Peak(s):  Red Pk B  -  13,189 feet
"East Thorn"  -  13,333 feet
"Silverthorne, Mt"  -  13,357 feet
Hail Peak - 12904
"Snow Pk"  -  13,024 feet
"Palomino Point"  -  13,060 feet
"Valhalla, Mt"  -  13,180 feet
"Grand Traverse Pk"  -  13,041 feet
Pt. 12,305 - 12305
Pt. 12,485 - 12485
Date Posted:  09/09/2014
Modified:  09/29/2014
Date Climbed:   08/13/2014
Author:  Dad Mike
 Gore Peaks Part 1..Fatherhood  

It's been a while since I've penned one of these, so forgive me if I'm a little rusty. I'm just so excited that I finally have something worth writing about...from a trip stand point and personally. This is the first in a trilogy of Gore Range reports I'm planning on putting out this week. Each trip was special for a different reason. This trip was a celebration of my induction into the father club. On July 4th, my wife gave birth to Benjamin Ellingwood and Brooke Windom Silvestro. Yes, twins. Yes, we gave our kids 14er middle names. Yes, I changed my screen name to Dad Mike...can't be mad anymore. And I don't know what I'll do if they don't like mountains...don't even want to think about that possibility.

I had been eyeing August as my first opportunity to get an overnight trip in for a while now. A stupid work schedule and parental responsibilities had kept me house-bound for too long. So I told Dani..."the mountains are calling, and I must go"..JM. My initial plan for this trip was a 5-6 day traverse of all the ranked 13ers in the Gore range. Sounds like a foolish plan now, but I was spurred on by the thought that if you can draw it on a map, it can be done. It didn't take long to realize my pack was too heavy and the ridge climbing too difficult for me to pull this off. But I still had an incredible 3 days, all by myself, in a beautiful mountain landscape. Exactly what I needed.

Here is a detailed account of my route and some pictures I took along the way...

Day 1..Wednesday, 8/13
13 miles, 7200 feet
Meadow Creek TH (4:30a)
Meadow Creek Trail
Eccles Pass
Red Buffalo Pass
Red Peak (8:20a)
Drop into Drainage West of Zodiac Spires
South Face of Silverthorne
East Thorn (11:20a)
Silverthorne (12p)
Descent of Silverthorne's East Ridge
Hail Peak (1:20pm)
Camp near Snow Lake

Day 2..Thursday, 8/14
9 miles, 5100 feet
Break Camp, Ascend Snow Pass (5:30a)
Snow Peak (7a)
Chased off Snow Valhalla Ridge by Mandatory Rappel
Descend to Deluge Lake
Ascend South Face of Palomino / Valhalla
Palomino Point (9:30a)
Valhalla (10a)
Ridge to Grand Traverse
Grand Traverse (11a)
Descend to Deluge Lake
Set Up Camp Near Deluge Creek
Climb Valley Between 2 12ers
Pt. 12,305 (5:30p)
Pt. 12,485 (5:50p)

Day 3..Friday, 8/15
7 miles
Descend Deluge Lake Trail to Gore Creek TH
Road Back to East Vail Exit
Hitchhike Back to Meadow Creek TH


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Brooke and Ben...starting early on the required reading list


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Sunrise from the Meadow Creek Trail


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Red Mountain from Eccles Pass


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Carpet of wildflowers on the way to Red Buffalo Pass


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View of Zodiac Ridge and the next 2 peaks from the summit of Red Mtn. From here I continuted to the low point of the ridge before deciding to drop down to the east or west.


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The descent off to the west looked like the better option to me. Here is my line into the valley and back up to the Silverthorne, East Thorn ridge.


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Closer look at the upper section...mostly steep talus with a short class 3/4 section to gain the ridge.


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East Thorn...finally a chance to drop my pack. Any baseball players out there know the feeling of swinging a bat with a weighted donut and then swinging without it. This is how I felt.


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Silverthorne from East Thorn.


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The descent off of Silverthorne is demoralizing...not technical, but steep and loose. I was constantly dodging rocks that I dislodged. 4 weeks later, I still have bruises on my legs from all the direct hits. This view of Hail Peak and the darkening clouds kept me motivated. I dropped my back at the saddle and headed up talus to the summit block. The route I took wraps around the back right side of the peak and doesn't exceed class 4. Very easy to find class 5 if you want it or get off route.


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View of tomorrow's peaks from the summit of Hail.


