Peak(s):  Eagles Nest A  -  13,420 feet
"Mt. Silverthorne"  -  13,357 feet
Date Posted:  09/17/2018
Date Climbed:   09/12/2018
Author:  bergsteigen
 Fall in the Gores   

Sept 12 2017: Mt Silverthorne

  • Mileage: 15
  • Elevation gain: 4,934'
  • Partners: Solo

When I updated my Gore peaks on my website, I noted that I did Mt Silverthorne on the same day, a year earlier, and that I had never done a TR for it. Didn't realize I would hike another Gore peak on the same day, and have a similar experience - Getting Gored. Where activities on the day after have to be minimal, since there's something about the terrain that just kicks my ass.

So here's some pretty photos from my trip on the same day last year.

First locals grave site
Treeline views
First view of Silverthorne
Calm reflections
Weedy reflections
Up slope
Ridge to Silverthorne
Nearing the peak
Views north
Spicy ridge to Red Peak
Wet Leaf

Leafy Trail

Sept 12 2018: Eagles Nest A

  • Mileage: 14.3
  • Elevation gain: 5,345'
  • Partners: Solo

So since I typically don't learn my lesson with the Gores, I planned 2 bigger days to follow my day on Eagles Nest and hopefully Mt Powell. I was also hoping fall leaves would be peaking around Piney Lake, and I can say certain spots were certainly good, others early.

I drove up the night before and comfortably slept in, since I knew the weather would be good, so I would have sunrise to sunset, at least. Even at that, I got started a bit later than I wanted. I didn't get past the lake before the first moose encounter. I wasn't too worried at first, since mom and calf were a reasonable distance away. But as I hiked along, and closer to the calf, mom started moving closer to her calf. Then they started to approach me! So I got out of there quickly.

Mom moose
Mom and baby

So I made up some time by my quick hiking, for a little while. Then as I was hiking up into the trees, I saw another mom and calf moving uphill from the willow and river bottom, up to intersect the trail. Based on speed, we could easily meet in those trees. So I hiked while clicking my trekking poles. Don't want to startle a mother moose. Thankfully they stopped in a meadow just below the trail, at a safe distance. But that was close!

Up in the trees now

After that bit of excitement, I thought it was over. So I stopped making so much noise. As I got to the upper tight switchbacks, a large commotion happened in the trees next to me. A large group of male moose had startled and moved from their bedding spot to crash through the trees. Unfortunately, they just moved onto the trail above and didn't want to move. The older one in the trees kept staring at me. So I waited. For a bit. Then a bit longer. They weren't moving. From my many moose encounters in Fairbanks AK, I know most young moose are easy to scare off. Heck, I've had a moose in-between me and my outhouse before. The cat's litter box was a device of jealousy at that point!

But these 4 moose were not moving, so I had to bushwhack uphill and around, while making lots of noise. Back on the trail, I once again quickly got out of there!

2 moose
3 moose
This guy kept staring at me! Not moving.

I was happy to get out of the Piney River drainage and move up towards Kneeknocker Pass. Glad I remembered the trail divergence from skiing Peak C. Only a wee bit of bushwhacking when I walked over some branches denoting 'not the trail'. So I put my old gpx track on my gps, since Gore bushwhacking can be nightmarish.

Fireweed says Winter is Coming, soon!

Got up into the upper drainage and was interesting to see the area not covered in snow.

Powell and C
Now there's a delightful looking pass to hike up to! Yay no loose V gullies!

I had a pleasant hike up to Game Pass. From there I knew the beta said to traverse at about the same elevation over to Eagles Nest. That looked like annoying crap of loose talus. So I decided it was more efficient to take the path of least resistance and dropped down into the valley a bit, and traversed mostly below the talus, but above the willows. Much more pleasant than above!

Eagles Nest ridge way in the distance

Walking below the ridge I note that most of the nasty gullies above, cliff out. So route finding will be paramount today! I also knew from previous TR's to not ascend too early. But as I was getting to the end of the ridge, I noted that some of the end gullies also cliffed out. I found a steep grassy gully, that could be the same as the one Layne Bracy used. Above the steep grassy gully, was a steep grassy slope that I would almost call class 3 grass. Steeeeep! There was a bit of a gully in the middle of the grassy slope that I followed up in a zig zag pattern as I went higher.

