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 Peak(s):  The Spider - 12,692 feet
 Post Date:  08/01/2013
 Date Climbed:   07/21/2013
 Posted By:  vonmackle
 Additional Members:   kimo

 The Spider from Piney Lake      


A Journey Into the Realm of the Spider


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I'd been planning a return trip to this beautiful basin surrounding Crater Lake pretty much from the moment I laid eyes on it last July. I avoided the strong desire to summit the Spider last year because I didn't feel comfortable doing it solo, but I really wanted to give it a try this year. I brought up the idea to Brian, Anna, and Kimo while hiking in Wild Basin in June, and it didn't take much to arouse their interest. The mention of the word "Gore" gets a remarkably similar response among certain members of the hiking community to that of Pavlov's dogs upon hearing the sound of a bell. Ding-ding-ding.


Due to conflicting schedules that kept us from all packing in together, we agreed to just meet at a camp below Crater Lake on Saturday. I wanted to photograph sunset at Piney Lake and get an early start on Saturday morning, so I decided to hit the road after work on Friday. I managed to get done a couple hours late which landed me in the thick of weekend I-70 traffic. Rather than use my brain and take Highway 58 through the canyon, I stayed on I-70 thinking "it can't be THAT bad". Stupid. I pulled into the Piney Lake parking area just as the last bits of light were fading from the clouds. Grrrr.


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Saturday, 7/20




I woke up at five on Saturday morning and was on the trail by six. By 6:05 I was craving pancakes.


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Some sort of fossilized something or other on the trail


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The first few miles of the trail to Upper Piney Lake are pretty straight forward and easy to follow, and the mind is afforded the opportunity to ponder some of life's more perplexing questions such as "why the hell did they put in all of these switchbacks?"


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The second leg of the approach is a whole different story. On paper the hike to Crater Lake appears to be a little over six miles with about 2000 feet of gain. I couldn't tell you what it was in reality, but with all the twists and turns and ups and downs, it seemed like a quite a bit more than that. Many times there were multiple trails one could follow, and at other times the trail would just completely disappear. I entertained myself with thoughts of a fictional incompetent government employee named Edwin P. Schwackington who was put in charge of designing the trail system in Gore Range in the late 1800's. What a buffoon.


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The Spider


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Booth Mountain


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After about six hours, I arrived at my chosen campsite below Crater Lake and was greeted by hundreds of ravenous mosquitos. They could care less about my multiple bug spray applications, so I slipped on my rain jacket to keep them off long enough to set up my tent. After a quick mosquito-free nap I decided to brave the mosquitos once again and headed up to the lake. Since the rest of the group wouldn't be up to camp for a few more hours, I seized the opportunity to take a few dips into the lake. The breeze by the lake managed to keep the mosquitos away as I warmed myself on the rocks in between dips. Paradise. This was just what I needed after the long pack in.


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Crater Lake


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Room with a view



Anna and Kimo arrived at the Piney Lake parking area around noon and began their pack in.


(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Kimo)


Schwackington Falls(?) (Photo by Kimo)


Spider in the distance (Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Kimo)


Flooded Long Lake (Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Anna)


Booth Mountain (Photo by Kimo)


They reached the campsite at around 6pm, giving them enough time to set up camp and eat before joining me up at the lake for some photographic gluttony. All of us were surprised to hear frogs croaking around this high lake. How did they get up there?




(Photo by Kimo)

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(Photo by Kimo)


Moon rising over West Booth Pass (Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Anna)

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As darkness fell, we retuned to our tents and wondered where Brian was. Hopefully he wasn't stuck helplessly bushwhacking his way in the dark. It turns out he had trouble finding his way up earlier in the day and headed out on a mission to persue a loftier checkbox. Sorry we missed you Brain.


The nearly full moon was looking mighty fine, so I set my alarm before I went to sleep so I could wake up for a bit of moonlight photography.


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Sunday, 7/21




Our 5am alarms came sooner than expected, and not long after we were making our way up toward the Spider's western gullies. The great thing about the long pack in on Saturday was that it eliminated the morning's approach almost entirely.



(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Kimo)


We had planned a possible ascent route the night before and initially headed in that general direction, but the further we got up the mountain, the more options presented themselves. The hike up was steep, but it was mostly grass and flower filled gullies. Plenty of vegetation to hold the ground in place.


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Crater Lake escapes the shadow of the Spider



Eventually we found an easy path to gain the ridge. We were close to the summit at this point, and the real fun was about to begin.



(Photo by Anna)


This is the kind of scrambling I love. Class 3 on mostly solid rock, far enough away from the extreme exposure that would normally turn my legs into spaghetti.



(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Anna)

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Anna and Kimo gain the ridge


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We reached the summit in no time. We sat and enjoyed the beautiful day, soaked in the views, and flipped through the very full summit register.



(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Kimo)

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(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Kimo)

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We prepared for our descent. It's difficult holding back smiles in places like this.



(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Kimo)

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(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Anna)


We had been toying with the idea of traversing over to the Fly, but due to our fading energy levels and the thought of the long pack out, we decided to call it good and save it for another time. This is one of those special places you want to visit again and again. I can't wait to come back again for the traverse. Looks like a blast!


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(Photo by Kimo)

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(Photo by Kimo)

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We returned to camp, packed up, and headed on our way.



