Peak(s):  "East Partner Pk"  -  13,057 feet
Date Posted:  06/20/2015
Date Climbed:   06/19/2015
Author:  piper14er
 East Partner Peak - South Ridge  

12.2 miles +/- and 4900 feet.

Partner: Solo

Hey lets give a shout out to those partners (or pardners) that goes along with many a hiker. Napoleon Solo and Hans Solo, not much for hiking but good in a fight.


I could of used a real partner on this one. Best partner Lee Marvin ever had too.

Okay what possesses me to do some of these peaks when it isn't ideal, but what the heck. The weather was great, too great, it was hot and the snow extremely slushy. I looked at the thermometer on my pack on the way down and it was reading 80, couldn't be?

We are on our way right partner. When will I be there? I don't know. When will I get there? I ain't certain. All that I know Is I am on my way.

I ascended the Pitkin Creek trail that is accessed from the East Vail exit around to the north and back east.

Once across the bridge the start of the trail is like this.

The flowers were out and the trail once up the beginning steep section meanders through meadows and crosses a number of creeks.

The trail is pretty good, gets a little rocky farther up as you are gaining elevation.

The creeks are flowing like crazy. I had to jump one creek, about 8-10 foot across going up and coming back down. Funny there was some very thin ice on the standing water by that crossing on the way up.

I left the trail when I was at the south ridge. The start followed this rocky gully.

I followed the ridge along the east side mostly which takes you through some trees and scrub. There was snow there but once you break out of the trees it is grassy, for a while anyway.

The first sighting of East partner.

A closer look.

Let the Class 3/4/5 begin and snow, let's see ice, rocks, slush and really deep slush.

A look back at the first stretch of ridge.

You can't look back too long so let's look ahead.

I was on the ridge then got a little below it. You can't see all the snowfields in the pictures but I crossed more than a few.

Yep back on the ridge.

Okay it is getting more intense. Hey partner how about some route finding help? Hey where did he go? I think partner Hans flew out into space. Lots of exposure you know.

More ridge more snow.

I decided at this point to avoid more exposure by taking the snow line. Yea the finger of snow that goes third right, left and up in the last picture. I also decided for better or worse to put on the crampons and break out the axe. The snow was slushy, then icy in spots. Mixed route over snow, slush and rock.

A finger of snow, then rock, then snow. Exposure left.

What do you think Napoleon? What the? He must of said U.N.C.L.E. and secretly left. Dang.

I kept going up and over across the snow, slush, rocks and ice. It was steep and sketchy. After a few false alarms there was the top.

The snowy top with Peak X.

West Partner Peak.

I don't know but it looks like after all the trouble it took to get here that maybe we should wait to get West Partner, what do you think Clint? Okay don't give me that any which way you can stuff, it looks pretty tough along that ridge over there. I know you are a tough guy but if you fall it is going to be sudden impact, that's for sure. Yea it could be the good, the bad or the ugly, sheesh. You just don't know you get part way across and that ridge could throw us a curve and that would be trouble. Let's try another time, I'll let you know.

Okay maybe there wasn't that much snow on top.


Time to retreat. I went back down a ways before deciding to drop straight down the east slopes. A few good looks before that though.

Climbed up some exposed rock on the way up, looks like this in part.

I dropped below the ridge here and there was a cornice above, quickly stage left.

A look up to the north and the pass.

Snow sculpture.

Certainly would not be going this way if there was more snow, a lot of avalanche debris.

A look back.

Headed down the trail, took a 5 minute break at the bridge to cool off from the cool air coming off of the creek. Thanks for reading and commenting pardners!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

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 22 23 24 25

 Comments or Questions

Nice one!
06/22/2015 07:43
Very, VERY nice, Al! I did West Partner some years ago and East sure looks a lot tougher. Love your narrative and pics. The Gores still have quite a bit of snow, don’t they?


06/22/2015 08:11
More snow than you would think by looking at it from down below.
Thanks Jay


06/22/2015 12:49
That ridge is a great mountaineering route – classic scrambling, route–finding and snow. Takes some skill going Solo on that. Like the style, as always.


06/22/2015 17:10
sorry I had to do some pandering to get a comment but thanks for the kudos, does my self esteem some good I did get to hike and learn some skills from climbers like you and Derek and I am being serious...helps a lot

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