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San Juan Mountain Series: Vestal Peak

Chicago Basin Ski Mountaineering 5/14
May 14, 2015
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May 26, 2015


For the next couple of weeks we will introduce to you some of the most legendary peaks of the Mighty San Juan Mountain Range. No two peaks are the same and each provides a unique experience that is catered by San Juan Mountain Guides to ensure you some of the best adventures of your 2015 summer.


Name of Mountain Range: Grenadier Range of the San Juan Mountains

Location: Depending on which approach you use, you can either from Molas Pass is necessary to reach the Animas River or a train ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from either Durango or Silverton to Elk Park is mandated. 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.

Skill Set: The summit of Vestal Peak is sought by those who are interested in exposure and are comfortable with Class III, 5.4  climbing. We have taken a range of people with different sets of skills sets – from the “Father and Son” duo to those who seek the thrill and challenge that Vestal provides.

Peak Name and Description: One of our most popular trips in the summer is our 3 Day Vestal Peak via Wham Ridge. Vestal Peak (13,864 ft.) is one of Colorado’s most sought after Centennial 13’er climbs, and the Wham Ridge (III, 5.4) is quite possibly the best route in the entire Grenadier Range. The rock is of a much higher quality than the rest of the San Juans, and offers wonderful climbing at altitude.

History: Vestal Peak was first climbed in 1908 by William Cooper and John Hubbard. It is Colorado’s 77th highest peak and for peak-baggers, those chasing the centennial list (top-100 highest), it is a mountain often looked forward to climbing.

Why Climb it?

Arguably a Peak by Dr. Seuss: Vestal Peak is truly and utterly unlike any other peak in the state of Colorado. The unique shape and curvature of the peak that allows for mellow and gradual climbing is a miracle of nature. It could literally be a peak from a Dr. Seuss book with its summit curving outwards – it is identifiable as soon as you see it.

Ride the DSRR train: 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. It allows you a glimpse into the Weminuche area and the Animas River that is only attainable by train.

A Colorado Classic: It can’t be denied. This is one of the most sought 13ers and climbs in the state of Colorado. For this reason it is a favorite for those chasing the centennial list (100 top highest peaks) as well as anyone truly wanting to experience a slice of the vast Weminuche Wilderness.

 How to Book Your Trip: Contact us via e-mail or call our Office 800.642.5389


What others have to say about it…

Have been to Chicago Basin with SJMG twice. Could not have been happier with both guides. You run a great program and your guides really do represent SJMG well! – Bob A. Chicago Basin 14’ers 2010