The Most Remote Centennial 13’er
One of the most sought after 13’er climbs in the state takes us to Jagged Col via No Name Creek, to attempt Jagged Mountain (13,824 ft.), a remote and challenging 13’er. The pristine nature of the climbing in this part of the range makes Jagged Mountain a must-do for those who are looking for an uncrowded experience in the backcountry.
On Jagged Mountain we climb the standard route on the North Face, combining 3rd through low 5th class climbing to reach the summit. The route itself is intricate and varied – requiring your attention the entire time. You do not need to have previous rock climbing experience to attempt this route, but experience on other Centennial 13’ers such as Vestal Peak’s Wham Ridge can make the climb more enjoyable. This is truly a one-of-a-kind trip in the heart of the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado’s largest and finest wilderness resource.
The Approach via the D&SNGRR
The most efficient way to access Jagged Mountain is via No Name Basin, with an assist and drop off at Needleton by the D&SNGRR. A relic of the mining trade of the 1880’s – 1930’s, the train is world famous as it is one of the few narrow gauge railroads left in existence. This unique experience adds an interesting start and finish to this trip. The approach from the Needleton stop takes us along the Animas River to a point where we access the entrance to No Name Basin. Our detailed and intimate knowledge of the “right way” to go on this trail insures that the approach to our camp will help you to conserve energy for the next day’s climb up Jagged’s North Face.
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
Jagged Mountain Trip Itinerary
Arrive to Durango mid-afternoon. We will meet in the evening to do a gear check and ensure that you’re packed and ready for the trip. Stay in a hotel.
In the morning we’ll board the D&SNGRR for the trip to Needleton where we will depart and cross the Needleton bridge and then approach the entrance to No Name Basin and the trail towards Jagged Col. A fine mountain day brings us to a camp at approximately 11,500 ft. in upper No Name Basin, with incredible views of Monitor Peak and Knife Point. Camp out.
Rising early, we ascend to Jagged Col (13,000 ft.) and traverse over to the base of the North Face. A surprisingly complex climbing route brings us to the summit at 13,824 ft. After the summit, we’ll descend back to our camp, and a well deserved and restful afternoon. We may decide to move our camp down the trail to the lower No Name drainage to facilitate our departure the following morning. Camp out.
We’ll head back to the trailhead and make our way back to Durango, arriving in the mid-afternoon. This is also an alternate summit day in case of poor weather on the previous day. Stay in a hotel or depart. We have showers available at our office for those participants that have a arranged to depart directly after the end of the trip.
The majority of the time spent on the Jagged Mountain 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.
Jagged Mountain Equipment List
- Backpack: Internal frame, . Guides’ pick: Osprey Variant 52
- Sleeping bag: Down or synthetic bag rated between 15-30 degrees with compression stuff sack.
- Sleeping pad: Guides’ pick: Thermarest NeoAir
- Bowl, spoon, cup: Plastic/lexan
- 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: 2-3 pair of medium weight wool or synthetic blend socks.
- Base layers: Synthetic t-shirt and synthetic underwear
- Soft shell pants: warm enough for cool mornings and nights, yet light enough for warm days.
- Soft shell jacket: light weight.
- 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.
- Toiletries: Toilet paper, baggie for used TP, toothbrush/paste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.
- 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 Jagged Mountain 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 Jagged Mountain 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”
- Climbing difficulty up to 5.3 in alpine boots
- 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, 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. The SJMG Durango office is located at 1111 Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO 81301.
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.
- Montrose, CO: 2.5 hours
- Ouray, CO: 1.75 hours
- Denver, CO: 6 hours
- Albuquerque, NM: 3.5 hours
- Salt Lake City, UT: 6 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.
- Cost Includes:
- Guiding and trip leadership
- D&SNGRR Train Tickets
- Breakfasts and dinners on the mountain
- Group camping and cooking equipment (tents, stoves, etc.)
- Group climbing equipment (ropes, etc.)
- Harness, helmet
- Not Included:
- Transportation to Durango, 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