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North America, United States, Colorado, Southwestern Colorado Climbing Notes - 1933, Needle Mountains

Mile-post 486 on the railroad through Animas Canyon was the meeting point of members of the 1933 expedition of the San Juan Mountaineers. On the afternoon of August 1st the expedition crossed the river by means of a cable car. Shortly afterwards five heavily burdened persons (Messrs. C. C. Long, T. M. Griffiths, L. V. Giesecke, Dr. H. L. McClintock and the writer) could be seen trudging up the steep trail towards the heart of the Needles. Camp was pitched after dark that day. Next day the expedition reached an elevation of 10,750 ft., where base camp was established in a fringe of timber at the upper end of the second level stretch on Noname Creek.

The first climb was that of Peak No. 6 (13,600 ft.), a second ascent. Next came the first ascents of both needles that make up Twin Thumbs (13,400 ft.), and the first ascent of Peak No. 11 (13,500 ft.). During these climbs Jagged Mtn. (13,836 ft.) was examined for possible routes of ascent.

Finally the time seemed ripe to attack Jagged. The first attempt, made in bad weather, resulted in attaining the third highest of its summits. After a day of rest the high summit was ours for another first ascent. Jagged Mountain is probably the most difficult peak yet ascended in the Colorado Rockies. Mr. Long is to be congratulated for his splendid leadership on the climb.

Unfortunately Mr. Long could not be on hand the last climbing day. The other members started late for Monitor Peak (13,710 ft.), which did not permit a proper reconnaissance of the mountain and the first choice of a route failed.

After the failure the balance of the day was spent in recon- noitering Monitor and other mountains about the head of Ruby Creek, ending an easy climb to the summit of a little peak (Peak 12, 13,100 ft.), a probable first ascent.

Camp was broken the next day, the tenth spent in the Needle Mountains. Our chief objective lay beaten behind, Jagged has fallen the way all peaks shall in time.

Dwight G. Lavender.