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Gore Range Suggestions

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby astrobassman » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:24 pm

If you don't mind some company while camping my first recommendation is the Pitkin drainage from Vail. The following 13ers could be climbed in one trip: East Partner, West Partner, the Solitude Massif, X, and Z. It took me two backpack trips back there to climb all those peaks.

Another option is the Piney drainage. You could climb Powel, C and the Ripsaw over to G in a 3 day trip.

Another option is the Silverthorne massive. There is a good trip report on this site about a trip up Silverthorne over a Labor Day weekend.

If you don't want to see anyone head to Slate Lake. The peaks are harder (from what I have read). I think I am headed there solo the weekend of August 20 for a 3 day trip...would love partners if anyone is interested. Plan on climbing Q, R, S, and L. Allow a full day for the approach.

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby Floyd » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:34 pm

Astro gave all excellent suggestions. One alternative for the Pitkin group if you definitely need to be alone is to head up Boulder Creek. You can still nab X,Y,Z, Solitude. Solitude is a relative term in the Gores. Pitkin was relatively crowded over Labor Day a few years ago. By that, I mean there were maybe 3 other groups in the basin that were fishing at the lake. We still had the mountains to ourselves. IMO Piney should be saved for snow climbs. Peak C and the Corners are 2 of my favorite couloir climbs. Powell and Eagles Nest would be a good destination though.

Here are my trip reports so far: (As you can see, Astro and I enjoy the Gores)
Pitkin (Labor Day '09): http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=7165&parmuser=Floyd&cpgm=tripuser
Slate Lake: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=7037&parmuser=Floyd&cpgm=tripuser DIdn't get L or Q, LordHelmut has a great trip report on here for L.

Search around Theron Welch's website too, http://www.gorerange.info/
"Athletes express themselves physically, this is their art. As an athlete, exhausting oneself on the field or or on the track or on the trail or on the mountain brings calm and satisfaction. Thrashing about… our expression." - Steve Gleason

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby ruincu » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:32 am

I would not recommend slate lake due to the fact that there is a large swamp at the base of the climb to slate and upper slate lake. Last year in late july the swamp was nearly impassable and my dad actually took a tumble that got him pretty mucked up. This year due to the amount of water that they have i do not think that the swamp would be a wise choice to try and cross. pretty much the only lake that is easily accessible is upper cataract lake and surprise lake due to the amount of snow they took. Because of the size of the river crossings on a dry year most of the lakes in the gore will be really hard to get to.

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby leftyslugger » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:34 pm

I got back home yesterday from a trip to the Gores. Last Thursday I hiked up the Pitkin Lake drainage...snow started before the second waterfall. The log bridge before the upper falls had been washed out so we created another. Snow got consistent and at times deep just after the upper falls. Beyond 11,000 ft it was all snow. Pitkin lake was still at least partially frozen and there were no snow free camping sites above 11,000 ft.

We hiked back out and drove around to the east side. We hiked to Slate Lake and camped. The creek crossing for Slate Lake was very dangerous, but doable. Camping at Slate was limited because most of the campsites had water running through them, but we easily found okay sites for several tents.

We day hiked to Upper Slate. Yes there is a "swamp" below the upper lake, but it's really a field of willows that the creek meanders through. We had a "Summit/Vail" map along with the Natgeo map and the summit/vail map showed that the trail didn't actually cross the creek. We went right before the willow field and followed a user trail up along the creek and popped out at the northeast end of Upper Slate lake within 10 minutes of the Willows. There was still snow in the trees along the southeast side of Upper Slate. I walked as far as the peninsula that juts out about mid lake. Beyond that and all the way up to South American lake it is solid snow.

If you are heading up to Peak Q or any of the surrounding peaks anytime soon, be ready for lots of snow/postholing. I attempted Peak Q last year and I wouldn't have tried again this week if I had planned to. It is a tough approach above Upper Slate in ideal conditions. The willows and snow would have been brutal.

