Dallas Peak - 13809' - Class 5.3
While on a job in Roosevelt, Utah, I had one day off so I met up with John in Telluride to tackle Dallas Peak, the last of the three 5th class Centennials I still needed to do. It took me much longer to drive all the way to the Mill Creek Trailhead where John was waiting and we didn't get started until around 10am. Luckily the weather forecast called for perfect sunshine. We started up the Mill Creek Trail, and after a half mile or so we turned right and continued up to a nice meadow where we saw Dallas Peak for the first time. We continued what appeared to be the wrong direction as the trail headed away from the peak for a bit. However it was the right way as it made a gradual ascent up a broad ridge well to the west of the large waterfall and cliff bands blocking easy access up Mill Creek. As we hiked higher, the town of Telluride and the airport became visible, as well as the Wilson Group. Just past treeline, we crossed a small creek, then left the trail when we were right below the steep south face of the mountain.
We ascended moderately steep grass and scree directly towards the large cliffs guarding the south face. We reached a large ledge and followed it to the right around the base of the cliffs until we reached a gully that went straight up towards the summit block. We ascended this hideous gully directly to the small saddle in the east ridge shortly below the summit block. This made for a quick and efficient route to the east ridge without going way east and gaining the ridge well away from the summit like the standard route does. We followed cairns up the east ridge, and scrambled up a small rock band and reached the infamous cannon hole. This feature is hidden in a deep gully just east of the highest summit block (which is the center peak of the 3 you see when approaching the summit area). We scrambled directly under the truck size chockstone, climbed through the cannon hole, and gained the ledge on the other side. From here, we walked this ledge leftward, descended 50 feet or so and found the summit pitch. Since this was now on the north side of the peak, there was a little fresh snow. I put my harness on and tied into the rope as John belayed me. I led the pitch quickly placing only a couple pieces. I found a nice horn to sling as an anchor and belayed John up.
We reached the summit around 3pm I believe and spent a half hour up there enjoying the views of Mount Sneffels, the Wilson Group, and the Weminuche. Just about all the San Juan peaks were visible on this crystal clear day! After a snack, I located the bomber rappel anchor on the east side of the summit block, fed the rope and we rapped down using out 60 meter rope in one clean rappel. Many people rappel back through the cannon hole between the truck size chockstone and the cliff face however I ended up throwing the rope over the chockstone making the final bit of the rappel free hanging. That sure was scary on my 7.5 millimeter half rope!
For the descent, we decided to try and take the Stans Shortcut route. It was a bad idea. We didn't really have the best idea where it was and while we were able to reach the creek easily enough, when we reached the waterfall we started heading around it to the west side and found ourselves cliffed out. After reviewing the photo of the guidebook page I had, I noticed we had to cross over to the east side of the large waterfall and locate a small goat trail. This provided a way down through the sandstone cliffs but put us way to the east. Descending through the forest afterward was easy but longer than we anticipated and we were wondering if we somehow missed the trail.
Eventually though, we met back up with the small meadow where we first saw Dallas Peak on the hike in and saw the only other people of the day. A couple hunters were scouting for animal trends for the upcoming hunting season. From here, the hike to the car just took about a half hour and just before sunset we reached it. Since my hiking shoes are a little bit too small, my feet were hurting. John and I met for dinner in Montrose at which point, around 11pm, he drove back to Denver and I returned to Roosevelt to work.