Peak(s):  Storm Pk A  -  13,487 feet
"V 9"  -  13,260 feet
PT 13,300 A  -  13,300 feet
Beattie Pk  -  13,342 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2018
Modified:  10/16/2018
Date Climbed:   09/07/2018
Author:  Mtnman200
 Storming the Castle   

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2018. After our Labor Day Weekend fun, Randy drove home while I stayed at our campsite near the Rico - Silverton Trailhead. I'd planned to climb V10 (13,475') today from the Lake Hope Trail but never made an attempt due to rain much of the day. After reading a book and killing some time in Silverton, I drove to the Boulder Gulch trailhead for a planned climb of Storm Peak (13,487') tomorrow.

Access to Boulder Gulch is via a road not shown on the topo map (or From the north end of Silverton just above/behind the cemetery, find a road that heads ENE near some power lines. The Boulder Gulch trailhead is at a locked gate at 9600', west of the massive tailings field adjacent to the Mayflower Mill. There's enough room for no more than three vehicles to park at the trailhead.

Green = road from Silverton to access Boulder Gulch Trail; black = the locked gate at 9600'; and blue = Boulder Gulch Trail
The Boulder Gulch trailhead. Don't worry; I packed up my tent before starting up the trail the next morning.

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2018. I followed the trail as it headed NE for about 1/4 mile to Boulder Gulch, where it crossed the creek and began climbing steeply north up the drainage. At 11,460', the trail crossed the creek and headed west for 1/4 mile to a switchback.

The main trail continues back to Boulder Gulch and uphill to the East Storm Peak - Tower Mountain saddle, but a very faint trail continues NW up the drainage from the switchback. It didn't take me long to lose the faint trail in the lush vegetation, but it doesn't really matter as long as you follow the creek to an unnamed lake at 11,880'. From here, I continued to head up the drainage to a couple of small lakes at 12,760' that are almost directly south of the summit of Storm Peak.

Looking south toward the two unnamed lakes at 12,760' from the base of Storm Peak

Storm Peak from the same location as the previous photo. Your goal isn't the large scree gully at the right of the photo. Instead, Crux 1 is finding a smaller couloir (left of center in this photo) that's left (west) of Storm Peak's summit.

A closer look at the couloir (just left of center) that gives access to Storm Peak's west ridge. Compare this photo to the previous one to find the correct couloir.

Entering the couloir; the rock is loose and only gets worse higher up. Enjoy!

Looking down from the same location as the previous photo

Higher up, the couloir splits. Take the (climber's) right fork to the ridge, where a right turn will take you to the summit.

The rock in the upper section of the couloir is loose and may result in a few colorful metaphors being uttered

Looking down from the upper section of the couloir

Once at the ridge, turn right (east) and Crux 2 is what you see (and get to scramble up). Class 2+ or 3 depending on your route. I found a good route at far left.

After the short scramble up Crux 2, it's an easy (and brief) ridge walk to the summit of Storm Peak (13,487'). I did not find a summit register.

The summit of Storm Peak from just above Crux 2

I didn't stay on Storm Peak's summit for long due to the building clouds. I briefly considered adding East Storm Peak (13,325'), as its south ridge looked quite inviting, but thought better of it. That was the correct decision because after returning to the Boulder Gulch Trail I got to enjoy about 45 minutes' worth of rain.

Blue = ascent route on Storm Peak; red = descent route

After returning to the trailhead and spending the afternoon in Silverton, I decided to make an attempt on V10 (13,475') tomorrow and drove to the Lake Hope Trailhead after dinner. Lacking a good place to set up my tent at the trailhead, I slept in the back of my 4Runner instead.

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2018. I hiked up the Lake Hope Trail to about 11,800' and then headed SW cross-country toward the V9 - Rolling Mountain saddle. The last couple hundred feet involved scrambling up ledges covered in the infamous San Juan kitty litter.

The V9 - Rolling Mountain saddle in the early morning darkness

Sunrise over the South Mineral Creek drainage

From the 12,863' saddle, I got a good look at the route across the Cascade Creek basin to V10. I also got a good look at some clouds building already and decided that today wasn't the best day to attempt a solo climb of V10.

Conveniently, a backup plan was available: V9 (13,260', about a half-mile NW along the ridge) and, along the ridge toward Fuller Peak and Ice Lake basin, V8 (13,300') and Beattie Peak (13,342').

It was a casual stroll toward V9, and in less than 20 minutes I was standing on its summit. Not surprisingly, there was no summit register (and I didn't find one on V8 or Beattie Peak, either).

Grizzly Peak (13,738') and V10 (13,475') from V9 (13,260'). The ridge between Grizzly Peak and V10 does not go, according to previous reports.

The only minor ridge difficulties I encountered today were a few rough spots that had to be bypassed when descending from V9 to the V8 - V9 saddle. From the saddle, it was an easy climb to the summit of V8.

V8 from just above the V8 - V9 saddle. The Lake Hope Trail goes over this pass and can be used to easily access V8 and V9.

Vermilion Peak, Fuller Peak, and Beattie Peak from V8 (Unnamed 13,300'). The connecting ridge between V8 and Beattie has no particular difficulties.

Rolling Mountain (13,693') with a dusting of yesterday's snow as seen from V8 (Unnamed 13,300')

V9 (13,260'), Grizzly Peak (13,738'), V10 (13,475'), and San Miguel Peak (13,752') from V8 (Unnamed 13,300')

Vermilion Peak and Fuller Peak from Beattie Peak. You can see a trail between the Beattie - Fuller saddle and the Vermilion - Fuller saddle

I returned a few hundred feet along the ridge to V8, descended scree into the basin south of Beattie Peak to an unnamed lake at 12,140', and then followed the creek until I reached the Lake Hope Trail. Once on the trail, it didn't take long to hike roughly a mile back to the trailhead. All in all, it was a successful day despite not reaching the summit I'd originally targeted.

Next up on my trip: San Joaquin Ridge, Silver Mountain, and V3

Blue = ascent route; red = descent route

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
09/16/2018 20:37
Well that's a new route up Storm for me. I put a condition update up Storm last year where, after entering the basin beyond the upper lakes, I turned away from the summit, ascended one of the north-facing gullies and eventually hit the southwest ridge. Sounds like you bypassed most of the scrambling on the SW ridge itself (which I found quite solid and fun, much better than dealing with the gullies). I've also heard of people taking the east ridge, as well as getting onto the S/SW ridge closer to its southern end, but that would require some bypassing of towers.

There was definitely a summit register up there when I did it, placed by one of the Kirks I believe. I hope some jerk isn't going around trashing them.

09/18/2018 13:24
Matt, I reached the SW ridge very close (maybe 100') to the summit. The SW ridge certainly looked doable. The east ridge, not so much. I didn't see a good way between a false summit east of Storm and its true summit.

   Not registered?

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