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Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby My-Therapy » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:46 am

Hello, I was wondering if anyone knew whether or not Rock Creek Trailhead in the Gore Range is currently accessible? Thanks for any information.

-J. Hart

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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby tylermacguire » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:35 am

I know people have been cross country skiing that road so I would plan to park at the summer trail head.

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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby planet54 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:23 pm

The county road is plowed to the winter trailhead which is about 1.5 miles below the summer trailhead.Gate is closed at that point.
The county road is fairly steep. I would recommend front wheel drive minimum.
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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby ThuChad » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:34 pm

Here's the winter/low clearance TH in google maps. The circle at the end of the road is the summer TH. You might already know this but just in case.
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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby wheresgibbs » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:29 pm

The trailhead/parking lot on Rock Creek Rd is accessible (it's already been mentioned but you do want/need front wheel or 4wd to get there after it snows, the road is plowed but is still very slick in spots) and the summer trailhead will not be accessible save for traveling on foot. It's great for snowshoeing or cross country skiing though!

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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby My-Therapy » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:14 pm

Thanks for all of the information, sounds like I will bring my 4wd and plan to park at the winter closure. I'm hoping to snowshoe up to Boulder Lake sometime in the next couple of weeks.

-J. Hart

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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby d_baker » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:00 am

On Friday, Jan 4, a friend and I drove his Subaru Forester up to the winter closure for Rock Creek. The 1.5 miles to the closure is a snow packed road, and it is a long sustained fairly steep grade. At this time, it has not been sanded, at all!
Coming down the hill Saturday afternoon, my friend had it in low gear but the speed was still too great and we slid off the road on a curve. After digging ourselves out (luckily we had our avy shovels with us), we creeped down the road by riding the brakes. That got us down safely.
I suggest bringing a shovel when/if you go up there! There's plenty of areas on the road where cars have slid off.

From the winter closure, the road to Rock Creek TH is packed from skiers and snowshoers. We booted it up and down with heavy packs without any problems. The ~1.5mi to the summertime TH goes quickly. The trail itself is also packed.
At the N Rock Creek/Gore Range trail junction, tracks go on both trails. Looks like mostly skiers on N Rock Creek, whereas Gore Range trail has seen both skiers and snowshoers.

HPIM1221.JPG (219.88 KiB) Viewed 234 times

In the photo above, you can see the trench that goes to the N on the Gore Range trail. This is the point where we put on snowshoes.
We improved the trench on the Gore Range trail; yet skiers will think we destroyed their track! (Sorry skiers.)
We went to the larger pond/lake as seen on the map, located at about 9760' and camped there. This area is only 1/2 mile from the junction. The track continues beyond this point along the Gore Range trail, but I don't know how far. We did go a ways beyond there as well, looking for suitable camping areas, but eventually returned to the lake area.

From our camp, we made an attempt at Keller's E ridge on Saturday. Snow in the trees is a little deep, but we poached a ski track so it was easier breaking for a ways (but once again, skiers won't be happy). The ski track was probably at least a couple of days or more old, judging from how the track had filled in either from wind or light snow fall. We turned W off of their track somewhere around 11,000' and started breaking toward treeline.

We had one whumpf on an E/NE aspect just below treeline, but it was not significant. We were cautious with our route finding through the trees, and avoided open steeper glades and also approached treeline taking the lowest angles we could.
Once above treeline and near the big bench at 11,800' we continued up and across the E slopes to NE side of the slope where it was windblown to ascend the steeper portion of the upper E face towards the first point on Keller (12,847').

upperEslopesOfKeller.JPG (219.52 KiB) Viewed 234 times

It was just below that point (12,847') where we turned around due to a wind loaded area, that had two different possible consequences if it were to slide.
A "corridor" of lower angle terrain could have been climbed to gain the ridge, but on climber's right and ~10' from the "corridor" was a convex roll into a couloir, and on climber's left of the narrow "corridor" the slope starts to steepen (I measured close to 30 degrees) and if that side slid it would take us down steeper terrain below on the S/SE side of the mountain.

Poking around in the snow at our position, we didn't feel much of a slab but we weren't sure if we would start to encounter more of a slab a little higher where consequences of triggering something would be greater. We turned around, and headed down. Our "suspect" slope was an E/SE aspect. Our conservative decision was a good one for us, and since we were packing out that same day, the time saved us from a much later pack out and drive home. Plus, since we went off the road anyway, we had daylight to dig ourselves out!

Gore Range is beautiful right now!

Looking into lower Boulder drainage....

BoulderCrDrainage_lower.JPG (304.65 KiB) Viewed 234 times

Perhaps far more than anyone wanted or needed to know. But, if anyone is interested in going up Keller anytime soon, there's a trench!

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Re: Rock Creek trailhead accessible?

Postby My-Therapy » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:58 pm

Wow, great info/trip report. sounds like you guys had a good scenic workout in the Gore range. I look forward to visiting that area in the near future. Thanks for all of the information and the pictures as well.

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