Peak(s):  "Snow Pk"  -  13,024 feet
Date Posted:  06/03/2012
Modified:  06/04/2012
Date Climbed:   06/02/2012
Author:  Monster5
 Intro to the Gore  

Snow Peak (13,024') - Gore Range

June 2, 2012

TH: Deluge Lake
Mileage: ~9
Vert: ~4,300'
Partner: Matt Lewis
Beta Credit: SarahT (report), Chicagotransplant (report), Lordhelmut (conditions)

Note: As per Gore style, the route description will be kept vague.

Colorado's Gore Range - a reputable wonder of rugged peaks and excellent routes of various forms. Un-crowded and hardly touched by mining, the range remains pristine and refreshing. Teasing, furtive glimpses from nearby ranges hardly describe the peaks' splendor.

Snow Peak, with a planned traverse to Valhalla, seemed a great introduction.

At a glance (March, '12 with an old Olympus Stylus 850. RIP).

A quick drive up I-70 in the glorious season between ski and summer hiking traffic allowed for a rendezvous with Matt at the small Deluge Lake/Gore Creek Trailhead off of exit 180 for a 4:40 start.

The approach is as steep as advertised and we were foolish enough to carry full mountaineering kit in misguided anticipation. The steep section eventually gives way to hummocky terrain, where scattered snow drifts remain and lightly obscure the path.

Finally entering a larger clearing, we stopped to evaluate the fun-ness on various lines: Valhalla first or Snow. Pickings were slim, but a single, meager strip up Snow Peak gave us hope.

A bit of hope

We followed several hundred feet of lightly frozen snow before intersecting the south ridge, avoiding class 2 tediousness and despair. The couloir was slightly better than first-glance impressions suggested and it reached a moderate angle, which was nice as it was Matt's first time using crampons in the wild.

The classic lesson on the ineffectiveness of strap-on 'pons with flexible boots had Matt yearning for unstable talus. A rite of passage to snow for some.

As I was taking the above picture, my helmet was bouncing a few hundred feet back down the couloir. Amateur.

Views of our intended route greeted us upon reaching the ridge.

Valhalla and Snow

Though Snow's summit appeared close, the ridge offered plenty of spice. It can be kept at class 3 with a few snow crossings, but harder moves are reserved for the apathetic route-finder.

After a few notches, snow crossings, minor towers, and enjoyable scrambling, the summit finally appeared. A brief, exposed catwalk provides final access.

Summit access

A brief summit rest for pictures and peak-guessing just before 10:00 and we were on our way to Valhalla.


The snow was soft and a few leg breakers lurked beneath.

Grand Traverse Peak

We dropped west to avoid the towers and found ourselves with quickly approaching weather. The bottoms were heavy and the clouds moving fast - another half hour or so and we'd have some sparks. We estimated another 1.5 - 2 hrs to summit Valhalla and get below treeline near the cabin and Deluge Lake.

For the 112th time of the day, we yearned for the speed and freedom of trailrunners and summer packs. Hardly an attitude befitting supposed mountaineers.

The call was made and we began the descent to the upper basin. Here, we took a quick split for the sake of optimizing time and curiosity - I contoured around to our ascent couloir and retrieved a precariously perched helmet while Matt was able to investigate the Cabin.

I tested out the optical zoom on the new camera while Matt was waiting down below.

Some unidentifiable peak

We met up in a meadow and cruised down the endlessly steep trail to booms of thunder, "we-coulda-made-Valhalla"s, and refreshing rain.

All in all, a fun day and a fine introduction to the Gore. We topped off with a humbling visit to the Teva games, where I sadly contemplated how easily the 16 year old female boulderers can beat me up.

Matt's pictures forthcoming (unfortunately, he has a life).

 Comments or Questions

No snow
06/04/2012 11:29
Wow, big difference in snow coverage from 2 weeks ago! Though I shouldn't be surprised.

Nice report, Monster.
Damn fine pictures too!


06/04/2012 13:21
Ryan, I'm not sure if you've been writing more TRs lately, or if I'm just noticing. Either way, I enjoy your writing style. Plus, I'm hoping to get to the Gores myself soon; I'll keep this one in mind.


Good day out, Ryan
06/04/2012 14:29
Nice report and pics, man. Well done on topping out on Snow. Very happy to hear you're getting into the Gores. Thanks for the beta/picture on the Deluge trail and Grand Traverse Peak's east slopes. Takin' a few fellas up for the Grand Traverse this weekend.


Your report...
06/04/2012 16:25
... makes it VERY hard to concentrate on work this morning

Nice write-up and great pics!


Great report
12/14/2012 15:49
Looks like a fun day out. Thanks again for the bags, we are already getting good use out of them!


Great Pictures
06/04/2012 19:07
Excellent stuff. I REALLY need to get into the Gore Range, thanks for posting!


When the Gores...
06/04/2012 20:57
...get loved to death, I'll blame you.

After I finally get to them myself, that is. Inspring stuff.


some unidentifiable peak...
06/04/2012 20:59
LMAO!!! I just spit my drink!!! I have to agree with everyone..great TR!!

Kevin Baker

good timing
06/05/2012 03:21
This traverse is on my short list, so thanks for the timely report!


Great images
06/05/2012 15:26
And nice TR....Snow Peak & Snow Lake are some of my favorites.

Matt Lemke

06/05/2012 15:36
What are you people going to do when my Gore Range guidebook gets published and millions of copies are sold at REI stores nationwide?

I love the Gores


Thanks for the comments!
06/05/2012 17:05
DB - We were a bit bummed on the whole no snow thing. We almost hauled up snowshoes, too.

Dave - Thanks! Did you guys wind up doing Emperor? Looked like it was still in on Sunday.

Brandon - Good luck! I'm hoping to do that one within the next month before trying out some of the other traverses. Maybe try Ripsaw in fall.

jblyth - Good to hear you're getting use out of the packs!

doggler - Even if they do become crowded, you should need only a weekend to do all the 13ers anyways.

Jay, mountainjam, Hockeyfan, other Baker, and Atoment - thanks for the comments! Good luck this summer.

Matt - get off the interwebs! You still have a lot of centennials to climb.


Not a bad intro..
06/06/2012 21:59
Nice work.

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