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Geissler Mountain (Elevation 13,380 Feet) - Independence Pass Region

A Lofty 13er at Lost Man Lake
Geissler Mountain is a Colorado 13er that most have never heard of, but it's so worthy of your admiration. The highest point within the Lost Man Loop Trail, its summit provides spectacular views of Independence Lake, Lost Man Lake, the Williams Mountains and a slew of peaks in the Independence Pass region.

While climbing this mountain isn't terribly difficult, I don't recommend it for beginners. I ascended Geissler Mountain via its east ridge (from the pass between Lost Man Lake and Independence Lake), which was a nerve-wracking and steep Class 2+ climb with a few Class 3 moves. The more common way to ascend the summit is to reach the saddle between Geissler Mountain West and Geissler Mountain East, and then work your way up the ridge. The highest point is on Geissler Mountain East, which of course is the one I sought, but in a sense one could argue that Geissler Mountain West is its own seperate mountain. You can see this on your topographical map; the National Geographic Trails Illustrated #127 map (Aspen/Indpendence Pass) covers it all.

Geissler Mountain, Colorado
Geissler Mountain East from the beginning of the Lost Man Trail.

Photos and videos by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - YouTube

Lost Man Trail, CO


August 9, 2014 - I began at the first hairpin curve west of Independence Pass on Highway 82.

A short distance ahead is the fork for Linkins Lake.

Colorado Wildflowers Pretty wildflowers.
Mountains I have an admission: I hiked in the afternoon. I didn't feel like waking up at "o'dark thirty" like I usually do, and I only decided to hike around 11 a.m. By the time I got to the trailhead, it was 1:30 p.m. I watched the weather -- and surely there were clouds and some precipitation -- but there was little threat of lightning and thunder.

Here's one photo of gray clouds over mountains to the south.

Independence Lake, Colorado

Independence Lake, Colorado

Independence Lake

Independence Lake sits at approximately 12500 feet in elevation. For many hikers, reaching this is a reward in itself. Years ago, I hiked to this lake in late June (see Independence Lake pics), when the lake was still thawing from a heavy snow season.

I got so excited that I made a video expressing my enthusiasm for this body of water. :)

Lost Man Lake, Colorado

Geissler Mountain East

At the high point on the entire Lost Man Loop Trail ...

TOP: I had this pretty view of Lost Man Lake.

SECOND: Facing the east ridge of Geissler Mountain. This is the route I'd take to the summit. Again, it is mostly a steep Class 2 grunt with a few Class 3 moves. You will need to use your hands sometimes.

THIRD: Peak 13150' (left) has a distinct point that begs more research. Peak 13366' is on the right and appears to have some kind a trail leading up to it.

Geissler Mountain Hike It was a grueling workout to get up Geissler Mountain's east ridge. I was sucking thin air like crazy! At the beginning, the grade was so steep and I was using my hands with nearly every step, that I almost turned back. Thankfully, I kept going. Here's one photo of the climb when things got easier.
Independence Lake, Colorado

Lost Man Lake, Colorado

The higher I got, the better the views of Independence Lake and Lost Man Lake became. :)

Twining Peak is the mountain behind Independence Lake.

Steve Garufi

Summit Log

Geissler Mountain, 13380 Feet

When I reached the summit, I was so happy.

A celebration cigar.

At first, a few snowflakes came down for about 30 seconds. Amazing. (You can see proof in my video below.)

This peak earned my respect!

Geissler Mountain, CO A glorious view of the gulch that I had traveled up.
Geissler Mountain Summit

Williams Mountains, CO

Lots of scenery.

TOP: Facing north, it's a rugged and isolated mountain region of the Sawatch Range.

SECOND: The Williams Mountains to the west.

Lost Man Lake, Colorado

Independence Lake, Colorado

High Altitude Lake

If you're a fan of high altitude lakes, you'll like Geissler Mountain.

TOP: Lost Man Lake.

SECOND: Independence Lake.

THIRD: An unnamed lake to the northwest. I betcha that's a good place to enjoy solitude.

My other pages around Independence Pass:
  • Twining Peak
  • Sunset at Independence Pass
  • Cycling Independence Pass
  • Snow at Independence Pass
  • La Plata Peak
  • Road Trip With Friends
  • Fall Foliage at Twin Lakes
  • Geissler Mountain, CO Coming down Geissler Mountain East, I hiked down the ridge to the saddle. Although not a cinch, the route was easier and gentler than the ridge I took up.
    Geissler Mountain I gazed at the climb up Geissler Mountain West. I realize perspective is everything, but it does not look like something for beginners.
    Snow in Summer Snow in August. Seeing this brought joy to my heart! :)


    Independence Lake.

    On "Lost Man Pass."

    East Ridge of Geissler Mountain East.

    Summit video.

    Snowflakes can be seen starting at 0:18.

    Not too shabby at all. :)

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