A realm of possibilities for climbing, hiking Lizard Head

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A realm of possibilities for climbing, hiking Lizard Head

Gripping and powerful wilderness area
Lizard Head, a vertical pillar of exfoliating friable rock is Colorado’s most difficult and dangerous summit climb. This image was captured from the summit of Black Face under a brooding sky. Mount Wilson, Gladstone Peak, and Wilson Peak frame the monolith.
Lizard Head is a multi-pitch technical climb starting at Class 5.8 in difficulty. Seth Marvin-Vanderryn, age 19, alights on the platform after rappelling down a 115-foot chimney.
Ascend north on the Cross Mountain Trail. At the junction with the Lizard Head Trail go northwest to intersect the west ridge of Lizard Head. Pitch up a climber’s trail to the base of the tower. Return to the trail junction and walk east to Black Face then down to Lizard Head Pass.

A realm of possibilities for climbing, hiking Lizard Head

Lizard Head, a vertical pillar of exfoliating friable rock is Colorado’s most difficult and dangerous summit climb. This image was captured from the summit of Black Face under a brooding sky. Mount Wilson, Gladstone Peak, and Wilson Peak frame the monolith.
Lizard Head is a multi-pitch technical climb starting at Class 5.8 in difficulty. Seth Marvin-Vanderryn, age 19, alights on the platform after rappelling down a 115-foot chimney.
Ascend north on the Cross Mountain Trail. At the junction with the Lizard Head Trail go northwest to intersect the west ridge of Lizard Head. Pitch up a climber’s trail to the base of the tower. Return to the trail junction and walk east to Black Face then down to Lizard Head Pass.
Travel basics

Travel: The trailhead for the Cross Mountain Trail is located on the west side of Colorado Highway 145, two miles south of Lizard Head Pass at mile marker 57.4. Watch for a Forest Service sign directing into the parking lot. No facilities, no water. If you are doing the thru-hike to Lizard Head Pass, drop a vehicle or bicycle at the trailhead located on the west side of the pass.

Distance and Elevation Gain: Lizard Head Platform roundtrip: 8.2 miles, 2,800 feet of climbing. Platform plus thru-hike over Black Face to Lizard Head Pass: 11.6 miles with 3,660 feet of climbing. Platform, Black Face and return to Cross Mountain Trailhead: 13.6 miles with 4,100 feet of vertical.

Total Time: 5 to 8 hours, depending on route

Difficulty: Primarily Class 1 trail; navigation moderate; mild exposure on the west ridge of Lizard Head; Class 2-plus scramble up the optional Black Face outcrop.

Maps: Mount Wilson, Colorado 7.5’ USGS Quad or, Trails Illustrated 141: Telluride, Silverton, Ouray, Lake City

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