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I hustled down to Snow Creek and got my tent set up just in time for the skies to unleash a pretty impressive combination of rain, thunder and lightning. It's amazing how safe a tent makes me feel...even if it is a false sense of security.


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After a few hours, the skies cleared and I took some time to admire my campsite.


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Snow Creek and the ridge from Hail to Valhalla


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Wildflowers


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There is a faint trail leading from Snow Creek, past Snow Lake and up to Snow Pass.


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Snow Peak is a lot of fun with sustained class 3 scrambling towards the top.


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I didn't know much about the ridge to Valhalla so I decided to check it out. I didn't get far before I was faced with a mandatory rappel. I had a 30m rope and gear, but didn't feel like getting into that with a heavy pack. At this point I officially abondoned my plan to traverse the whole range. I decided to drop down to Deluge Lake so I could ditch my pack and enjoy the climbing. Here is a look at my route up to Palomino and Valhalla.


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Look back at Snow...such a cool peak


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Route from Deluge back up to the ridge


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Deluge Lake


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Class 5 crux on the west ridge of Palomino Point


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Grand Traverse from summit of Palomino


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Valhalla from summit of Palomino


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Looking back at the class 3 descent off the east side of Palomino


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Levitation


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What would a day in the Gore Range be without some weather. Socked in on my way over to Grand Traverse Peak.


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Brooke and Ben cairns and a visitor on the summit of Grand Traverse


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Ran into more of my friends on the way back to Deluge Lake


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I continuted past Deluge Lake and set up camp in the trees, near the creek. Then I took a nap while I waited out another storm.


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The storm passed through pretty quickly and I decided to climb a couple 12ers just north of my camp...and south of Traverse Pass. Here's a view of both peaks...the ranked one is on the right.


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Pt. 12,485 from Pt. 12,305


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Another set of B&B cairns on the summit of Pt. 12,485


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Back at camp I had a little fun with my head lamp and the long exposure on my camera.


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I took my time on Friday morning...packed up camp, headed down the Deluge Lake Trail, and walked the white line back to East Vail. After hitching a ride back to Silverthorne, I headed home...renewed and ready to take on our two beautiful and boisterous babies.

Thanks for reading.

Mike



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
d_baker

B&B's
09/09/2014 10:33
Awesome! I love their headlamp names in the dark! Great report Mike...I'm looking forward to the next ones! Congrats again on fatherhood, you and Dani are going to be great parents.


Monster5


Haha
09/09/2014 14:26
Enjoyable report on fun terrain, Dad Mike. Those kids are going to have a good childhood. Maybe now you'll have to tone things down and resort to overnights of the easier stuff like Jagged in winter.


Jeff Valliere

Congrats!
09/09/2014 15:38
Great trip and congrats on the twins! I have a set myself (identical twin girls who are almost 4). I am quite impressed that you got away for a few days so soon, I still have not been able to pull that one off. Feel free to contact me if you ever would like to talk twins.


jbchalk

Awesome, Dad Mike!
09/09/2014 15:56
An enjoyable read and wonderful pics on a most excellent 3 day excursion! Congrats! Love the transition from ”Mad” to ”Dad”. Oh, just semantics, but the peak you summitted which you called Rain Peak is actually Hail Peak (12,904'), I believe.


FireOnTheMountain

sweet
09/09/2014 17:06
looks like Ben is diggin Steck's Annapurna climb, Brooke doesn't seem to want to be bothered with glacier travel just yet though

man the Gores suck, especially snow peak. Solid and congrats!


TomPierce
Welcome to the club
09/09/2014 20:19
As a proud father of twins myself (two girls, now 9) I could really relate to your words. Congrats! Oh, and beautiful TR too!
-Tom


dillonsarnelli

Ha!
09/09/2014 23:48
What an awesome report Mike! This is really great. Nice job out there and Congrats man!


goingup

OMG!!!
09/10/2014 02:29
YOUR BABIESSSS....I WANT THEM!!!!


The rest of the trip report was okay too I guess.


Rainier_Wolfcastle

Congratulations!
09/11/2014 22:12
Congrats on getting back into the mountains and for little B.Ellingwood and B.Windom!!!!!


SuperPolok

Babies
09/15/2014 17:17
Who gives a crap about your hike? Congratulations on the babies!


SnowAlien

This report
04/02/2015 19:45
is funny and touching at the same time. I lol'd at the ”required reading ” section. Congratulations! Well, maybe you are no longer Mad Mike, you still have some mad camera skills. Thanks for posting. Lots of good beta.



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