Steep grassy slope above
Up the steep

As I neared the ridge, I found a few cairns and traversed below the ridge for a little bit before gaining the ridge proper and following it mostly. Some airy spots, but that's Gore normal to have your ass hang out over a couple thousand feet of air!

That looks like a cairn!

Airy Ridge

Even after waiting to get up onto the ridge for a distance, there was still quite a bit of ridge to go before the summit. It seemed to go on for quite a while. Up to a rise, still more to go. But finally I made it to the true summit.

Summit Pano

Gores to the south
Powell and the connecting ridge
Fire by Kremmling starts up again...
A very blue lake

Even though the weather today was perfect, I had gotten up to Eagles Nest a lot later than desired. I had thought to add on Powell after Eagles Nest. Not by the ridge traverse, but by dropping down. I figured that would be faster and more efficient, as I knew the traverse could go class 4/5 in spots.

So since I didn't think I would get Powell, I hung out on the summit for a while. I even did some work! Since there's cell reception, I checked my email. One of my coworkers replaced a digitizer at a station in Southern California, and sent me the configuration details. If I didn't update my end, then we'd lose seismic data in 6 hours. So I vpn'd into my server at work, then tunneled over to SoCal and set up the mini computer at the site with the new digitizer. Northing like using VI over my iPhone though multiple computers to add in a 16 digit password for the digitizer. So for those who think I don't work, I even work on summits! Really anywhere I have service. Why I get to travel when and where I like to!

After confirming the station was transferring data, I started to head back down the ridge. The navigating was interesting, since I wanted to follow pretty closely the route I took up. Despite looking back frequently on the ascent, it was almost as tough finding the route back as it was on the way up. So quite time consuming. Didn't want to cliff out in a gully and have to go back up unnecessarily.

Ridge down from summit, with Corners and Game Pass
Powell still holding snow
Cairns on top of airy ridge. Yes I know, exposure time in the Gore

Fun down scrambling
Steep grassy gully is steep!

Traverse back to Game Pass
Such a nice lovely uphill to Game Pass. But uphill...
Holy Cross wilderness across the way
Powell and Peak C in the late afternoon light
Fall Trees

Even with hustling down the trail, to avoid moose in the dark, I got back to my truck just after sunset. I was pretty exhausted. I had slipped and jammed my left leg on some scree on the descent to Piney River trail, so I was also hurting a bit. I analyzed my percentage of doing anything the next day. I rated it pretty low. Certainly not driving to the Elks! So I decided to take any easy leaf peeper day for tomorrow. Maybe squeeze in a hike off Inde Pass. So after eating my dinner, I crashed in my truck, and slept well till sunrise the next day! Will I learn in 2019?

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Moose encounters
09/17/2018 16:09
Lovely, Otina!

Regarding your moose encounters, I've only come across them once in CO, coming down Paiute Peak in the IPW last year. But I routinely encountered them all the time in the Tetons when I did a lot of hiking there back in the late 90's. Yes, the males can be pretty stubborn about retreating and I've had to wait 20 minutes or more on a few occasions for them to finally move off the trail. But one time rounding a bend on a trail cut into a steep slope, I found myself face to face with a cow moose. I think she was as shocked to see me as I was of her! We were literally only a few feet apart staring each other down. There was really no where to go, as the upward slope was so steep and rocky, it wasn't really practical for me to even try and climb over and around her, and the downward slope was also steep and very wooded and thick with undergrowth, so I slowly started backing up, still facing her. She finally took off down the slope, her long legs able to maneuver through the brush and I was thankful she decided not to challenge me. She definitely would have won!

Da Moose
09/19/2018 13:42
Doug - moose kill more people than bears in Alaska, so I usually give them a wide margin. Iâm just glad I didnât have to call the hike that early in the day!

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