Argentine Peak (13,738′) | CO Rank: 131/637
Front Range | Arapaho National Forest | Georgetown, CO
07/26/20 | 2.33 miles | 941′ gain | Class 1/2
Allie’s mom Peggy was in town with her Jeep to do some 4-wheeling. It wasn’t hard to convince her to also climb a 13er with us (and honestly at this point I think she knows 13ers are always on the agenda). Argentine Peak (and 4-wheeling to Argentine Pass) was an easy choice.
We drove up early to beat the hoards of Jeeps and ATVs that clog Leavenworth Creek Road on summer weekends. But it’s busy for a reason: Leavenworth Basin is very scenic and full of mining history. Leavenworth Creek Road is easy 4wd to the parking area at the Waldorf Mine, but becomes much narrower and rougher on the way to Argentine Pass (~13,200′). There is parking for just a couple vehicles at the pass itself. We were only about a mile from the summit of Argentine Peak and ready for a very easy hike.
The views from Argentine Pass were incredible. Giants Grays and Torreys rose above Horseshoe Basin to the west while wispy clouds swirled beneath them. We normally work hard for views like these but today was a special treat.
The route up Argentine Peak was straightforward. From Argentine Pass, we hiked across grassy tundra and occasional talus, following the undulating ridge all the way to the summit. There was no need to rush so we took our time, watching the clouds and taking time to just “be”.
As we neared the summit, clouds moved in and our visibility was briefly obscured. Most of the cloud cover kept to the west, not crossing the ridgeline. It was a bit creepy to watch the clouds billow up the ridge, nearly swallowing the distant Jeep.
On our drive out, we made a quick detour to the Santiago Mill. The mill structure is being restored and a small parking area with educational signage has recently been put in. According to one sign, the prominent features include the “1935 mill and sampling shed, 1948 water tank, and 1911 ore bin.” The mill was used on and off from 1935 to 1983.
What a beautiful morning in one of my favorite places on the Front Range.