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Paiute East Ridge

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One way

1.0 miles

1.6 km

Difficulty

Very Difficult

Elevation gain

194 ft

59 m

Highest point

13,191 ft

4,021 m

Avg grade

17% (9°)

Elevation loss

-691 ft

-211 m

Max grade

109% (47°)

Elevation loss

-691 ft

-211 m

Avg grade

17% (9°)

Lowest point

12,693 ft

3,869 m


Discover more hiking nearby

Brainard Lake Recreation Area, CO

Getting there

Driving directions

Current weather


Shared by Charles Danforth

Features

Dogs - Leashed

Overview

Mt. Audubon dominates the skyline above the popular Brainard Lake Recreation Area and is one of the most popular hikes in the area. And rightly so! It's the easiest of the big mountains and the views are great. But almost no one continues from Mt. Audubon less than a mile to the west to the summit of Paiute Peak on the Continental Divide. And THAT is a real shame! The views along the traverse and from the summit are stunning in all directions and the positions as you move up the rock are superb.

From the wind shelters at the summit of Mt. Audubon (there are at least five as of this writing), continue west down a broad slope of easy talus to the saddle at 12,600 feet. Now the real fun begins! Climb up as close to the ridge as possible on a reddish stone "sidewalk." The hiking is not difficult, but it's very exposed with...
Mt. Audubon dominates the skyline above the popular Brainard Lake Recreation Area and is one of the most popular hikes in the area. And rightly so! It's the easiest of the big mountains and the views are great. But almost no one continues from Mt. Audubon less than a mile to the west to the summit of Paiute Peak on the Continental Divide. And THAT is a real shame! The views along the traverse and from the summit are stunning in all directions and the positions as you move up the rock are superb.

From the wind shelters at the summit of Mt. Audubon (there are at least five as of this writing), continue west down a broad slope of easy talus to the saddle at 12,600 feet. Now the real fun begins! Climb up as close to the ridge as possible on a reddish stone "sidewalk." The hiking is not difficult, but it's very exposed with steep slopes several thousand feet tall on both sides into lake-studded valleys. In a couple places you'll find much harder terrain on the ridgetop and in all cases you should deviate left (south) not right! At no spot will you need to do more than some Class 3 (easy hands-and-feet scrambling).

Paiute is a complicated peak with several high-points. I believe the western one (across a small notch) is the highest. Enjoy the view in all directions and contemplate your place in the universe.

Return via the traverse to sit smugly among the tourists on Audubon or choose another route. The north and west faces are jagged cliffs and not a good option. The south ridge is much less difficult than it looks and, via a long bit of scree and talus (or snow in season) descent, will bring you to Blue Lake for a great tour of the area.

Contacts

Land Manager: USFS - Boulder Ranger District Office

Shared by Charles Danforth

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