Peak(s):  "East Partner Pk"  -  13,057 feet
Peak W
Date Posted:  09/15/2019
Modified:  10/08/2019
Date Climbed:   09/15/2019
Author:  Jorts
Additional Members:   Dobsons
 Punch Buggy Traverse  

Access: Pitkin Creek TH

Start: 0540, 9/15/2019

Partners: Jon Harrison, Corey Dobson, Dan MacArthur

Climb Rating: 4

Duration: 1:20 to Pitkin Lake; 2:20 to Peak V (E. Partner); 3:20 to Peak W; 4:53 back to TH

Total Distance: 12 mi

Vertical: 5200'

Summit: V 13,057'; W 12,775'

Weather: 40-65F/bluebird

Nearest Town: Vail, CO

After plan A, Peak A (Eagles Nest) fell through for the second time this summer, I was lucky enough to receive an invite for an audible up to the Pitkin Lake cirque for the VW traverse ("Punch Buggy" copyright Jon Harrison 2019) from an Eagle crew that is more familiar with the Gore approaches from the west. I drove over late the night before and crashed in the back of my truck at the Pitkin Creek trailhead. After being lulled to sleep by the semis screaming down I-70, I was jolted back to the land of the living by my alarm at 0450.

Lackadaisically cooking breakfast like a mindless zombie was a mistake. I assumed the guys would be a little late to the trailhead since it seems like most everyone's on mountain time in Summit. However, this was a group of dads. Doting fathers who wish to keep pursuing Gore summits without upsetting familial harmony are punctual and efficient. And we were a group of 4 of them.

My oatmeal and coffee went down like light beer, and we were running upward and onward toward Pitkin Lake by 0540. We all discussed the prospects of the Partner Traverse but were leery of it without rope so we settled on a plan to traverse to W from V with basically no knowledge of the route beyond topos. Rope be dammed.

IN THE SPIRIT OF THE GORE, I'm going to be intentionally vague and blah blah blah... I won't go into the details of E. Partner just because there's already plenty of beta out there. From the lake, use steep grass to gain the saddle, and then pick your way along the a system of ridges and gullies to gain the summit block. The south ridge to E. Partner was solid 3rd class without too much exposure beyond one slabby loose gully.

Having made good time up to E. Partner and still feeling fresh, we agreed on making the plunge into the unknown with the traverse to W. Cursory searches for beta on it turned up nothing on summitpost and 14ers. We descended a couple hundred feet to a saddle with an unnamed subpeak. It was fairly guarded by airy slabs off the backside so we located a ledge to the left/NW around it. This ended at the base of a slabby wall. We thought we were going to have to descend a steep loose gully to bypass it but then found that the left arete of the slabs would go.

Climbing the arete led to the ridge proper. It was a blocky, solid traverse that finally terminated in a cliff. Down climbing to the right/south we located a grassy ledge that paralleled the ridge. The ledge led to a steep unpassable gouge in the ledge. Luckily, some 3rd class scrambling regained the ridge, leading to an airy but solid catwalk that ended the difficulties of the traverse.

We descended directly off the summit on grass down to the Usable Pass drainage and rejoined Pitkin Creek trail. Pleasant, remarkably seamless Gore outing.

Alpenglow on W. Partner above Pitkin Lake
Accessing E. Partner's S. Ridge above Pitkin Lake
Ascending E. Partner's S. Ridge
Climbing the crux of E. Partner
E. Partner summit shot
Dan contemplating life and "W"
NW passage
Somewhere on the ridge
Climbing the arete
Corey having regained the ridge
Running the catwalk
The Eagle dads
Summiting V

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

 Comments or Questions

Very cool!
09/16/2019 08:30
Iâll have to check those out. Great pics!

   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. 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 and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.