Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
Forum rules
  • This is a mountaineering forum, so please keep your posts on-topic. Posts do not all have to be related to the 14ers but should at least be mountaineering-related.
  • Personal attacks and confrontational behavior will result in removal from the forum at the discretion of the administrators.
  • Do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website.
  • Posts will be removed at the discretion of the site administrator or moderator(s), including: Troll posts, posts pushing political views or religious beliefs, and posts with the purpose of instigating conflict within the forum.
For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
deepdarkseas
Posts: 18
Joined: 10/18/2022
14ers: 20 
13ers: 30
Trip Reports (0)
 

Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by deepdarkseas »

Hoping to summit Gannett without any rock climbing or snow/glacier equipment over three days in the late August/early Sept timeframe. Summitpost rates the SW Couloir as class 3 and it looks like it should be well melted out by this time. https://www.summitpost.org/southwest-couloir/859557

I'm planning on following the orange route: cross the Green at Three Forks (first waypoint, recommended by Summitpost), ascend Tourist Creek, camp in the flat spot around 10,200' (second waypoint, recommended by Summitpost), summit Gannett the next day and follow the same route back down (camping again around 10,200').
Screenshot from 2024-04-17 11-52-33.png
Screenshot from 2024-04-17 11-52-33.png (1.22 MiB) Viewed 3098 times
Based on Summitpost alone this all looks feasible, but it is a serious commitment so I'm wondering if anyone can give me a second opinion with the following:
- Is this the right place to cross the Green, or might it be better to start bushwhacking on the east side of the river from the bridge crossing in Beaver Park?
- Would this couloir/gully definitely be class 3, and snow free by this time of year? The pictures of it seem not that bad--reminds me visually of the class 2+ gully up Apache Peak in IPW.
- Is an axe + crampons/microspikes nevertheless still required on the summit ridge itself at this time of year, given the about average snowpack in the area right now? Or can the ridge be kept to dry, class 3ish rock?
- Is there some reason that this route to the summit is apparently less popular than the class 4 ascent to the north ridge from Minor Glacier? Is it just less well known? It seems strange because the SW route appears to have easier scrambling and a lack of glacier travel for about the same distance/elevation gain.
- Thoughts on my planned summit day? This would be 10 mi and 5000 ft of gain over difficult terrain, which is a long but not insane day. I'm open to lugging a heavy pack further the first day (say to the lake at 11,100', below Mt Solitude) if it's worthwhile for an easier summit day.

Thanks in advance everyone.
Ptglhs
Posts: 1511
Joined: 1/6/2016
14ers: 58  8 
13ers: 86 3
Trip Reports (4)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by Ptglhs »

1. Enjoy the mosquitos

2. Green is probably crossable there that time of year, but you're going to get wet. Bring waterproof bags. Bushwhacking would be safer but longer.

3. I didn't think the upper ridge of Ganett Peak was crampons or ice ax required. Maybe going up to bergschrund from gooseneck glacier, but you're not going that way. I haven't been on the western slopes of Ganett where you will be, but for the actual summit ridge itself, micro spikes would suffice. I thought the rock on my route was class 2. I'd bring them anyway because of point 4:

4. That slope north of glacier pass looked like a real bear.

5. I would definitely try to camp higher up. Maybe around Scott Lake. I don't know what your pace is like but scrambling up uneven talus and a scree slope off trail isn't the same as doing 10 mi and 5,000 ft gain on barr trail. (Not trying to be condescending. I couldn't do 10mi and 5k of gain in those conditions).

I climbed Ganett from the north in 2021 and in 2022 I did the wind River high route and passed over knapsack Col to the South.
Ericds84
Posts: 26
Joined: 5/10/2012
14ers: 39 
13ers: 34
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by Ericds84 »

I did a variation of the High Route a few years back and also had looked into climbing Gannett from the west, including via Tourist creek. I saw intel that the approach had waterfalls/potential Class 5 terrain in the lower Tourist basin. Can't confirm or deny, but would just caution further research because intel on this approach is pretty slim.
User avatar
Geckser
Posts: 41
Joined: 9/3/2019
14ers: 58  9  10 
13ers: 283 22 32
Trip Reports (2)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by Geckser »

Ericds84 wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2024 6:38 pm I saw intel that the approach had waterfalls/potential Class 5 terrain in the lower Tourist basin.
You are thinking of Wells Creek, which is the more direct approach to Scott Lake. It saves having to drop into the Wells Creek Basin and a significant amount of off trail distance but requires low 5th to ascend.

I did Gannet as a day trip last September and by that time of year no snow travel was required. We took the more standard North Ridge and the only remarkable part was how rotten the rock was. A lot of that high terrain was recently vacated of its glaciers, and it shows.

Honestly the reason that more people do the North Ridge route (in my opinion) is that the technicality of the last 1,500 feet are not the crux of the route. The crux of the route is staying steady after hopping granite tallus for 16 miles in remote and confusing terrain. The worst part from my memory was the descent back to the Green in the Tourist Creek basin, some nasty rock hopping after a long day.

I would guess snow travel would be insignificant in August, though that is conjecture. There will be conditions reports that will help you make you decision.

We crossed the green in a similar spot and didn’t have any problem (again September). We just forded a flat section with bare feet.

