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Ascent of Argentine Peak on 2019-08-20

Climber: Mike Wright

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Argentine Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:13738 ft / 4187 m

Ascent Trip Report

Peru Creek TH. Road was better than Greys Stevens Gulch.
Started at 620am
Really started at 720am due to a bull moose with a bad demeanor.
We had 2 staring contests, both of which I lost before finally getting to sneak by.
RT 11.6mi
Vertical ~4000ft
Peak Argentine, Edwards, McClellan, Edwards again
Great views, pretty easy terrain. Just a lot of annoying ups and downs both for Argentine and Edwards.
Wildlife encountered:
1 adore mentioned Bull Moose. Always bigger than you remember.
1 large buck deer and his ladies
1 pheasant
30+ goats
1 stoat!!!

Long form narrative for personal log.
Got a 620am start from the trailhead at Peru Creek Rd where I spent the night. I started up the road towards the mine and immediately spotted a bull moose just across the stream and he spotted me. I come to a complete stop as we begin a staring contest which he wins as I slowly back away towards the van, Whereby he goes back to eating his breakfast. Ok then. I’ll just wait him out. He moves up hill a bit so I try again to pass. He’s not having it and we begin our staring contest again. This time I hear some clicking noises which is really not good so I slowly back away again. While I’m in my retreat position I see him emerge from The willows into an open area and MAN! He’s huge! I watch as he moves deeper into the willows and sense my chance to slip by. I quickly but quietly move up the road from covered position to covered position until I’m at the bridge. Then i carefully consider that this trail cuts across the very willows the big guy lives in and whom else might be hidden there? I decide to cross as I hadn’t seen anything else moving about. I quietly but quickly move across the willows via a very clear hiking trail with willows taller than me. Now safety across i continued on the main trail which now starts to climb the hillside. Up ahead on a very steep part of the trail I spot a big buck deers head dart across the trail. As i Pass I see some deer down hill, buck included all looking up at me. The trail curves around and began crossing the steep upper slopes in a gradual ascending traverse over a few miles toward Argentine Pass. It’s completely unbelievable how this ‘road’ as it’s defined, was created. Obviously an old mining road but still in some places it’s just a narrow trail. Those guys were crazy. Anyway, as I approached the pass I noticed a few goats hanging out up towards the end of the trail. As I get closer I realize it’s a whole herd of about 30. Some were lounging on the trail. So, not wanting to disturb them too much, I got as close as I dared and then climbed the slope to my right to gain the pass/saddle with minimal disruption to the herd. I had intended to hike Edwards first but that would mean disturbing the herd and maybe pissing one off so instead I continued over to Argentine. The hike over was a little demoralizing as there are a lot of ups and downs before finally arriving at the final slope to climb. At this point in the hike I’d been having some lower abdominal disruptions and wasn’t sure if I’d make it. But I did and had a snack which I hoped would settle my stomach. It did. As I began the descent back to the saddle my stomach’s unease dissipated for the most part. Again it was slightly demoralizing hiking back to the saddle. I immediately continued on towards Edwards over more ups and downs. Same as Argentine. Passed one person enroute. At the top of Edwards I could see all the peaks I’ve been on with Greys and Torreys just across the ridge. I looked at the route description for McClellan and decided to go for it. I descended down the main ridge and passed two goats lounging on a snowfield. They did not seem too concerned with me as I passed to within 30-40ft. They were really white! Beautiful! They watched me as I passed by and wondered what they thought of me. The hike up to McClellan was ok, I stayed on the ridge proper and made it to a high point but wasn’t sure if it was really the summit so I walked over to what looked to be a higher spot and some cairns. When I got to the first one I noticed a summit register contained within a garlic powder container. Signed it and walked over to a few other questionable spots then returned to the saddle. I considered side hilling over to the ridge that i needed below Edwards but it looked steep and talusy so I thought I’d be better off resummiting Edwards. As I crossed the McClellan Edwards saddle a weasel or stoat ran right in front of me no more than 5 ft away. As I scrambled to grab my phone he kept on jogging down and behind me. I think i caught a few good shots of him before he disappeared into the talus. He was really great and didn’t seem afraid of me. Just going about his business. So cool!!! I continued up the ridge again passing the snow lounging goats who I think were happy to see me and resummitted Edwards under the careful eye of a goat mom and her youngling. Paused there briefly before starting my descent. It was getting late at this point and the clouds were building for 30%chance of t storms at 3pm. It was 1pm ish. The descent off Edwards was a bit tedious as it was much like Argentine with many ups and downs. Finally back on the ‘road’ I descended a bit before stopping for a snack. Restarted walking again at 130. Wanted to be done with this upper slope part of the road before it started raining as there was a ton of loose blocks above on very steep terrain and I didn’t want to be around when the rain started lubing everything up. So I make a quicker pace and got clear. Because even though the forecast said after 3pm I like to assume that means +/- 1hr. So I wanted to be passed there by 2. I passed an older couple with 2 dogs and warned them about the moose then took off. As I entered the woods I scared a pheasant and he scared me as he roused and flew past me. Then I began looking down at the willows to see if I could spot that moose. I took some time at really good overlook spots but didn’t see him. Still I know he’s probably in there having a siesta at this time of day so I wanted to be very careful going through the willows and down the road. I was very quiet passing through the willows and crossing the bridge and walked quiet as I could down the rest of the road to the van. I know he’s in there but didn’t spot him. Challenging hike for sure. Great in terms of wildlife today. Lots of ups and downs added up to 8.5hrs 11.6mi and 4000ft.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Started clear then clouded up with storms expected at 3pm
Ascent Part of Trip: Edwards

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Argentine Peak2019-08-20 
2Mount Edwards2019-08-20 
3McClellan Mountain2019-08-20 
4Mount Edwards2019-08-20 



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