It is hard to find, at least for many of us here in the Four Corners, such a concentration of mountaineering splendor as in the San Juans. This range is comprised of the Needles and Grenadiers and these two areas form the core of true backcountry mountaineering; the other sub-ranges are the North San Juans and the West Needles. The Grenadiers, a row of proud sentinels, are also known as the Quartzite Peaks, while the Needles are a haphazard mix of peaks and passes, culminating in the Sunlight-Windom massif.
The easiest and quickest way to get into the heart of these peaks is to take the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad from either Silverton or Durango to Elk Park or Needleton. Alternately, and depending on which areas one intends to visit, one could approach from Beartown, American Basin, Andrews Lake, Molas Switchbacks, Vallecito, Purgatory Flats, etc.
32 Total Routes
Browse More Classics in San Juans
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for San Juans:
Southwest Chimney 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 80' Uncompahgre/Big Blue Wilder... : Coxcomb Peak
Center Shift on Wham Ridge 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b R Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 1000' The Grenadiers : Vestal Peak
Featured Route For San Juans
Snake (Dogleg) Couloir Steep Snow CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Mount Sneffels
From Blaine Basin, a glance at the north face of Mount Sneffels will reveal a couloir bisecting the right hand side of the face. Climb up the couloir for over 1000 feet. It averages 40 degrees, but steepens to 50 degrees where the couloir necks down a bit, about half way up. At the halfway point, the couloir splits at a small rock pillar. Take the dogleg to the left. At the top of the couloir, either traverse east to connect to the final few feet of the normal route (yucky) or go straight u...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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