Peak(s):  Powell A, Mt  -  13,580 feet
Eagles Nest A  -  13,420 feet
"Pk L"  -  13,213 feet
"West Partner Pk"  -  13,041 feet
"Silverthorne, Mt"  -  13,357 feet
"Snow Pk"  -  13,024 feet
Jacque Pk  -  13,205 feet
"Grand Traverse Pk"  -  13,041 feet
"Pk C"  -  13,220 feet
"Pk Q"  -  13,230 feet
Date Posted:  10/20/2016
Modified:  10/28/2016
Date Climbed:   09/18/2016
Author:  WillRobnett
 Gore Range 13ers  

The Gores have always reminded me of the Alps.



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Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany 2002



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Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany 2004



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Interlaken, Switzerland 2006



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Random Alps



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Chamonix, France 2006



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Interlaken, Switzerland 2006



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Interlaken, Switzerland 2006



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Chamonix 2006





In the early 2000s I was working in Germany and backpacking different countries every weekend. Didn't carry a cellphone or have Facebook back then. Printed maps was all I had to get around. I'd usually print a map and figure out the rest on a train. Penciling notes and asking locals about the lesser traveled paths heading out. Mont Blanc Trek, Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route, Via Alpina, The GR5 Trail, Bernese Overland Traverse, a few areas I'm wanting to get back too. Maybe some glacier climbing





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The Grand Traverse over Vail, Colorado




9/18/16 finished the adventure to climb all the 13ers in my home range!




Being from Vail - the valley is comparable to living in Garmish and having the Wetterstein Range or Chamonix with the Graian Alps where you can obsessively plan epic routes above you. The town of Vail strikes as best of Europe, akin to what you find in mountain towns across the pond. The Vail trails can be nice and touristy with easy access on Vail Mountain. Seeing the Grand Traverse from Vail Village... you would almost expect every peak in the Gore Range to have a 1000 trails, but that's not the Gore. Easy access to the peaks doesn't exist, in fact there's not any trails to the peaks. Not even a light trail to the top of one peak. No roads above treeline or mining roads to the heart of the range. Our state has an abundance of mining roads, but not the Gores.





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2014 East Vail Falls looking into the Gore - Western side of Vail Pass







The town of Vail was built for skiing. It's become mountain biking/fly fishing/kayaking/hiking/rock climbing/ice climbing.. It's a great basecamp for everything Colorado, but the peaks are not trail accessible. There is Red Buffalo Pass and the Gore Range Trail, but those aren't summit hikes ending up on top of 13k feet peaks. You'll have to break trail somewhere and push harder grades in Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Gores are as steep as anything in the 14ers and undeveloped above treeline. Researching gradients and comparing terrain pics is the only way to get around. Trail maps are available to get the bigger lakes. I use ProTrails quite a bit to locate lake trails in the area, it's free. Topographic maps after the lakes are usually deceiving with plans changing when you see the terrain. Tons of personal pics will get the better routes. GPS's are definitely used in the Gore. Moon light and star navigation is always great. I use the free versions of SkyView and StarTracker. The stars and the moon are like the sun following east to west unless you watching the rotation of the Big Dipper around the North Star/Polaris. Most of the peaks are really days with plenty being a full weekend just for one. The range is known for it. Tons of great ridges if you can turn off thoughts of racing back to the car and stay a while..


First hikes in Eagles Nest Wilderness went to lakes. Mostly stuck with rock climbing and 14ers first years in Vail. The majority of the peaks were climbed in the last few months. Mt Solitude was the first peak in the range. Have to admit Mt Solitude is bit of a disappointment. If you go in summer and head straight for the top - it's a pile of rocks day with a great name. There is a better way. Get creative with routes and get the Gores from connected ridges above the bushwhack. All have good sun-up to sun-down days.



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Center point over Piney Lake.




What makes the Gore Range so hard??

