Paiute East Ridge
ElevationAscent: 194' 59 m
Descent: -691' -211 m
High: 13,191' 4,021 m
Low: 12,693' 3,869 m
GradeAvg Grade: 17% (9°)
Max Grade: 109% (47°)
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“An off-trail run with a little minor scrambling mixed in. One of the best summits (and best views in the Indian Peaks.”— Charles Danforth
From the wind shelters at the summit of Mt. Audubon (there are at least five as of this writing), continue west down a broad slope of easy talus to the saddle at 12,600 feet. Now the real fun begins! Climb up as close to the ridge as possible on a reddish stone "sidewalk." The running is not difficult, but it's very exposed with steep slopes several thousand feet tall on both sides into lake-studded valleys. In a couple places you'll find much harder terrain on the ridgetop and in all cases you should deviate left (south) not right! At no spot will you need to do more than some Class 3 (easy hands-and-feet scrambling).
Paiute is a complicated peak with several high-points. I believe the western one (across a small notch) is the highest. Enjoy the view in all directions and contemplate your place in the universe.
Return via the traverse to sit smugly among the tourists on Audubon or choose another route. The north and west faces are jagged cliffs and not a good option. The south ridge is much less difficult than it looks and, via a long bit of scree and talus (or snow in season) descent, will bring you to Blue Lake for a great tour of the area.
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