This was my first trip to the Gore Range and as such I figured I would make my first trip report out of it!
RT length: ~10 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3,700 ft.
I have been wanting to get in to the Gores for some time now and the opportunity conveniently presented itself recently so a friend and I decided to get away from the crowds and climb Keller Mountain. The plan was to ascend the west ridge so on that Sunday morning we got up early and drove to the Gores!
We started our hike via the North Rock Creek Trailhead and started off on a huge trail that used to be a road. We hiked on this trail for a few miles until we reached Boss Mine and from there we took a sharp right and bushwhacked up the hill until we reached the ridge.
The nice forest above Boss mine
Looking back as we approach pt 12,847
Going up the hill was steep but not too bad. Once we reached the ridge we took in the views and turned towards our destination. After gaining more elevation on solid talus we reached pt. 12,847 from which we could see the pt. 12,940 ahead and the rest of the ridge. From this point we weighed our options and decided to take the most direct (but perhaps not the easiest) route around the north face of pt. 12,940.
Looking towards the rest of the route from the face
Our goal was to traverse directly across the face and aim for a saddle on the ridge on the other side right as the ridge got rough. As we went around the face we initially encountered some steep but fairly solid talus which turned in to grassy ledges. It was all fairly easy class 3 until we got closer and closer to the saddle we were eyeing when it got steeper and steeper. We finally turned a corner and were faced with a steep couloir that was a bit to sketchy to cross. At this point the ridge was only about 30 ft above us and the rock looked solid so we just went straight up until we got to the top of the ridge! It was pretty steep and was probably class 4 but the rock was solid and we had no problems.
An example of the ledges on the face we traversed
Looking down the steep section to gain the ridge
The top of the ridge was conveniently flat and from there we could see the rest of the route. From there the ridge looks convoluted but it ended up being pretty straight forward. We stayed to the left of the ridge and traversed around the various bumps until we reached the mellow slopes up to the sub-summit and summit of Keller.
Looking back from the near the top. It is approximately what we did.
Once we reached the top we enjoyed the good views, but the weather was starting to look pretty sour so we decided to lose altitude fast by descending the south east face of the mountain. From the summit we continued east on the ridge and took a left into the basin were it was the least steep. From there it was just a long walk back to the car. When we got lower we bushwhacked through some willows, got rained on, got the shit scared out of us by a grouse, and generally had a good time. We were lucky enough to stumble on a tiny winding trail that miraculously led us back to the main trail and from there to the car.
Some neat young pine cones