Climbing in the range is committing to the unknown. It's mind numbing to see the lack of trails and bushwhack. Beetle kill has fallen throughout the range precluding any thoughts of quick access. Approaches can be demoralizing and time consuming with stacked down trees. 10,000 mosquitoes will find you. Put on an extra layer and cover in bug spray, they still get to your face. Most peaks are 4th class with a 5th Class spanning the ridges. It's really good alpine climbing. There are a few "easier" peaks that hold a Class 3 path-of-least-resistance to the top, but you're hiking a pile of rocks those days compared to Longs Peak or Wetterhorn. Scree slides at every step when you looking for easier routes. I'd get the head-game knowing the routes should be somewhere else everytime. Scree for peaks does not make sense.. most people burn out quick. Obscure 4th and 5th Class ridges to get those "easier" peaks does make sense. You have to get creative with the routes, turning Class 3 into really hard routes was a lot fun. Plenty of on-sight calls for better terrain. The few people that climb in the Gore show up looking for the hardest ridges. Avalanche clearings can be the best way to break through treeline. Solid grassy steps were always appreciated. I'd usually set down on the summit and build waypoints to climb the next peaks. Searching out unnamed couloirs, avy clearings, and highest water sources along the way. Quite a few water sources not listed on maps. Waypoints scouted from the previous trips was all I needed. Sometimes cheating with a quick glance at satellite-maps before heading out. I've taken waypoint notes all over the Gores and go with that. It's a lot of fun! Relentless mosquito bushwhack to be expected - above treeline should always be entering the lesser known ridges in the state.



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Standing on Peak Q overlooking Vail and Beaver Creek



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Snow Peak



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My buddy Ben Kullman up there with me in the abyss



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Gore Range



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Guyselman & L Heading to N



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Bubble Lake from Peak C



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Eagles Nest with Natalie Moran



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Gaining Palomino Point with Ben Kullman & Bert Willemse



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Peak Q



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First attempt at Snow Peak, thought it was only foggy clouds above treeline - bailed with the sound of thunder in distance



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Scouting routes on the eastern side this spring, completely soaked 3 days in a row. Glad to be back at camp with a tent.



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Partners Traverse, off rope



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Grand Traverse with Tony Vazquez



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Jacque



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Ripsaw Ridge, off rope



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Ripsaw. Came at it from both C and from H, had weather come in both times. Still need to get the ridge C to D.



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Eagles Nest with Natalie Moran, end of the day about to bushwhack out at night



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The Spider, great side trip



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Climbed the Spider with Otina and sat down on the summit. We had noticed spiders all along the way and then setting on the summit...



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Below the Spider, heading to Q



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Peak Z



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Looking back towards Mt Silverthorne and East Thorn from the Zodiac Traverse



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East Thorn from Mt Silverthorne



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Grand Traverse



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Zodiac Traverse



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Zodiac Traverse



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Zodiac Traverse, got through the initial parts of the traverse and realized how long it would take. By-passed majority of it to get to Red by sunset



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East Thorn, for extra credit



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Natalie Moran between Peak X and Mt Solitude



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Peak G



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Gore Range



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Ten Mile from Red Pk B



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Cliffed out plenty of times finding the "walk around". The range is filled with anchors left behind. Some of the hardest climbing in the state is in the Gores.


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Zodiac Traverse



Joe Grant's self-powered / self supported trip on the 14ers this summer was in the middle of my work on the Gores. Joe was getting pounded for a everyday seeing it through for a month. Pretty humbling to see what he did. Had to be unspoken days where timing the gaps between storms meant moving forward. I'd get out there for two and three day blocks getting pounded and then rest. Trying to predict lightning storms up there.. they come in a lot faster than you'd think. Either breaking over Holy Cross or Mt Powell. You don't have long.



The Gore Pledge
"In the spirit of exploration" The peaks in the Gore Range will never have a pipeline of maps to the summit, pipeline of beta, or trails built to the top. Depending on who you talk to - some people kick down the trail making cairns beyond the lake trails. I can't remember seeing a sign after the trailhead that says which peak is above. Definitely show up with experience in land navigation, leading routes, and self-reliance. It's the Gores!. I've held back Trip Reports to keep the beta down. Even deleted some of the info in condition reports trying to do my part.


