A Centennial 13’er Challenge
All of the following routes are typically done as a single day trip, although it is perfectly feasible and enjoyable to do any of them as an overnight. Camping below Dallas is a bit rough due to the terrain configuration but certainly makes the climbing day a lot shorter. If a two day trip is scheduled plan on spending day 1 hiking in to a camp spot and day 2 climbing and then hiking all the way out.
Dallas’s standard route is considered by many to be the hardest high thirteener route in the state. The adventure begins just outside of the Town of Telluride on the historic Highline trail. Our very early start will land us above treeline somewhere just after sunrise where we will begin a long uphill climb through much 3rd class terrain to the base of Dallas’s giant south facing cliffs guarding its summit. From here we will circle east below the cliffs to the east side of the mountain where we will encounter a number of interesting and unique technical challenges moving us up and over cliff bands that will finally land us just below the summit on a scanty ledge on the north side of the peak above the enormous drop of Dallas’s northerly face. The final 5th class pitch to the summit and exciting rappel back is always something to remember! Dallas repels many parties due to its length, route complexity, and challenging climbing – stack the odds in your favor and enjoy a guided day on this serious peak.
South Face Couloir
This sporty and seldom climbed route takes a directisma to the summit. Only in on certain years and usually only climbable in the spring this is the way to summit Dallas for experienced ice and rock climbers.
Probably the best hiking/climbing trip I’ve every been on…..and I’ve been on a lot of them! The combination of being out in the middle of one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world, mixed with the awesome hiking and fantastic technical climbing was truly magical! – Doug L. Jagged Mountain, 2010
Dallas Peak Trip Itinerary
An alpine start leads to a long day of hiking, climbing, and descending on one of Colorado’s most difficult 13’ers. A true alpine day.
The majority of the time spent on the Dallas Peak trip takes place at or above 10,000 ‘ in elevation. If you live at sea level, it may be best to arrive in Durango a day earlier than the scheduled “Day 0” to allow for an easier adjustment to the altitude and thus a greater chance for success on the climbs.
Dallas Peak Equipment List
- Backpack: Internal frame
- Pocket knife: 2-3 inch blade, simple, light
- Small thermos: Optional, but nice to have
- Water bottles: 2 liters combined capacity; bottles or bladder.
- Water purification system: We recommend simple iodine tablets, but pumps are acceptable.
Clothing and Personal Equipment
- Hiking/Alpine boots: Sturdy, waterproof, comfortable boots. Please contact us with questions or further recommendations.
- Socks medium weight wool or synthetic blend socks.
- Base layers
- Insulated vest: down or synthetic.
- Hard shell jacket: waterproof and breathable, no insulation.
- Hats: one with brim, one for warmth
- Sunscreen and lip balm: water/sweat-proof
- Headlamp: with extra batteries.
- Personal first-aid kit: for your personal meds/needs; guide will have a large one as well
- Stuff sacks: for convenient packing
- Lunch food: Everything you eat between breakfast and dinner. May include: bagels, dried meats, cheese, trail mix, candy bars, peanut butter, etc…
- Harness: Adjustable leg loops are essential.
- Locking carabiner: Pear shaped, wide mouth.
- Boots: Hiking boots, or alpine boots – many options. No tennis shoes.
- Crampons: General mountaineering crampons (for May/June trips only – conditions dependent)
- Mountaineering Axe: 60 – 70 cm mountain axe (for May/June trips only – conditions dependent)
Training & Follow Up Climbs
As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.
1Before Your Trip
The Dallas Peak trip is a strenuous trip conducted at altitudes above 10,000 feet. Therefore, previous experience hiking in the mountains and/or multi-day backpacking experience will be very helpful to you on this program. Though the actual climbing level required for this trip is not difficult, the best training regimen would include a mixture of cardiovascular fitness training (running, biking, hiking etc.), and muscular/core fitness exercises. The addition of some Yoga/stretching exercises will help to insure that you maintain good muscular flexibility as well.
For the Dallas Peak Trip you should be ready for:
- Hiking approximately 8-9 miles per day with up to a 40 lb pack at altitudes between 8,000′ – 13,000 ‘
- 9-12 hour summit day with a lighter “day pack”
- Wilderness living
2Follow Up Climbs
I found this to be a great experience and enjoyed all of the personnel and guides associated with San Juan – particularly Matt Pickren! – Steve K. 2011 Private Program
Durango & Ouray, Colorado: Getting Here
Durango is located in the SW corner of Colorado, at the intersection of the sandstone towers of the desert, and the jagged, San Juan Mountains. A mecca for climbing, hiking, cycling, and foodies; make sure you plan to spend some time in town before and after your SJMG trip.
Ouray is located in the SW corner of Colorado, approximately 30 minutes south of Montrose. Known as “The Switzerland of America”, the town of Ouray is a vibrant outdoor oriented community. All local businesses are very friendly to the ice climbers who flock each winter to climb in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding areas.
Flights: The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Durango – La Plata County Airport. Multiple airline options exist, and most connections originate from Denver, Phoenix, or Dallas. The airport is a 20 minute drive from our office. Many hotels offer a free shuttle pickup. Buckhorn Limousine offers a shuttle as well.
Driving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Durango. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive.
- Denver, CO: 6 hours
- Albuquerque, NM: 3 hours
Hotels: Durango has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suite you best for this trip! Below are just a few options catering to different lodging styles and preferences.
Ouray has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suit you best for this trip!
- Cost Includes:
- Guiding and trip leadership
- Group climbing equipment (ropes, etc.)
- Harness, helmet
- Not Included:
- Transportation to Durango or Ouray, CO
- Hotel costs before or after the courses
- Personal Lunch Food
- 5% land use surcharge
- Trip cancellation insurance – recommended
- Personal backpacking climbing clothing
- Costs associated with early returns, weather delays, or other factors beyond our control
- Guide gratuity
- Registration and Cancellation:
Advance Registration is required for this program. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System. All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.
It was fantastic. The trip was well organized. It was a real pleasure meeting Gary. He is a great guide and extremely proficient and cool. Really enjoyed climbing with him. Overall, an A+ trip. Thanks again for organizing such a nice trip. – Vahid B. Private Alpine 2010