Peak(s):  The Spider - 12,692 feet
The Fly - 12,550 feet
Date Posted:  10/18/2011
Date Climbed:   10/16/2011
Author:  jbchalk
 Gore Range 12ers: The Spider & The Fly  

Now I can truly say the Gore Range is my favorite range in Colorado. Its proximity to my home, its ruggedness and remoteness, and lack of people all combine to make this place very special and my favorite. I had been wanting to climb these remote 12ers in the heart of the Gores for some time having always gazed at them from other Gore summits and down the Piney River Valley en route to several ascents of Mt. Powell, Peak C, etc. I had always thought the southeast face up The Fly to its east ridge may make a good climb as well as the double traverse over to The Spider and back to The Fly may make a nice day. I knew there would be some snow, but hopefully the southern facing aspects would be relatively dry. We took a gamble to leave behind the microspikes/crampons and axes and turned out the gamble paid off as we were able to stay on dry rock much of the time. Loving this late Fall weather, Kristine & I backpacked the 4.5 miles into Booth Lake (11,500') from the Booth TH (8,200') this past Saturday afternoon. Friends J & Chuck drove to the Eisman Hut and backpacked in from there for a little extra adventure and to meet us at Booth Lake. Kristine & I arrived at the lake to find the place to ourselves at 4:30pm, 3 hrs after leaving the Booth TH. J & Chuck arrived 2 hrs later sharing many adventursome bushwhacking stories.

Our route up the Fly and over to The Spider taken from the southeast on the West Partner Peak/Outpost Peak ridge

Booth Lake (11,500')

The Fly rising behind our campfire at dusk

After sleeping in a bit and a round of coffee, muffins, & oatmeal, we got going around 9am up to The Fly.

Typical terrain on The Fly's southeast face

While we could have continued up the class 2/3 grass ramps and cliff bands all the way to The Fly's summit, I had spotted an access gully to reach the east ridge proper for some fun scrambling.

Access gully to The Fly's east ridge

On The Fly's class 3 east ridge

Kristine climbing the fun class 3 ridge of The Fly (Upper Piney Lake in the background)

After about an hour from leaving Booth Lake, we reached The Fly's summit. Glancing over at The Spider, I was glad to see its southern ridge fairly dry.

The Spider from The Fly's summit

The crux would be downclimbing off The Fly's north ridge keeping in mind how much snow we would encounter on the northern aspect and given that we didn't bring any spikes or axes. Kristine decided to stay on the summit of The Fly for some R&R while J, Chuck, & I took off down The Fly's north ridge to The Fly/Spider saddle. We found a mostly dry class 4 chimney on the north ridge proper to downclimb in lieu of traversing steep snow slopes on either side sans spikes/axes. Once to the lowpoint between The Fly & The Spider, we traversed class 3/4 slopes on the ridge's west side up to The Spider. Several towers could be climbed on the ridge proper and likley go at low-mid 5th class as well.

En route to The Spider with the Spider/Fly ridge lowpoint below

The Spider's upper south slopes

J & Chuck scrambling up to The Spider

Chuck topping out on The Spider w/ West Partner Peak behind

Me on the summit of The Spider w/ Ripsaw Ridge behind

The Fly from The Spider's summit

After 10 minutes or so on The Spider's summit, we started back towards The Fly. The wind was howling but otherwise it was a beautiful day. Once back at the Fly/Spider ridge lowpoint, we glanced up at the class 4 chimney we had downclimbed and headed straight for it mostly trying to stay on dry rock.

Looking up at The Fly's north ridge from the Fly/Spider ridge lowpoint. We descended/ascended the obvious chimney in the center of the picture.

The class 4 chimney on The Fly's north ridge proper provided the best scrambling of the day.

Chuck & J scrambling up The Fly's north ridge

Chuck & J climbing the class 4 chimney on The Fly's north ridge

Almost up to The Fly's summit

Back on the summit of The Fly with Booth Lake below

Chuck & J had hauled their packs to The Fly's summit in anticipation of heading down the Fly's south ridge, down to West Booth Pass, and onto the Eisman Hut. So, the boys took off down the south ridge while Kristine & I headed back down The Fly's southeast face to Booth Lake. After some PB&Js at camp, we packed up and got back to the Booth TH around 2:30pm. Not a bad morning at all.

All in all, another great little Gore trip. These are two great 12ers with some outstanding views and quality scrambling in the heart of the Gores.

Thanks for reading,

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

10/18/2011 18:02
Cool report. Gores are the shizzle.


Oh yeah....
10/18/2011 18:20
A couple more I will have to add to my list. Thanks for this report! Very nice...


Thanks for the report.
10/18/2011 18:35
I've been wondering how spicy the Spider actually is. Anyone that has seen these from Upper Piney can't help but want to climb them.


Been on my ”to-do” list for a while...
10/18/2011 19:01
Like floyd said, from Upper Piney they are enticing. I've heard cool things about them, but this is the 1st TR I've seen.




Man, that looks like fun
10/18/2011 19:21
They look pretty cool from the E. Partner area, too.
These are on the 2012 wish list, now, officially, and exemplify the idea that 12ers are worthy peaks, too.
Thanks for the report.


Stellar Fall TR
10/18/2011 21:41
sorry Brandon, but this doesnt count as a legit trip report till you jump in Booth Lake (and swim to the island). Thats another list to add. # of alpine lakes with an island in the middle to swim out to, (without losing your ability to reproduce).

Nice work getting these done, gotta love the proximity of those 2 peaks, right in the heart of so many drainages, not to mention a rock solid view of ”The Saw” and ”Rockinghorse Ridge”.


Thanks for the comments everyone...
10/18/2011 22:43
FireOnTheMountain: Yes, the Gores are fo shizzle.

Jay521 & Matt: Glad I could help add these two to your respective will not be disappointed.

Floyd & Steve: The view of The Spider from the Upper Piney River Valley is just plain awesome. I remember rounding that bend the 1st time to climb Peak C a couple years ago and was like ”what the heck is that peak!”.

Brian: This forum is going to need a whole new ”jumping in lake” TR section. Yeah, that island is SO cool in the middle of Booth...I really would lost the ability to reproduce and Kristine wouldnt have been too happy. Yeah, dude, the ”Rockinghorse” & the ”Saw” look very intimidating from that angle but so intriguing. Gotta ridge run those suckers next year.


10/19/2011 01:07
Sweet report!

Love the shots of the 4th class section.


No way!
10/19/2011 21:25
I only hope that I will have the courage!


Fun to read.
10/19/2011 21:40
Terse, informative, entertaining and great pictures. Awesome report! You need to hit up the Crested Butte/ Gunnison area Elks and West Elks. I think you would find a lot there that fits your style. Love the Gores.

Chicago Transplant

Great Peak
10/23/2011 22:39
Glad you had a good time Brandon, I think the Spider is my favorite 12er, its a really fun little scramble! One I will be repeating some day for sure

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