That's the home range. It's what I found going into the Gores. It took finishing the 14ers to be ready for it. It's a scramblers paradise and a great place to build multi-day routes. Most people in Vail know something about the Gores and they'll tell you ropes on the trip. Probably more accurate to say you have to be ready for 5th class climbing and miles of down-tree bushwhack. Good advice to give someone when you don't know they're ability. 4th/5th class off-grid routes is what going to run into. I never used ropes the Gores, 70% solo in the range. It was a bit more of an undertaking than expected because of the bushwhacks. I've tried to speak to some of what it is, almost to warn people. There's a lot of places up high with little margin for error not having a rope. Approach hungry and balance the options when you're there. Get creative with the multi-day routes and they all become really good.

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Random pic of me next to Palomino Point, photo credit: Bert Willemse




What you see in Vail is the Eagles Nest Wilderness 12ers & 13ers. They're wildly unknown and with so many routes above the bushwhack. Definitely going back to the Gores.




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9/18/16 Sunset at the summit of Peak L, the finisher.





The Gores are good! Proud to have climbed the 13ers in my home range, always an epic adventure!!!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50


 Comments or Questions
Tornadoman

Congrats!
10/21/2016 08:45
The Gore Range 13ers look like a great objective. Thanks for sharing!


dillonsarnelli

nice work!
10/21/2016 10:00
Yeah, Will! Good job man, and nice report too! Well done. We need a rain check soon on that breakfast man! Ya know, bushwhacks are easier in the snow...


Monster5

Great compilation
10/21/2016 11:49
I'm curious about Zodiac - did you try N to S? Which towers were you able to climb and which to bypass? I figured it would all go at less than 5.5 or so direct, with the notable and substantial exception of Capricorn.


jbchalk

Very nice tribute to the Gore
10/21/2016 12:14
Beautiful pics and some very nice trips. I second Marsters' question re: Zodiac.


SchralpTheGnar

the gore pledge!
10/21/2016 14:26
It should include "No TR's on the internet whatsoever" That place already suffers from a noticeable increase in usage in the past 15 years; between the TR's and the forum posts "if you want no crowds go to the gores!" it should be no surprise. I remember 15 years ago traversing that range and seeing close to no one, last backpacking trip up there, there was at least 6 parties camping up by whichever lake we were at.


WillRobnett

No Selfie Sticks
10/22/2016 12:58
Sounds like you've had some history in the range. I'm showing the tradition of killing beta if you look at what I'm saying. The source of selfie stick climbers is not coming from this TR. To mess with people printing efficiencies and route descriptions, that's Badassery! It's good for the Gore. To share the news and photography after you've climbed all of the 13ers in the range, I think is fair. I'll post another trip report after getting the 12ers in Eagle's Nest Wilderness.. The same complaining and whining about how hard they were. I'm actually really glad you sent that. I think we need more of it as the trip reports have been sliding into route description in the Gore...

Chalk/Ryan - I've always heard it's your stomping ground, we'll have to catch up

Dillon - Thanks, for sure!

Tornadoman - You'll be complaining and whining like me after going for them


kushrocks

Excellent
10/24/2016 09:26
Looks like an awesome time!


mtnfiend

Great Photography
10/24/2016 13:57
Stellar pictures and description of the essence of the gore. You've not lived until you experience class 3 or 4 GRASS slopes - all too common in the gore. A couple of names on that summit register look familiar!


Arndorfer

A Great Getaway
10/25/2016 11:08
Thanks for the nice pics. The Gores are a great place to get away. I climbed Mt Powell on a Saturday in July and was the only person on the mountain that day.


globreal

Enticing!
12/05/2017 17:31
Will, you may not have put up TR's or beta, but you have put up wonderful compilation of Gore Porn! I am lusting now that I've viewed this advertisement/appeasement. It's like I've eyed the forbidden fruit and now I want it! Thanks for this. It's all your fault and you should feel guilty.


mtngrown
Had my eyes on Eagles Nest since I was a kid
08/27/2018 19:07
I grew up on CR 10 (Spring Creek Road) and have always wanted to climb Eagles Nest. It will be awhile as I have more to learn. Use to backpack up to the lakes a lot in high school. Kind of fell out of it in college. Would love to discuss the trails to that peak sometime!


jsf80238

Cool photos
08/11/2019 21:04
Cool photos



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