Trailhead: Rock Creek
Elevation Gain: 4,265'
It was almost 4 years to the day of my first trip to the Gores. It was high time to get back into this range that I have been saving for Darrin's scramble and exposure happy feet. Finally the stars aligned and we got a trip planned into this amazing range. Now, I doubt we'll leave it anytime soon. But that's how it goes when you fall in love, right?
We crashed out at a very full trailhead Friday night (road turnoff is not 9 miles from I-70 like SP says) for a semi early wake-up call the next day. For once the weather forecast wasn't predicting the punishing monsoon storms we've been seeing for the past month. So we knew we had time to take it easy.
The first few miles fled by, as the trail is like a super highway. Though once at the mine , the trails spray out in many directions. After "locating our return trail", we make our way up our intended direction, the east ridge. From there it was a fairly simple amble up the ridge to the start of the talus. Then the fun began! Plenty of opportunities to scramble if you chose, or dodge around if you like. There's only one spot where you do need to do some class 3 scrambling, but it's up a rather nice stair-step.
Moonset behind the ridge
All the while, the views around were amazing. I was kicking myself for forgetting my polarizing filter in another climbing bag. But I made do, trying to take photos and keep up with Darrin as he had fun on the ridge.
Pano from the ridge up Keller
The Grand Traverse
Valhalla, I am coming!
Blocky ridge walking
A ridge scramble, if you will
Darrin having some fun
Like walking up stairs as a toddler
The white tower
After a while, the ridge obstructions were getting a bit much, so we dropped to the south and just skirted them. After that, it was a simple walk over to the summit.
We lounged on the summit for a while, drinking in the views. Darrin was already making a list of all the peaks he wanted to climb next. Too bad it wasn't the start of summer! Oh well, not like they're going anywhere.
What's that? Is it ranked? Doubtful Let's go over there anyway! (Holy Cross in background)
Image #15 (not yet uploaded)
Summit Gore pano
We had originally planned to go back down via the Southwest face, but that bump farther SW on the ridge was calling our name. It didn't look ranked, but it looked like it may be interesting getting over there. So with a beautiful day continuing, we decided to alter plans and go explore another ridge.
The Ridge to 13,055
Well, the ridge wasn't all that difficult, and we then knew it wasn't ranked. But we got a better view and some of the more northern peaks that were hiding behind a ridge, popped into view. So not terrible. From here we decided to continue along the ridge, till the saddle with "North Traverse Peak".
The ridge proper is quite exciting! Though SP lists the route as C2, I bet they dropped off the ridge to the east to accomplish that. So keep that in mind as you view the next few photos of some fun on the ridge proper.
Darrin finding some exposure scrambling
Some perspective on the last shot
I think I'll take the less exposed class 4 slab
Starting to get real interesting...
Some slabby exposure
Me traversing, hoping my slightly worn out boots can grip the narrow edge
Once beyond the fun on the ridge, the drop down to the saddle went smoothly. We had been eying a way to get from the saddle to the "trail" of the SW slopes from the view above. I figured if we contoured high and left in the valley, we would meet up with the trail as it dropped down further into the valley.
Dropping from the saddle
A lovely tarn
Hmm we thought, as we got to where the trail should be. Where the heck is it? So we contoured farther over, and more or less followed where the line on the SP map said the trail would be. Nada. So then we just started down into the valley. Followed a talus slope for a while, until it dead-ended in willows. Now the bushwack began! Climbing over talus with willows is not a great way to go, nor is it safe for shins. After some time exploring our hate of willows, we exited and found another open talus slope. At the base of it was a cairn. A cairn? Yay! That trail was short lived, as it went due south, and not in our preferred direction. So we left that area and just headed in the direction of the mine. After a short bit a narrow dirt track appeared. So we followed it. Neither of us said anything, for fear of jinxing it, and therefore losing the track. But after a few minutes, it remained. Hurray! We found the trail! Not that it was a great trail, but it was a trail. A trail that seemingly kept going uphill, a lot. Oh well. we found it, and as soon as we hit the mining trail, it was off to the races, despite our sore feet. I doubt I'll ever leave the Gore without sore feet. Seems to be a theme...
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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