Kyes Peak

Kyes (rhymes with size) Peak is the highest summit of the Monte Cristo group. It's starting point is the very popular, Blanca Lake Trailhead. This scramble can be done as a strenuous one-day trip with a very likely return in the dark or as an overnight with a camp at Virgin Lake.

getting there

Drive US-2 west of Milepost 50. Turn left onto Beckler Road and drive north to Forest Road Road 63 for 16 miles. Turn left at a junction for Blanca Lake and continue 1.8 miles to the trailhead (4,000 ft).

Approach & ascent

Hike the Blanca Lake Trail to Virgin Lake (4,600 ft), a great place to camp if you make this a multi-day trip. From Virgin Lake, take the south ridge going northeast. You may have to stay on the east side to traverse the ridge.  The trail levels out at 5,300 ft. Head onto the west side of the ridge at 5,845 ft, and then up steep slopes, avoiding cliff bands.  Cross a boulder field at 6,300 ft and then aim for a gap at Point 7026. There is some Class 4 scrambling to the summit.

  • Difficulty: Strenuous 5, Technical 5
  • Length: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,500 ft
  • 7,284 ft
  • USGS Blanca Lake
  • Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143

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