Point Blue (Sawatch Range, CO; 13,711')

Point Blue, aka Twining Peak, is Point 13,711 on the Continental Divide just North of Independence Pass. It's an easy off-trail scramble, but its altitude and the rugged summit ridge give it a rather alpine feeling. The views are great. All of this, plus the easy access from Independence Pass, make it an ideal half-day acclimatization trip if one is staying in the Aspen area.

Topo Map

Routes: South Ridge (Grade I, Class 2)

References: M. Garratt and B. Martin, Colorado's High Thirteeners , Cordillera Press 1992

Point Blue (right) from near Linkins Lake

Date: June 16, 2004

Party: DB and MB, Thomas Vojta

Route: South Ridge

Time: 4 hrs roundtrip from Independence Pass

Trip report:

We picked Point Blue for our traditional high-altitude acclimatization trip. The weather did not look good, but we needed some conditioning, so we went anyway. The snow cover looked extremely patchy from the Pass, so I left my skis behind. Indeed, most of the trip was snow-free, and whatever snow we encountered was extremely soft. We worked our way around the summit between the Pass and Point Blue into the basin South of Point Blue, then gained the saddle and went up the South Ridge. Our previous high point had only been 12,000', so we took it easy. There was serious thunderstorm activity both to the West and to the South, but somehow all of these storms missed us. It was windy on the summit, though, and we did not linger too long on account on the ground strikes a few miles to the South. Linkins Lake, Independence Lake, Lost Man Lake, and Blue Lake were all still ice covered, which made it clear that an anemic snow pack, rather than anomalously high temperatures, was responsible for the disappointingly little snow. Everybody felt fine on the summit, so I declared us acclimatized. (With respect to Monique, this turned out to be premature: Three days later she got sick on Elbert at 14,100', and missed out on the summit.) On the way back we went over the unnamed peak South of Point Blue (~13,500'), and got back to our car without having experienced a single rain drop.

Photo Gallery:

Click the pictures to see a higher resolution image. All photo credits Thomas Vojta

The summit ridge of Point Blue. View SW. Monique approaching the summit Dietrich on the summit Monique on the summit Monique on the summit ridge View West, across Linkins Lake, from the summit