Peak(s):  "Thunder Pyramid"  -  13,932 feet
Date Posted:  06/28/2010
Date Climbed:   06/27/2010
Author:  AxeTheIce
 Thunder Pyramid - minor snow variation  

Wanted to check out Thunder Pyramid before all the snow melted this year. Other partners were out on Ice and Kit Carson so I ended up solo. In addition, I wanted to get a look at the traverses to both Lightning Pyramid and Pyramid. It was dark on the way up so I took most pictures on the way down.

5:45 left the parking lot. Looked like lots of rain the night before. Great snow bridge over the creek just above where the trail crosses sides. Wouldn't want to be around when the bridge gets soft, but it felt firm crossing and I had little interest in crossing through the creek.

Turn left at this Cairn once you cross the snow bridge.
Don't miss this on the trail. Turn left here.

View of the entire route
Entire Route up Thunder Pyramid

Thrash through willows.
Slog through talus.
Find gullies through cliff bands.

Arrive in the Basin.
Len S Basin - wild!

Climb / traverse left, climb, traverse left to get into the base of the white gully. (Steep grass and mud)

Looking up Route

Climb about 500' of snow till the climb bifurcates. The left snow route, up the white gully is mostly rotten, wide, and exposed to rockfall. I took a great gully that extends to the S. Ridge of Thunder Pyramid. The top of the west facing gully is exactly on top of the east facing gully Roach outlines in his S. route.

All snow variation to climbers right (90% snow)

Highly recommend this variation. It is steeper than the white gully route. 40 degrees as opposed to 35 degrees, but the aesthetic snow climbing is worth it. In addition, there are a number of ledges on climbers right that are flat where you can take a break, pictures of the bells, and are not exposed to rockfall.

Looking down the snow climb.

Top of gully looking at Lighting Pyramid.

Top of gully looking towards Lightning Pyramid

Summit from top of ascent gully. Bypass all obstacles on the climbers left with 3rd class traverses / climbs.

Summit from ascent gully

Getting to the top rewards you with a majestic view of the Elks. 9:45 on the top.

Elk Majesty from Summit of TP

Finally, the traverse over to Pyramid.


I descended a narrow ribbon of snow between the standard white gully ascent and my ascent route. Descended about 300' of high-angle screen prior to hitting the snow. Easy plunge stepping. Finished up descending the entire snow field back to the bottom of the white gully. Easy snow climbing / descending if you are comfortable in the 35 to 40 degree range.

Back at the car right as the rain started. 4:00 up and 3:00 down with a nice lunch on the summit.

Net - Net: The little scree that I encountered reinforced my choice to climb this as a snow climb. Without the snow to cement the rocks in place this would be an unpleasant climb. Physically more difficult in addition to much mentally taxing. With the snow cover I knocked down 0 rocks.

Get it before the snow is gone this year or wait till next June!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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