Peak(s):  Keller Mtn  -  13,085 feet
"Climber`s Point"  -  13,005 feet
Skier's Point - 12930
"Solitude, Mt"  -  13,090 feet
Vista Peak - 13075
Date Posted:  09/11/2014
Modified:  09/29/2014
Date Climbed:   08/23/2014
Author:  Dad Mike
 Gore Peaks Part 2..Wet and Wild  

I had such a great time in the Gore Range the week before, I decided to press my luck and head back to where I left off. The idea was to tour around the top of the Boulder Creek area with a traverse from Keller to Peak Z. When I first started mapping out my Gore Range 13er Traverse, I noted on my map the ridges that I knew were difficult with a "D" and the ridges that I didn't have any information about with a "D?". I couldn't find any information about the ridge from from Keller to Climber's Point...so it got the mystery D. I'll admit that the ridge may not be as difficult in different conditions...but given the conditions I found it in, I would give it a very large "D".

The forecast called for a 50% chance of rain after 1pm. It didn't call for think fog, rain, and hail starting at 7am and continuing the entire day. If I had known that, I never would have attempted this route. As a general rule, I like to see routes that I know nothing about. Oh well. What's an adventure without some adversity?

Saturday, August 23
18 miles, 6900 feet
North Rock Creek TH (3:30a)
North Rock Creek Trail to Gore Range Trail
East Ridge of Keller
Summit of Keller (6:30a)
Ridge to Climber's Point
Climber's Point (9:30a)
Skier's Point (9:45a)
Mt. Solitude (10:30a)
Vista Peak (10:45a)
Ridge to Usable Pass
Descend West and Then Ascend Gully Back to Ridge West of Pt. 12,720
Start Ridge to Peak X
Descend into Boulder Creek
Bushwack Through Boulder Creek Drainage to Boulder Creek Trail
Boulder Creek Trail to Gore Range Trail to North Rock Creek Trail to TH (4p)


I had a rough night of sleep in the North Rock Creek TH parking lot. It rained a few times so I kept having to jump back and forth between my jeep and the dirt. By the time 3:30a rolled around, I was ready to be moving. When I started out the sky was completely clear and the moon was about half full...awesome morning for a walk in the woods. I was a little worried about finding the turn-off from the Gore Creek Trail to the start of Keller's East Ridge in the dark. But there is an obvious turn off as you get to a high point on the trail. It looks like a road at the start, so it's hard to miss.


Image

Looking back at Silverthorne and some harmless looking clouds.


Image

Sunrise from the summit of Keller...hmmm, those clouds are getting bigger.


Image

Brooke and Ben cairns


Image

Soaking in the last rays of sun I would see for the next 10 hours.


Image

Last light on the Grand Traverse (left). The route to Climber's Point goes up the ridge in the center, over Points 13,055 and 12,880 and heads right.


Image

The ridge didn't look too bad from this perspective.


As soon as I started out on the ridge to Climber's, the clouds descended and the fun began. The only thing I can say about the ridge is that it's relentless. The towers and exposed ridges never seemed to end. For the most part, I stayed on the top of the ridge. Bail outs are almost always on the south side. There is one really impressive high point...can't remember if it was before or after Bergschrund Pass...that I tried to wrap around. This was a mistake as I ended up climbing up and over many sub-ridges to get back on route. About 3/4 of the way on the ridge, you get to a huge notch. I would guess it would require a 60' - 80' rappel. There is no option to bail on the south side. At that point I had been on the ridge for 2 1/2 hours. I was faced with a really difficult decision...turn around and reclimb the ridge all the way back to Keller....or piece together a steep, wet, ledgy descent down the north side of the ridge to a gully below the notch. I scouted it for a long time before deciding this was the safer option. I took my time and tested everything I touched. The lower I got, the better I could see, and I was able to link up the best route possible. I eventually made my way over to the gully and was pretty excited and relieved to be there. I climbed up the gully and continued on the ridge. After a couple more false summits I was on top of Climber's Point.

Here are some pictures of the ridge to Climber's...
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image



Image

Looking back at my descent used to bypass the notch...the ledges are hard to see back there in the fog.


Image

Looking towards Solitude from the summit of Climbers. I actually thought I was going to get a break in the weather at this point.


Image

Skier's Point...this was the easiest section of ridge all day.


Image

The clouds started to lift again after climbing Solitude and Vista. Here is a look down at Usable Pass. I was feeling really good at this point. I had the hardest climbing behind me, the rain was letting up, it was still pretty early in the day so I decided to give XYZ a shot.


Image

Peak X with Z and Z Prime in the distance. The best way to ascend the Peak X from here is to descend the west side of the pass and head generally up the dirt gully you can see in the picture. I didn't know this at the time and for some reason decided the better option was to descend the east side, wrapping around, and eventually over Pt. 12,710. Bad idea. The climbing near the top of this point is steep and slabby and there is a knife edge ridge on the other side of it.


Image

It started to pour again as I hit the knife edge and I decided XYZ would have to wait for another day. Here is a look back at the ridge from my descent.


Image

And looking down towards Boulder Creek. Luckily the descent wasn't as scary as it looked from here.


Image

Pt. 12,710 and it's awesome little section of knife edge ridge


Image

I made my way through a impressive collection of enormous boulders and down into the green stuff. It was nice to be walking on a nice soft surface, but it would be another 2 hours of bushwacking before I finally found a trail.


Image

It wsa raining hard when I got to Boulder Lake. You know when you get to that point when you're so wet that you don't even care anymore? I was definitely there.

I made it back to the trailhead around 4pm just as the sun came out.

I'm not sure this trip report will be much help to anyone that wants to attempt this ridge in the future. Hopefully one of the Gore fanatics out there has done it and can fill me in on what I missed.

Thanks for reading.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21


 Comments or Questions
jbchalk

Good stuff, Mike.
09/11/2014 22:36
Solid outing there and sorry for the wetness, but heck you surely made the most of it. I've never done that section of ridge from Pt 12,860' to Climber's Point, so your beta is very helpful. Actually, i'm not aware of anyone who has done it


JosephG
Impressive. As always.
09/12/2014 17:26
Some really unique pics in this TR. Your report makes for a good read (and info). Definitely been at the ”so soaked I don't care” point before. Kind of surreal when you get to that juncture. Nice job! And thanks for all the cairn-n-cairns.


boudreaux

X' and the Knife edge
09/13/2014 15:11
That's a nice little part of your tour I did, the knife edge was a pleasant surprise on the way to X. You really carved up the Gores on this one!



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.




© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.