Whale Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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 
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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. 
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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 
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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. 
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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 
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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. 
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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 
 
Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2018-05-08, By: TakeMeToYourSummit
Info: Trailhead info: A few small snow patches on the road (melting fast). My friend drove his Honda CRV to the TH (more snow on the road above that though). I don't think a vehicle with less clearance would do well on this road. Route info: Patchy snow for the first mile - then consistant, supportive snow along the trail (with minimal bare sections to step across). We lost the trail as we neared treeline, but a non-issue as the route becomes obvious. We ascended (skinning) the gully lookers right up from the lake, transitioned to booting with axes 300 or 400 feet below the summit (NE Bowl), & stomped a straight line up snow & a bit of rock to the top. A bit of wind & hazy clouds helped keep our snow from getting too cooked. The Whale Tail was creamy corn as was the rest of our descent to treeline. In the trees the snow got funky at points, we were just too lazy to transition back to ski mode. The pics are sequential & most are pretty obvious. Seeing a couple moose & 3 mountain goats only added to the wonderful day. This line still has a couple weeks in it - go get it! 
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Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2017-12-13, By: JosephG
Info: Because I know everyone's on the edge of their seat for this one. Snow from the Gibson Lake TH to the mountain. Floatation is not needed for the first 1.6 miles in the trees. It would be useful for the remaining hike (~0.7 miles) to Gibson Lake, although getting there without is certainly possible. Ascending Whale, there are a lot of cornices overhanging the gullies on either side, but it is possible to cobble together a route that avoids them. Give wide berth to the upper bowl to the north/north east of the final ascent from Gibson Lake--it has several gullies ready to go. Thursday's storm looks to add a few inches. 
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Route: Straight On
Posted On: 2017-07-09, By: JColk
Info: We climbed the front face of the Whale as opposed to gaining the Continental Saddle because we thought it was snow covered. This turned out to be untrue. We class 2+ scrambled the Whale, and had a blast doing so, but I suggest taking the standard scramble! Summer conditions all the way to the summit with tons of leftover snow that might never melt. We saw a few people skiing. On trail by 9:30, off trail by 3:30. 
 
Route: Whale\'s Tail Couloir
Posted On: 2017-05-08, By: ajlavigne
Info: CR 60 is completely dry; FSR 120 is dry other than maybe two patches about 20 feet long. Stream crossing is the hardest part of the 4wd road - two larger rocks create a 'funnel' up the far bank; I wouldn't try this in my 2011 Escape, but our Pathfinder and Xterra Pro both did fine all the way to the Gibson Lake parking area. A few patches of dry ground, but 90%+ snow cover from the TH to the summit. Intermittent soft spots through the trees and once the snow heats up, so snowshoes were useful. Only one set of faint bootprints and faint ski tracks - didn't see anyone outside of our group all day except for a couple 4wd cars on the way back to CR 60. Signs of recent point releases and wet slide activity on Whale's Tail Couloir and surrounding area. Assessed snow at the base of the couloir, (pretty consolidated with a hard-pack about 8" down on the apron), and made the go-decision around 7:15. By 8 am, right before topping out, the snow was softening up, so any later and it could have gotten a little dicey. NE ridge off summit is snow-covered; summit and SE ridge are dry. Lake still completely frozen. 
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