Pauite Peak 13,088 ft
East Ridge From Audubon's SE Ridge, class 4, 8.2 miles, 3200 ft, July 2007 (Jared and Dave Pneuman)
I'm writing this a month and a half later so I'll be brief. Dave, Jen, Brian Morsony, and I set out to so the SE ridge on Audubon. This is an overlooked classic out of Mitchell Lake parking lot in the Brainard Lake recreation area. I've done this climb before but the others hadn't . As it turned out Brian slows down a lot on talus and wasn't moving quickly enough to finish and Jen's knee was bugging her so the two of them turned back. At one point on the hike I noticed a fox scouting Jen aout as she took a break behind a boulder. Shed didn't notice it but I managed to snap a long distance shot of it. To climb this ridge basically hike to the end of Mitchell Lake, hang right and head for the obvious ridge. Gain the ridge at a low point to avoid nasty scree and Talus and then head up it to the obvious notch. Climb down into and out of the notch then climb up the wall to the gentle slopes above it. Once on the slopes head up the really easy tundra to the obvious highpoint and you are at the summit. The connecting ridge with Pauite is obvious here.
Dave and I continued on to the summit and headed over to Pauite. This is a pretty neat route with a little bit off 3rd and 4th class scrambling. The climb past the notch on the SE ridge looks imposing but is pretty simple. The hard part is realizing how far you are from the summit when you finish the scrambling. The traverse over to Pauite is almost entirely a walk with little easy sections of second and third class. The tricky bit is getting off Pauite. Study your descent carefully or you could find yourself cliffing out. Summitpost has a good description of the route. The other tricky part of the route is getting back to the trail once you have finished the down climbing.
One thing I remember from this trip was meeting a fellow who lived in Ohio and had been visiting this portion of our state for 23 years thinking it was the most beautiful. I hope I convinced him to get himself down to the San Juans one of these days because our corner of the state doesn't hold a candle to the beauty down there.
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