Peak Names: Vermilion & Beattie Peaks

Peak Heights: 13,894' & 13,342'

Location: San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Trailhead: FSR 627

Difficulty: Class 3

Round Trip Stats: 10.7 mi, 4600 ft

Date Climbed: 3/12/2017

A winter ascent of Vermilion Peak is generally staged from Trout Lake to the west and requires favorable snow conditions. Climb moderate slopes to gain the southeast ridge (rejoicing in the fact that all of that nasty scree is buried under friendlier snow) and follow it to the summit. The crux of the climb is an exposed traverse near the top of the ridge that is dicey in all but the best of conditions.

While wise routefinding will help keep you out of harms way, it is impossible to completely avoid all avalanche terrain. Fortunately Vermilion's steep southwest facing slopes seem to come into respectable condition now and then thanks to their favorable aspect. It is reportedly also possible to stay on the ridge crest and avoid the crux traverse altogether, but I'm not sure how difficult the climbing is.

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