Whale Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2021-04-19, By: angry
Info: Parked approximately 1.8 miles below the th. Snowshoed from car to summit and back, gaining ridge from SW. 
Route: Whale\'s Tail Couloir
Posted On: 2021-04-17, By: supranihilest
Info: Whale's Tail was perfect today. Don't try to drive too far up the road when the snow begins in earnest, a couple of Subarus got stuck in the morning. Snow from Gibson Lake Trailhead to around treeline is all powder, and we put in a track. From treeline to the bottom of the couloir the route weaves around some, and near Gibson Lake it goes south to avoid cliffs below the couloir. I put a booter all the way up climber's right side of the couloir. Snow was several inches of powder with wet to icy snow underneath. The bottom and top had some front pointing. The summit ridge has some rocks and thin snow, beware if skiing. The couloir was in great shape for skiing (my partner skied, I was on snowshoes). Gear: flotation mandatory, ice axe and/or crampons highly desired (especially if steps are frozen in the morning). I didn't use my axe as anything more than a short trekking pole but personally found crampons useful in a few short sections. 
Route: Jefferson Lake Traverse
Posted On: 2021-02-01, By: gluckhikes
Info: Road is closed 3.5 miles below Jefferson Lake. Brief deep snowshoe climb followed by loose talus gully to gain the ridge. No flotation or traction needed for the entire ridge over the 12ers and Whale Peak. Broke a deep trench through the trees from ridge of Glacier Peak to the Lake. 17 mile trip. 
Route: Southeast Ridge from Jefferson Lake
Posted On: 2020-11-21, By: supranihilest
Info: The winter road closure is currently 1.2 miles below Jefferson Lake and could be pushed back farther depending on conditions. The road is in good shape right now, perhaps a bit icy. From the boat launch area we went basically due east into the forest, where snow began. The snow was variable across the entire mountain, sometimes rock hard, sometimes sugary, sometimes punch crust, and anywhere from a dusting to knee deep. We didn't use snowshoes and they would probably not be helpful at this point. We weaved our way through the forest, dropping a bit farther south towards cliffs and a talus field that funneled us upwards alongside the forest. When the snow got irritatingly deep we went up onto the talus and boulders, which were moderately steep and stupid roly-poly - be careful if you go onto the rocks. Follow the gully to the ridge, where things dry out significantly, then go north towards Point 12,088. There's little snow to contend with along the way. Dropping down towards the saddle with Point 12,567 there's some snow, but nothing serious. Ascending 12,567's south slopes takes forever, this blob is enormous and like a mile away. The summit area is pretty flat and we wandered around a bit, eventually agreeing that the summit cairn is accurate. The distance from 12,567 to Whale is also quite long, but carry on. There's not much snow until you reach the narrower ridge up Whale. The north side has more than the south, pretty sugary garbage too. It looks like there might be some scrambling along the way, but there isn't unless you force it. The final push is steep and is tiny, loose scree that's somewhat frozen together. No snow on the short summit ridge. If you out and back this route like we did don't forget you have to go over both 12ers on your way back too. They can sort of be skirted - west and east for 12,567 and 12,088, respectively - but you re-gain most of that elevation. Going back down the gully we avoided the rocks, since postholing going downhill is infinitely better than postholing going uphill. Equipment: snowshoes not useful currently (perhaps after the next storm, but still questionable unless it's a huge dump), we brought ice axes and microspikes and used neither. Avalanche gear not needed currently, but be very aware of the current snowpack for the future - there were plenty of slabs that went from the top of the snowpack to the ground, and plenty of very slick crusts on the snow. These could last all season and provide a bed surface for snow to slide on in the future. 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-03, By: Mountain_hiker100
Info: No snow, or mud actually on the ridge or the peak. Before getting to Gibson lake, on the Gibson lake trail, there was tons of mud, and river crossings. Nothing to bad though, just expect to get your hiking boots a little dirty and wet. It was cold and windy up there, so make sure to bring some layers! 
Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2020-06-28, By: Hannah_Madden
Info: Road was dry, creek crossing is also very shallow. No snow until above tree line. One or two small patches before the lake, easily crossed. Trail is pretty soupy as well. We went up the slope north of the lake and summit and down the south ridge. Although there was snow on the slope going up we were able to completely avoid it. No snow at all on the route south of the lake going up the ridge. There's also a bit of a trail on that side. First photo is of the peak and the slope we ascended, second two are of the south ridge. 
Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2020-06-25, By: 14erAddict
Info: Snow is avoidable if you head right at the lake and continue right to reach the ridge. Ridge is dry. Trail is sloppy near the lake from snow melt. 
Route: Georgia Pass TH
Posted On: 2020-06-21, By: stenquistm
Info: Parked at Georgia Pass and hiked to Whale Pk over Glacier Pk. A few snow patches across the road at the start of the hike. Melting fast, and easy to avoid (or walk through, they are short). Once you get through the access in gate: the hike is virtually dry the whole way. Did not use spikes. Pleasant tundra stroll, 9 mi RT. 
Route: From Georgia Pass
Posted On: 2020-05-31, By: AnastasiaC
Info: Parked about 1.25 miles from the top of the pass, before tight switchback. Still a lot of snow on the road and below treeline. I don't believe snowshoes would have helped, expect to posthole. Dry above treeline. Total distance was a little over 12 miles and ~2200' of gain. 