(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Anna)


(Photo by Kimo)


(Photo by Kimo)

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(Photo by Kimo)

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Piney Lake (Photo by Kimo)


We enjoyed refreshing cold, expensive sodas at Piney Lake and reflected on another incredible journey into the Gores. We were hungry and had no desire to hit the I-70 traffic anytime soon, so we decided to stop in Vail for some eats. None of us knew of any great restaurants in Vail, but Kimo suggested trying a place called the Ale House that he had noticed on a previous trip through town. It was a sports bar so we were just expecting generic sports bar food, but we were pleasantly surprised. The food was amazing. Highly recommended. No pancakes though.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (21)
Kevin Baker


In the area     2013-08-01 07:26:12
When I saw anna logged the Spider that day, I wondered what your schedule was. We just missed you guys! Heck of an area for sure. Sounds like the mosquitoes were more fierce higher up. Can't wait to do this hike!


Jay521


Fantastic!     2013-08-01 08:02:56
Great pics of what looks like a fantastic time! Yet one MORE to add to my list (I'd better live a long time cuz the list just keeps growing!)

Thanks for posting this, Cameron!


Floyd


Not fair     2013-08-01 08:49:09
to have both of you guys taking pictures for 1 TR. Now, the eye seems to be rubbing off on Anna too. Excellent outing you guys!


jbchalk


So many wonderful Spider pics     2013-08-01 08:52:42
Great outing, guys! My favorite 12er!


rickinco123


Dip in the Lake?     2013-08-01 09:05:54
That water must be coooooooold. Thanks for this fine report. Love that area. Super Jealous.

Is it still possible to grab dinner at Piney River Ranch on the way in?


Presto


Edwin P. Schwackington ...     2013-08-01 09:50:26
What's the ”P” stand for? Such a beautiful place ... made even more so with the group's outstanding photography. Love all the smiling faces. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


bergsteigen


Photographic Glutony!     2013-08-01 11:05:30
Wow... Now my trip there in the future will pale in comparison!

Maybe next time the spider will capture the fly


PaliKona

Wow     2013-08-01 12:30:50
so gorgeous. Amazing pics.


Chicago Transplant


Sensory Overload     2013-08-01 17:04:16
Wow! What great pictures from all of you, nice job!
Great peak, I'll echo Brandon - favorite 12er!


Matt


Photo Gluttony Overload     2013-08-01 17:33:17
When I first started reading, I was hoping to see some sharing of the photo duties. All I can say is that you all should hike together more often. The reflection shots (esp the first one) and some of those black and whites are just spectacular.
I could use a ”new” favorite 12er. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


Zambo


Love this.     2013-08-01 17:49:22
Thanks for sharing a spectacular outing. Jealous!


rking007


When is the gallery showing?     2013-08-01 20:36:14
I mean seriously guys! Once again, inspired imagery and a fantastic write up.


boudreaux


OH YEAH!     2013-08-02 08:35:33
The 1st words out of my mouth! The summit view is second to none, upper Piney River is so beautiful, the valley branching off to the west spectacular. The tiny glacial lake east of the Spider was breathtakingly stunning! Running out of words to describe the beauty there! Congrats to all for such an amazing trip in the Gores!

Your last pic is my favorite, beautiful!


Derek


Nice.     2013-08-02 08:42:48
Even when I KNOW that I'll be blown away by photos before I even click the link, I'm still blown away.

Nice trip to you guys. I'm sure you sensed my seething jealously on our Wild Basin trip while you 3 were talking about this trip and I knew that I would already be gone. Congrats on grabbing a summit you've been looking at for a while, Cameron.

I'll be in CO in Sept. Lets get out.

--D


kimo

Buttery syrupy goodness     2013-08-02 19:25:14
Mmm...the Gore. Thanks for the write-up Cameron. Nice pic selection.

Sweetest camp spot I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. And a pretty cool peak too...one of my favorite 12ers. Well worth the effort of carrying a heavy back in there. Funny how a Gore ”trail” as shown on a map would be considered a bushwack almost anywhere else.

And the comments from everyone regarding the photos...it's appreciated. Thanks. Just trying to do our part to share in the mountain's good tidings.


mattpayne11


Amazing     2013-08-02 21:30:45
Great stuff man! You got so many great photos. Impressed and convinced to head there sooner than later!


DanR


Schwackington would be proud...     2013-08-03 06:07:22
Looks like a great place to have to return to. Phenomenal pictures and an entertaining report. Thanks!


boudreaux


Fossils     2013-08-03 09:05:25
There are so many places to look at fossils in the Gores, especially in the Vail Valley! Nice pic of the worms burrowing in the mud!


Monster5


Gorgeous!     2013-08-06 20:20:06
I really like texture pics. Gotta love the Gore; every mountain worthy of a trip. Except Jacques (sp). I'm boycotting Jacques.


14erFred


Magnificent     2013-08-08 11:30:34
Thanks for sharing the photos and narrative of this marvelous adventure. The photos made me drool and dream about visiting this spectacular area. Keep the faith, and keep up the great trips. Onward and upward...


vonmackle


Thanks everyone...     2013-08-08 18:03:48
for all the kind words. I'll have to agree, the Spider is also my favorite 12er (sorry Bison), and very high on my list of favorite mountains. I can't wait to get back up there again. Thanks Anna and Kimo for another great outing.



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