Trappers Peak + X Mountain / 特拉柏峯+X山

Trappers Peak from X Mountain
Trappers Peak from X Mountain

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Trappers Peak and X Mountain have been on the back burner for some time. I’ve waited for the right time to go up because of the popularity of the area. Johannesburg Mountain was a no-go this weekend. But I stuck around on Sunday, so that I could explore something else. Then I went to check out these two high points early in the morning.

The Lowdown on Trappers Peak and X Mountain

Access: Thornton Lakes Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 400′-5966′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

Thornton Lakes Road to Thornton Lakes Trailhead

I’d driven up this way before when the pups and I climbed Damnation Peak. Since I had an SUV back then, the road didn’t feel as bumpy. But this time in a low-clearance car, I took time in getting through the ruts. Parts of it reminded me of the approach to Twin Lakes. But it wasn’t half as bad.

To my surprise, only three cars were at the trailhead when I arrived. The vehicles most likely belonged to the campers. There were some mosquitoes around. But they weren’t bloodthirsty enough to be of an annoyance.

Trappers Peak from X Mountain
Still misty

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Thornton Lakes Trail to Trappers Peak Junction

Overall, the trail was in great shape. Views in the forest were minimal. The first portion of the path to the Thornton Creek crossing was reasonably flat. Then the elevation increased by 300′ in the next stretch to the 4200′ road bend. The transition from the old roadbed to the trail was apparent.

As the elevation gain became steady, the trail then switchbacked up the southeastern slopes. Despite the occasional muddy puddles, the path was in excellent conditions. Eventually, the main trail came out at 5000′ by the junction. From there, lake goers would go down to the water. But the summit seekers would typically get on the ridge trail.

Summit block ahead
Summit block ahead

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South Ridge to Trappers Peak Summit

The trail went up to the ridgeline after going through a short section of light brush. Just below the crest was a steep part with slabs. But the tree roots made the climb more manageable. The well-defined path first took me through a couple of bumps on the ridge. Then it continued up to the summit block.

It had been cloudy. So I was almost sure that the same weather pattern in the last two days would persist throughout today. But I remained optimistic unless the weather indicated otherwise. At first, the clouds concealed the entire area. But after waiting patiently for 20 minutes, the mist then began to retreat. Soon, views down to the basins were the first to appear.

East ridge
East ridge

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Continuing to X Mountain

I played peekaboo with clouds for another half an hour. Then I started heading toward X Mountain at a mile away. Even though the connecting ridge wasn’t completely visible, I followed the main trail down the northwest slopes. My goal was to find the access ramp to get down to the ridgeline. Many side trails made complicated route finding.

Eventually, through the light brush, I found a steep heather ramp behind some trees. I gobbled up lots of tasty wild blueberries as I went down the hill. Views opened up as I made my way across the connecting ridge toward X mountain. Occasionally, I’d turn around to see Trappers Peak’s impressive northwest face. As I got farther away, I saw a couple of people moving about on the summit.

Connecting ridgeline to X Mountain
Connecting ridgeline to X Mountain

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X Mountain Summit

Traverse to X Mountain summit was leisurely. I especially enjoyed walking through massive granite slabs. The northern aspect was a sheer drop into the raging creek below. To the west, the three Thornton Lakes looked peaceful in the basin. Sadly, clouds had hidden the views to the north, including the Picket Range. The top of Mount Degenhardt and McMillan Spires were visible sometimes.

I enjoyed an extended stay on top. Even though views weren’t getting any better, Thornton Peak and Mount Triumph did appear for a brief moment. It became warmer and sunnier as the day progressed. So I decided to start moving before it got hotter. Now that I knew the route, it wasn’t long before I was back up on Trappers Peak.

Thornton Lakes panoramic view
Thornton Lakes panoramic view

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Outro

There was no one on the summit. So I took a snack break on the south end before heading down. I met several groups on the ridge, followed by a few more down in the forest. Everyone looked to be enjoying the sunny afternoon weather as they made their way up. I couldn’t tell if clouds still socked in the Johannesburg Mountain area.

Later, I passed a couple of backpacking groups before arriving back at the trailhead.

Leaving Trappers Peak
Leaving Trappers Peak

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