Peak(s):  "East Partner Pk"  -  13,057 feet
"West Partner Pk"  -  13,041 feet
Post Date:  10/14/2013
Date Climbed:   09/05/2013
Posted By:  dhgold

 Partner Fast Track   

The purpose of this TR is to provide beta on a way to do the Partner traverse that didn't require a rope and took less time than what others have reported. The gist is that taking the natural line and dropping off the ridge for about 100 meters avoided a lot of unnecessary difficulty.

Rough totals: 11.9 miles, 6800' gain, 10 and a half hours.

Overview map

Map with more detail of traverse

I followed the Pitkin Lake trail until about 11,000' at which point I headed up East Partner's south ridge encountering some minor class 3 near the summit; the section from the trail to East Partner's summit was probably the most enjoyable of the day.

Once on the traverse I stuck near the ridge crest until the saddle encountering much cl3 and a short, completely avoidable section of easy cl5. At one point I found a gnawed rap sling and bypassed the short rappel with easy cl3 to the north. As others have noted, the area near the saddle is cl2 and for me, at least, a welcome relief from mediocre scrambling. After the saddle, easy scrambling in the vicinity of the ridge resumed until a talus gully interrupted the ridge. The gully dropped about 100' to the base of the ridge where it joined a typical Colorado talus slope. Getting into the gully required a little cl4 which could probably be avoided by those with more patience than I had. From the saddle at the top of the gully the next stretch of ridge looked tedious so I descended the gully and traversed the base of the ridge on cl2 talus for about 100 meters until I got on slabs that lead back to ridge. I knew I'd bypassed some difficulty by following the talus and felt it would have been contrived to do otherwise. The slabs provided some brief and enjoyable cl3 and got me back on the ridge and cl2+ and easy cl3 to West Partner's summit. I found the traverse much easier than others had reported (and quicker at 2 hours) and believe others will agree with this assessment if they too take the natural line and bypass that one section of ridge.

Most of the Partner ridge with my approximate route marked

The direct ridge from West Partner looked like slow going and not particularly enjoyable so I descended via sidehilling to about 11,400', just west of Pitkin Lake then began ascending towards Outpost via more sidehilling. I did a couple of cl3 moves on short cliffs ascending Outpost but those too could be avoided.

Most of approximate route from W Partner to Outpost

From Outpost's summit I headed south on the south ridge which was enjoyable and fast going until I left the ridge at 11,600' to head SE down forested slopes and the trail at 9,800'. The bushwhacking on this descent got progressively worse and I would not recommend this as a way to ascend Outpost.

Training weight

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Cool     10/14/2013 19:07
Nice, informative description. Skips out on the fun part though!

Was the tattered webbing red? We figured there might be a class 3 bypass, but it was a no go at the time.


Where is the fun & excitement? :)     10/14/2013 20:56
In all seriousness, nice day out, but the really cool portion that totally makes this traverse a Gore classic is the serrated knife-edge ridge proper you totally bypassed. Plus, the traverse doesn't require a rope and can be done in 2 hrs or less no doubt.

   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.

© 2015®, 14ers Inc.