Peak(s):  Whale Peak  -  13,078 feet
Date Posted:  03/31/2015
Date Climbed:   03/29/2015
Author:  zxbraves
 Whale Pk - Whale's Tail Couloir   

Whale Peak - Whale's Tail Couloir

Trailhead: Hall Valley Campground, ~1mi from the Gibson Lake TH
Mileage: 9.5RT
Time: 9hrs (Including summit nap)
Elevation Gain: 3,965'
Max Slope: Low 40s at the entrance
Avg Slope: 35
Skiers: Luke, Zach
Resource: Fritz Sperry - Making Turns in the Front Range


Sperry's book calls this peak a "hidden gem", saying it "sees few visitors during the spring skiing season". I would agree on both counts. It was a fantastic route and the only activity we saw was some poor soul who postholed his way several miles down the trail through the trees. We parked near the Hall Valley Campground, stopping there due to some deep ruts in the snow. And on the way out we managed to ski from the summit all the way back to the road, and even managed to ski about 75% of the road back to the truck.

Gibson Lake TH

Gibson Lake Trail

skinning up

View of Whale Peak not long after treeline

Gibson Lake

900ft climb to the summit

Snow was perfect for kicking steps

45+ deg in a few sections, even without my crooked picture

Gathering a few summit pics

Breck off in the distance

View from my summit nap

Summit corpse

Luke about halfway down, snow felt pretty soft

Luke getting in a few last turns at the bottom of the couloir


Our tracks up and route down the Whale Tail Couloir

Me skiing the lower section below the lake

A few parts of the road did require some walking

Water crossing along Hall Valley Rd

I will use a picture of you without your permission and turn it into a motivational poster


My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27

Comments or Questions
Copyright infringement
03/31/2015 13:22
Using my likeness for motivational purposes without compensation.......

03/31/2015 13:27
That line looks nice right now

Nice job, fellers
03/31/2015 16:45
Keep getting after it!

Nice Job
03/31/2015 16:54
I like that line.

03/31/2015 23:42
I’ve been wanting to do this peak for a while. Soon, soon.....

a day in the life
thanks for posting / found multitool
04/03/2015 18:16
Thanks for posting this. Headed up there with a buddy yesterday and had a nice tour to the lake and we decided against trying to ski the bullet proof snow/ice in the whale’s tail. Beautiful area. North of the lake, above us around 12,500 we saw an animal that’s larger and faster than a marmot, runs quickly with agility across snow, but smaller than a deer or a goat. I’d say it looked white–ish but not pure white. I’ve only got one guess as to what we saw but it was too far away to be 100% certain. Would have been a first and wish we had some binos.

I also found a small multi tool near the parking lot of the campground. Describe it and I can work on getting it back to you or your friends. Best.

04/03/2015 21:46
^Probably a coyote. They can look grayish in color and can often be seen high above tree line.

a day in the life
re animal
04/03/2015 22:34
Thanks. I didn’t realize coyotes went up that high and agree that’s probably what we saw. I’d love to see a lynx someday.

Thanks for the great TR!
05/15/2017 10:01
Our Mt. Rainier group chose this as our first training climb for 2017, and your trip report was just about the only beta we could find. Thanks so much for putting this together!

I wrote up our trip on my blog about easy Colorado snow climbs (see #3) and linked to this trip report so people can see the photos, map, and GPX file.

Thanks again for this! Keep up the good work.

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