking west from T10
Looking west from T10
Descending from T10
Descending from T10
Trico Peak (right)
Trico Peak (right)
Carrie enjoying views from Trico Peak
Carrie enjoying views from Trico Peak




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