For camping, the further the better, Scott Lake would work great. I would make sure to bring a smaller day pack for the push.
User avatar
Wildernessjane
Posts: 579
Joined: 7/15/2012
14ers: 58  14  46 
13ers: 265 27 19
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by Wildernessjane »

“It seems strange because the SW route appears to have easier scrambling and a lack of glacier travel for about the same distance/elevation gain.”

lol, there’s probably good reason. Plus, most people would probably rather climb snow than scramble what looks like a junk show of loose rock in the couloir.
Attachments
IMG_4252.jpeg
IMG_4252.jpeg (86.13 KiB) Viewed 2912 times
“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.” -David McCullough?
User avatar
climbingcue
Posts: 1017
Joined: 10/11/2011
14ers: 58  8  27 
13ers: 338 28 11
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by climbingcue »

Wildernessjane wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2024 8:02 pm Plus, most people would probably rather climb snow than scramble what looks like a junk show of loose rock in the couloir.
So true, when we do Gannett it will be a snow climb, I will pick snow over loose crap all day long every day.
Consecutive months with at least one 13er or 14er, 76 months
User avatar
Eli Watson
Posts: 229
Joined: 5/29/2020
14ers: 58  17 
13ers: 76
Trip Reports (2)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by Eli Watson »

This sounds character-building.
People who are hardcore don't think they're hardcore. Marshall Ulrich, Fastest Known Podcast #85
ScottLovesRMNP
Posts: 79
Joined: 3/11/2016
14ers: 58  7 
13ers: 334 4
Trip Reports (1)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by ScottLovesRMNP »

Did Gannett via Tourist Creek on Aug 28-30, 2023. Just a couple steps through hard packed snow high in the SW ramp. Summit ridge had avoidable snow.

It’s a long climb but was my favorite thing I did in all of 2023, including dozens of Colorado 13ers. The rock is very, very loose, but only the final ramp up to the top. Otherwise it is an amazingly scenic approach. Crossing the Green River has to be done in just the right spot at the far end of the meadow that is about 12 miles in on the trail. From there, it’s all off-trail over a lot of big boulders, but they’re stable until the final ramp. Not necessary to descend all the way to Scott Lake, which saves some gain and loss of elevation.

Spectacular scenery and we didnt see any other parties on the route. I have no regrets on choosing Tourist Creek at the end of August.
User avatar
deepdarkseas
Posts: 18
Joined: 10/18/2022
14ers: 20 
13ers: 30
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by deepdarkseas »

Thanks all... I'm persuaded to move camp up a lake or two on the first day. I don't have snow climbing experience and this is not a place to learn, so even though a screefest would probably be less enjoyable it's something I know I can do.
User avatar
Eli Boardman
Posts: 664
Joined: 6/23/2016
14ers: 58  1  15 
13ers: 18 1
Trip Reports (16)
 
Contact:

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by Eli Boardman »

Yes, this route is by far the least technical way up Gannett. I plan on taking my mom up that way this summer (she's uncomfortable with snow climbing), following a similar plan to yours. The reason it's not more common is that the approach is 50% off trail and rather rugged, making the overall experience arguably more intense than the standard Glacier Trail or Titcomb routes. Also, the SW couloir itself is relatively uninspiring and not much fun compared to the north ridge or Gooseneck for those comfortable with snow or 4th class.

1. Impossible to say the "right" place to cross the Green, depends on the flow conditions, shifting sand bars, your comfort and experience, etc. Having done that crossing once in July, I'd probably just bushwhack up from the bridge 2 miles below, but that's personal preference and maybe I just crossed in a bad spot.

2. Yes, it's class 3, and snow/ice should be avoidable by late August or September (barring early snowstorms bringing fresh snow, which is definitely a possibility that time of year).

3. Summit ridge will still have snow but it may or may not be avoidable depending on how much snow there is currently (no one knows, there aren't any high elevation snow measurements in Wyoming), how fast it melts, etc. I found a completely snow-free path in September of 2022. There's a tradeoff between carrying crampons that far and not needing them, vs. hiking that far and getting stopped a hundred feet short because of a short icy section. YMMV.

4. Most people would camp higher, but people have day-tripped Gannett via Tourist Creek in ~8 hours round-trip, so you can camp wherever makes sense for your personal speed and endurance.

Bottom of this page has some of my pictures from September in the SW couloir (I call it the western gully) and the summit ridge conditions in that particular year:
https://sunlitsummit.com/wyoming13ers/gannett-peak/
pbakwin
Posts: 955
Joined: 6/10/2006
14ers: 56 
13ers: 64
Trip Reports (19)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by pbakwin »

I've done Tourist & Wells, but both times went up Minor Glacier. That was 15-20 years ago. I know the glacier was rapidly receding & wonder if it even exists anymore. Both trips were day trips, and the thought of schlepping a backpack up all that very steep talus in Tourist Creek is, to me, prohibitive. If I didn't want to day trip it I would camp at the base of Tourist Creek and go the summit and back from there, ~14 miles with 6kft(?) vert.

Wells Creek was very cool and shorter with a bit less vert, but had a much harder section. I have always wondered if you could find a late-season day where you could jump across the creek, rather than having to climb ~70ft of mid-5th class?

One thing is after the beginning of August the bugs should be not terrible.
User avatar
PSU Man
Posts: 125
Joined: 8/10/2007
14ers: 58 
Trip Reports (1)
 

Re: Gannett Peak -- Tourist Creek to Southwest Couloir beta needed

Post by PSU Man »

Is anyone doing Gannett this year? July/Aug... looking for some hiking pals...
Post Reply