South Peak, Colorado - Elevation 12,892 Feet

An Easy Colorado 12er Hike Located At Weston Pass


South Peak - Elevation 12,892 Feet
I'll be the first to admit that this photo of South Peak, taken during my hike from Weston Pass, will not endear many to take on this 12er in the Mosquito Range. The mountain looks like an ordinary hill. However, this is a great hike for those who want to spend time above timberline, but don't necessarily want a huge workout. From Weston Pass, the elevation gain is 975 feet, and it's about two miles one way. All in all, I had an excellent hiking experience on South Peak and recommend it.

South Peak, CO
Photo: The east face of South Peak.

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

Weston Pass Colorado July 14, 2012 - My hike began at Weston Pass.

Weston Pass Road on the east side on Park County has some rough spots, but I've made it twice in my ordinary 2WD passenger vehicle. The other side of the pass in Lake County is known to be extreme that requires 4WD and higher clearance.

Weston Pass The entire hike from Weston Pass to South Peak can be viewed on the National Geographic topographical map #110. It is named Leadville / Fairplay.

Adjacent is a photo after turning back toward the Weston Pass parking lot. An old road with wheel ruts will take you up the hill.

Weston Pass Road The view to the north. Weston Pass Road in the foreground with mountains afar.
Elk Ahead was a herd of about 350 elk. They were beautiful!

However, I think they were alarmed at the presence of myself and two other climbers. They were squealing in fear, and sounded like geese or waterfowl who were crying because they were being attacked. I've seen a lot of elk in my lifetime, but never have I heard them make this sound. It prompted me to make this video ...

Horseshoe Mountain, CO Onward I continued. The view to the north of Horseshoe Mountain was pretty.

Also, Finnback Knob and Mount Sheridan are in view.

Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

I noticed many ptarmigans near the top. I love this bird!

I guess the sight of ptarmigans is fitting considering a mountain across the valley is named Ptarmigan Peak.

Buffalo Peaks Colorado Near the summit of South Peak, the view of the Buffalo Peaks to the south.

Notice the two climbers in the foreground. I got to talk with these two friendly guys, a father & son team from Denver who have an impressive climbing record. They ascended Mount Kilimanjaro in the late 1980s, and the father was rattling off mountains throughout the world he had climbed. He has also hiked all of the top 100 peaks in Colorado.

Regretfully, I didn't get their names, but they also had a love for hiking lesser-known 13ers and 12ers in our state.

Weston Peak Colorado

South Peak Colorado

The top of South Peak is a large and flat area that's the size of about five football fields. Near the center (but not quite at the high point), I captured these two scenic mountain photos.

TOP: Looking back at Weston Pass and with the spectacular sight of Weston Peak (13,572') above.

SECOND: Another shot of the Mosquito Range -- Horseshoe Mountain being most noticeable -- as it runs north.

South Peak, CO

Steve Garufi

South Peak Colorado

Twin Lakes, CO

On The Summit - South Peak 12,892 Feet

The sky became overcast during my hike. Many of my photos don't show how great the scenery was.

FIRST: A cluster of rocks and a marker are at the summit.

SECOND: Nothing like rocky mountain chardonnay to celebrate the excursion. Twin Lakes and some of the lofty peaks in the Sawatch Range behind me.

THIRD: 14ers Mount Elbert and Mount Massive sit across the upper Arkansas River Valley. Note the gulch in the foreground. My map names it Twobit Gulch and it appears to be a viable route to South Peak.

FOURTH: A zoom-in photo of Twin Lakes with La Plata Peak on the left and Grizzly Peak in the center.

Weston Peak Hike Returning to Weston Pass, I captured a photo of the steep grassy hill that one needs to climb to reach Weston Peak and/or Ptarmigan Peak. My climbing friends and I reminisced about how physically demanding that section was. It looks especially imposing from this angle, but it can be done. :)

Videos

In the center of South Peak.

At the true summit.

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