That said, if you want to climb snow loaded couloirs in complete solitude...that is a great place.

On a side note, the creek crossing above Boulder Lake leading up to Upper Boulder Lake is almost impossible right now and my guess will be so for another couple of weeks. I've never seen so much water in the creeks like I did in the Boulder and Slate drainages this week.

Have fun. The Gores offer some great scenery, peaks and solitude.

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby rlayiv » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:32 pm

A couple other drainages that are not mentioned here are Deluge and Bighorn. Both trails are a great start to multi day trips and are definitely less crowded than Pitkin/Booth/Piney. I will be spending the next few weekends up there and am always happy to introduce people to the Gore. Such an amazing place! I might have a few pics I can load to give you an idea of the terrain.

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby planet54 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:45 am

If you would like more solitude than you would have in the previously mentioned places, may I suggest Eagle's Nest Mountain. This peak is seldom climbed, just look at users 13er checklists. Accessed from the Elliott Ridge trailhead makes for a nice trip without the bushwhacking that is involved with some Gore Range peaks of the more remote variety.
However if bushwhacking is what you desire then Peak N from the Brush Creek trailhead and Lost Lake could be the trip for you.That peak has bit me a couple of times. Don't know if I'll ever get up there.
I would recommend more than 3 days for Upper Slate Lake area. It's so nice with so much to do but could be done.
Have a good one.
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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby mouse_rat » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:27 pm

Any thoughts on the snow/water conditions in the Gores this weekend? Was thinking of heading to either Slate Lake or Pitkin Lake and hitting a couple of peaks.
Thanks

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby GregMiller » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:37 pm

Thought I'd revive this thread, I'm looking for a good 4-day backpack, hopefully with some summits along the way, and haven't been in the Gore Range in entirely too long. Would prefer thru hiking to out-and-back hikes. Also prefer things with less people. Bonus points for camping near lakes with tasty fish :-D
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby lordhelmut » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:40 pm

GregMiller wrote:Thought I'd revive this thread, I'm looking for a good 4-day backpack, hopefully with some summits along the way, and haven't been in the Gore Range in entirely too long. Would prefer thru hiking to out-and-back hikes. Also prefer things with less people. Bonus points for camping near lakes with tasty fish :-D


Lower or Upper Slate Lake, accessed from Brush Creek TH or Rock Creek TH. Another closer option from Brush Creek is Lost Lake (you could hit M/N/O) and a closer option from Rock Creek is Boulder Lakes, where you could hit X/Y and Z. Upper Slate Lake is a basin that belongs in the Weminuche, it has basically the exact same characteristics and is very lush and remote. 4 days would be worth it there. Lower Slate is no slouch either, with numerous cascading waterfalls surrounding you at a lake below Peak Z's northern slopes. You wouldn't have to deal with any people, its not thru hiking, but there is good fishing and there are numerous options for summits.

If you wanted to thru hike - you could do something like this
day 1 - hike to Lower Slate Lake
day 2 - hike to South American Lake (above Upper Slate)
day 3 - climb Peak L - move camp to Upper Piney Lake via Peak J or P.
day 4 - hike out to car shuttle at Piney Ranch

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby GregMiller » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:17 pm

Awesome suggestion! Actually, it turns out I'd been up Slate Creek before - my gf at the time and I tried to do a one night in and out to the upper lake (didn't make it) and tried to bivy (got eaten alive by the mosquitoes). But yes, that's the sort of thing I'm looking for :-D (and that's even after reading your trip report )

And sorry about the misused terminology, I guess I'm not looking for a 'thru-hike' per se, but rather just something where I start and finish at different trail heads - I like loops or a-to-b much more than in and out hikes.
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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Re: Gore Range Suggestions

Postby boudreaux » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:38 am

Another option for July, hike up Booth Creek, take the old trail over Booth Pass and do the Spider and the Fly, and then drop into the upper Piney Basin and do any number of the peaks along the Ripsaw, singly or the ridge. And then hike out at Piney Lake!
Ragin Cajun

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