Mountaineering – Dallas Peak (13,809 ft)

Blue Lake and Mt. Sneffels Panorama from Dallas Peak
Blue Lake and Mt. Sneffels Panorama From North Side of Dallas Peak

Fortunately, it did not rain over the course of the night. Maybe we would have dry 5th class climbing!

Dallas Peak Topo Map With Waypoints
Our Route with Waypoints

At 4am, Uwe made the rounds, making sure everybody was awake. In complete darkness, I emerged from the tent. Everybody was ready and excited. Would this be our lucky day?

Mark Hiking on Dallas Peak
Here’s Mark on his way up Dallas Peak. It took us 1 hour 45 minutes to get here. From camp, we hiked for about 30 minutes on trail, then took a left turn and headed up a really steep but grassy shoulder. Now, we are starting to get to the scrambly bits.

Seth Hiking up Dallas Peak
Here’s Seth, looking back towards the way we came.

A Digital Cairn
Here’s Seth pointing at the way we came up. I called it a Digital Cairn…Just below him is our first run-in with 3rd/4th class. It was just a bit of gravel covered slab climbing. Nothing hard; just take your time. It took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to this spot.

A Mountaineer Climbing Dallas Peak
Overcoming the last of the steep climbing, before we traverse along a bench. This shows the angle.

Telluride From South Slopes of Dallas Peak
Finally, we get some sun! My feet have been borderline numb all morning, so I’m happy warming up on the South Side of Dallas. It has taken us 3 hours to get to this spot. It’s 8am and I’m feeling good about our chances for the summit.

Southeast Side of Dallas Peak
The way forward. Follow a lightly cairned trail. There are just barely enough to tell you’re on route. We went up to the left of the bulbous rock formation.

Seth Admiring Mt. Sneffels
Taken 14 minutes after the last picture. We are now above the bulbous rock formation. From here, we have 2 more 4th class sections and the 5th class summit block.

Mt Sneffels, Gilpin Peak, Mt Emma from Dallas Peak
A little higher up, I get this nice panorama of Mt. Sneffels, Gilpin Peak, and Mt. Emma

Mark Scrambling up Southeast Side of Dallas Peak
Mark on the 2nd 4th class section. The bulbous rock formation is below him and to the left. This is the part that many people rappel down, on the way back.

Dallas Peak Crux Section
The final summit block. To reach the top, you go up the access gully and then make a left turn onto the north side. The 5th class climb is on the north side and it’s less than 30 meters to the summit.

The access gully is between the two towers. It is 4th class and is the 3rd section of 4th class on the route. It was really tricky to climb it with muddy shoes!

One approach for this gully, would be to bring a hand line and use a meat anchor, like is done in canyoneering. The first person up would drop down some webbing and everybody after that would have something to grab on to, should they slip.

Mark and Seth Ready to Climb Dallas Peak
Mark and Seth ready to climb.

Excited to Climb Dallas Peak
Climbergirl! There is a crack at the base of the climb that takes a 0.75 Cam. Used this as an anchor, I wasn’t at all worried about Uwe leading since he’s done it a few times and it’s easy. I was more concerned about the rock.

Mt. Sneffels and Blue Lake from Dallas Peak
The view of Mt. Sneffels and Blue Lake is breath taking.

Seth and Mt. Sneffels
Seth tied into the rope.

Our system for getting 4 people up to the summit with 1 rope: Uwe led up. Then, we tied Mark in the middle and he climbed up. Once Mark was at the summit, Uwe lowered the rope back down. Then, I tied into the middle and climbed up. Seth came up last on the end of the rope.

This method could obviously work for any number of climbers and has many advantages. First, you can ensure that every person is secure to the rope. Second, you are sure the rope will not get stuck. Third, you don’t have to throw the rope and it’s in control at all times. Fourth, it’s very fast and efficient.

Crux of Dallas Peak Rock Climb
The crux of the 5th class section. Uwe places a number 1 cam in a horizontal crack. He then made a move out right into another vertical crack. Once over there, it was one step up and then it was all over.

Another option is to just go straight up from the piece placed in this picture. There are lots of good holds going straight up and then there’s no risk of a pendulum if you slip.

Clare Topping Out on Dallas Peak
Here I am topping out on Dallas Peak. There is a boatload of tiny rocks perched on the ledges of Dallas Peak. So, as I climbed, I cleaned off key areas. If everybody did this, then eventually, the route would be a lot safer. Most of the rocks were no bigger than an orange, but if they fell on the belayer, or the group below, it could be really dangerous!

Clare Signing the Register on Dallas Peak
Oh yeah! Gotta sign this register!

Seth Summitting Dallas Peak
Seth Summitting Dallas Peak

Happy Climbers Summit Dallas Peak
Uwe took this superb shot of us on the summit.

Telluride Airport from Dallas Peak
Telluride Airport from Dallas Peak

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the rappel. We rapped through the hole in the chockstone and landed on a huge mound of snow. It was an exciting rappel. When we got to the lower 4th class section, I decided to rappel the downclimb.

We threw the rope and I made my way down. On the last ledge, the rope slid over some loose rock and knocked something loose the size of a watermelon. I shouted out rock and luckily, Seth and Mark were able to dodge it. So, just be extra careful if you rappel this section!

Descending Dallas Peak
Descending back to camp.

We made it back to camp around 3:30pm. Then, we ate a meal and packed up.

Time to Leave Basecamp
Here I am, excited to have climbed Dallas Peak, the guardian of Telluride.

On the way back to the car, we ran into Frank who was on his way up to meet with Uwe. I had climbed Teakettle with Frank the prior weekend, so it was fun to see a friendly face!

The rest of our hike went by fast. Mark and Seth are both energetic hikers, so we made excellent time. We got back to the car with a couple of hours of daylight left. Just enough time to drive to the Silver Pick, Rock of Ages Trailhead. Next up….Wilson Peak!

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