Boulder GulchPosted On:
2017-08-19, By: TravelingMattInfo:
First, the trailhead. From the northern end of Silverton, go straight on the road towards the Silverton ski area -- do not take the Animas/Cinnamon Pass Road to the right. At the first switchback take the road to the right; follow it above the cemetery and turn east (hard right) onto a two-track road. Follow this road almost 1 mile to a locked gate; it can be driven in any SUV or crossover and perhaps 2wd cars with care. Now, the climb. This mountain feels like it belongs in the Gore Range. Hike up the road for 1/3 mile to Boulder Gulch, cross the creek and hike the trail up to 11,600'. Head northwest up Storm's southern basin on gentle terrain. A sporadic use trail exists, but do not count on needing it. Reach the first lake at 11,900'; above here, the terrain can be confusing and steeper than it looks. Left of the lake (northwest) is more direct but right (north) may be less steep and have better footing. Above a pair of lakes at 12,800', curl around west where you face a choice of two north-facing gullies: the eastern (left or first) one is hard-packed dirt and the western (right or second) is ball-bearing angle-of-repose scree. What'll it be, lethal injection or firing squad? I went up the east gully and scree-surfed down the west. Staying along the sides of either gully MAY help. (From the 12,800' lakes you may be tempted to immediately turn south and ascend to the 13020' col with Point 13254, but this will require traversing multiple towers of unknown difficulty on the ridge.) Storm's southwest ridge is gentle and grassy at first but requires an exhilarating scramble over six towers to the summit. Class 3 and a bit loose but not as bad as the gullies. Good luck with this one; you have to really want it.