Route: Whales tail couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-23, By: Agstrohmeier
Info: Road clear of snow to Gibson lake trailhead, although pretty rough. Patchy snow for about 2 miles from there, we wore trail runners. Were able to mostly skin from there to the base of the couloir, a couple sections of hiking. Couloir is in decent shape, a slide took out a small section but still skiable. We reached the summit at 10am, a bit later than ideal but the skiing was still good. 7 miles 2700ft gain from the Gibson lake trailhead. 
Route: East Face from Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2020-05-10, By: Ptglhs
Info: As of Sunday it look like a couple of people had managed to drive all the way up to the trailhead for Gibson Lake. You would need high clearance four-wheel drive given some of the snow patches and Rock still on the road. Any sedan can make it to the handcart campground. Don't miss the Footbridge over the creek. It's there. The trail was 99% snow covered up to Treeline. After that there is some bare Tundra and then a lot of snow coverage on the East face. I wore snowshoes and used my ice ax on the way up and was able to glissade on the way down. Climbers right face or climbers left couloir are both in for skiing. The trail is not evident below tree line so follow the tracks of previous hikers. 1: face seen from ~11.5k, below lake. 2: how much of the "trail" looks. 
Route: West Ridge
Posted On: 2019-10-15, By: stephakett
Info: 6-8" of snow from 10,5/11K+. Probably melting this week, but more is forecasted in the upcoming days. Spotted a bull and cow moose in the willows below Gibson Lake 
Route: NE Slopes
Posted On: 2019-10-12, By: durkan
Info: Trail had maybe 90% snow from TH to lake that was an inch or less deep. Stayed to the north of Gibson Lake down in the bowl and then went up and down the NE slopes. From lake up to summit was continuous snow that was a few inches deep atop talus and scree and made for some frustrating steps. Other than the wind, a rather beautiful day! 
Route: from Georgia Pass
Posted On: 2019-08-31, By: shaunblair
Info: Dry, as expected. Windy, and lots of grasshoppers/crickets. 
Route: Gibson Lake TH
Posted On: 2019-07-06, By: TheBeardedBullet
Info: We ran into some snow below the lake but the trail was easy to follow. Postholed about 3 times on the way down. The lake had one small chunk of ice and was completely clear of snow. I caught 1 trout while up at the lake. We hiked up the to saddle S of the lake and up the ridge to the summit. Didn't walk on any snow on that part. The peak was clear as well. The 4wd road to the TH was pretty rough. High clearance vehicle recommended but we did see a Ford Escape pretty high up the road. 
Route: Jefferson Lake via 12ers
Posted On: 2019-07-01, By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Possible to summit Whale and the 2 unnamed 12ers to its south without stepping on snow from Jefferson Lake. I left the lake trail really early and it was steep in the trees, but you can leave after the backside of the lake and go up to the saddle in between 12088 and 12567 for a gentler approach as well and that also looks dry. Looped around to Glacier and there was some patchy snow coming off Glacier along the ridge, bailed in the valley and had a few snowfields to cross in the valley and then strung together some dry meadows before getting back to the lake. Note there is a $7 day use fee at Jefferson Lake. Road open to lake, but parking lot has a big snowdrift over about 1/3 or so of the parking space. Also tagged Jefferson Hill (10er), its dry by the valley approach to it is swampy. This is a good option if you want to leave the snowshoes and spikes at home. I didn't even take my gaiters out of my pack. 1: 12567 and Whale from 12088 2: 12567 and 12088 from falsie on Whale 3: Whale from falsie 4: Descent off Glacier's ridge 5: Meadows in the valley 
Route: Gibson lake TH
Posted On: 2019-06-26, By: SnowAlien
Info: Road is dry, saw Crosstrek parked near 4x4 TH (while I parked my Subi by Hall Valley CG, adding 2 miles RT). Trail is dry to about 11k, patchy snow thereafter, more continuous snow after 11.5k. Skinned up to the ridge, skied down Whales tail. Felt a bit past it's prime, with some avy debris. Exit basin developing suncups. 
Route: Whale Tail Couloir
Posted On: 2019-05-31, By: jjust
Info: If anyone is looking for an easy snow climb, close to Denver, in good condition, with reasonable statistics, I recommend Whale Tail Couloir on Whale Peak. As of this morning, I could drive to within a quarter mile of the Gibson Lake Trailhead with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Snowshoes are also recommended. https://www.jamesjusthiking.com/2019-trip-reports/whale-peak 
Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2018-06-16, By: goldenite
Info: Great day on Whale Peak and the weather held out for a ridge walk around the basin. Ascended the north ridge and descended the south. Avoidable snow on that route, though may have to cross what used to be the cornice (no big overhangs) and the whale's tail isn't in at the top. The north ridge is better to avoid willows, but they're not too tall when taking the south ridge. Shout out to the nice woman I met on the south ridge face who shared her knowledge of the harder 14ers and talked shop with me as we got back to the trail. Refreshing to find someone so open to chatting. 
Route: Whales Tail
Posted On: 2018-05-28, By: chiploomis
Info: The Tail is still in, well at least enough to ski a few turns. My CR-V had difficulty getting to the trailhead, it is a 1999 and does not have the power it used to. got within .6 miles of the TH 

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