Friday, June 28, 2013

Gore Range Grand Traverse

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Check out the little video here.



This past Tuesday (June 25) and Wednesday (June 26) I did the Gore Range Grand Traverse with Jake and his roommate Blair.  We started on the east side of the Gore Range at the Rock Creek Trail Head and ended on the west side of the Gore Range at the Deluge Lake Trail Head.

We left the Rock Creek Trail Head a little bit after 8 pm on Tuesday night with the intention of hiking in the dark for a little while once we left the trail.  We were able to get exactly where we had planned on camping, but it took a bit of bushwhacking in the dark to make it happen.  If anyone had been watching us the would have gotten a good laugh.  I was the only one with a functioning headlamp.  Jake's strap broke and he had to hold his, and Blair just used the light on his iPhone.

When we reached camp it was just about as perfect as one can hope for - peaceful stream, cool temps and a beautiful night sky.  We slept under the stars...or at least we tried to sleep.  I had a horribly stuffed nose and got perhaps a cumulative of one hour of sleep before the alarm clock buzzed.

On the 26th we woke up at 5 am and had a leisurely start to our day.  We were hiking by 6 am.  It was a stunning morning.


Shortly after leaving camp in the morning.
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Beautiful morning for a walk in the mountains.
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Hitting the alpine...
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...and the last remnants of winter's snow.
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As I said, it was a beautiful morning to be in the mountains.
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Jake and Blair above the last lake on the east side of the Gore Range.
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Time for some Powerbar breakfast.
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After a little food and soaking in some great views we made short work of the climb to the saddle between Keller Peak and North Traverse Peak.  Reaching this saddle was the first feeling of actually accomplishing something on the trip.  The views were stunning and they were only going to get better as we continued.


Saddle of Keller and North Traverse Peaks.
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Jake at the saddle of Keller and North Traverse Peaks.
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Me at the saddle of Keller and North Traverse Peaks.
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The short hike from the saddle to the summit of North Traverse Peak went smoothly.  When we reached the summit of North Traverse Peak (13,079') we ate and drank a little bit as we soaked in the scenery.


Atop North Traverse Peak looking to the north.
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Atop North Traverse Peak looking to the west.
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Atop North Traverse Peak looking to the south.
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A view of the Grand Traverse from the summit of North Traverse Peak.
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Jake, stoked to get started on the Grand Traverse with Grand Traverse Peak in the background.
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We were all excited to get started on the Grand Traverse!  After all, this is what all of the effort was for.

The first part of the traverse is a knife edge ridge.  It isn't very technical, but you are over large exposure.  I didn't get many pictures here, but the video shows some of this section.  Stunning beauty in every direction.


Jake enjoying the exposure on the knife edge part of the traverse.
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After the knife edge part of the traverse, you come into sections of class 4 and 4+ climbing.  I can understand why some people would choose to rope up for some of these sections, but we opted not to.  This allowed us to move more quickly and efficiently.  It was the perfect balance of challenge without being too technical...extremely enjoyable.


Me on the first little climb.
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Jake.
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Blair.
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Blair.
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Me making my way through a section I affectionately refer to as "The Coin Slot."
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Jake coming through The Coin Slot.
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Jake and Blair successfully through The Coin Slot.
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Jake making his way.  It is deceptively hard doing this with a pack on.
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Blair making his way.
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A little closer look.
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Nice spot for a water break with the Sawatch (Mount of the Holy Cross) as the backdrop.
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Jake stoked on the climbing.
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Me making my way up the final ascent of the traverse.
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Smiling for the camera...
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...and climbing again.
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Jake and Blair making their way up the final ascent of the traverse.
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Smiling for the camera.
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Spirits were high when we reached the summit of Grand Traverse Peak (13,041').  Just as with North Traverse Peak, we ate and drank as we soaked in the views.


Me on the summit of Grand Traverse Peak.  Arms up was the theme.
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Jake on the summit of Grand Traverse Peak.
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Blair on the summit of Grand Traverse Peak.
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Enjoying the view after finishing the Gore Range Grand Traverse.
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Summit of Grand Traverse Peak looking north.
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Summit of Grand Traverse Peak looking south.
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After an enjoyable stay at the top we made our way down to Deluge Lake and the USFS hut near it.  Jake decided to glissade down the snow as much as possible and was soaked when he reached the hut. We waited for him to change before beginning the 4 mile hike to the Deluge Lake Trail Head.


Deluge Lake still had quite a bit of ice on it.
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The hike to the Deluge Lake Trail Head was fairly unpleasant.  It was hot, and we were all a bit dehydrated.  The trail is only near water at the very beginning and very end, even though it could have followed the creek the entire distance.  It also stays flat for a long period of time before becoming quite steep, and this was hard on our knees.  In any case, we finished it off without any incident.


After the 4 mile trip down from Deluge Lake we were happy to have successfully crossed the Gore Range via the Gore Range Grand Traverse.
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It was a great time, in a beautiful place with good people.

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