Whale Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: From Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2022-06-25, By: Corey17
Info: Summer conditions. There were a few snowfields to avoid up near the ridgelines, but nothing problematic. Hiked in trail runners from Gibson Lake, recorded 6.6 miles. We ascended the grassy slopes near the E Gulley and descended the SE Ridge. The SE Ridge was great - some trail segments up high, and nothing mandatory exceeding class 2. 
Route: Whale\'s Tail
Posted On: 2022-06-05, By: constipated_pete
Info: Whale's Tail is still in, but probably won't be for much longer. Some old avvy debris in the bottom half, pretty easily avoidable. Pretty consistent coverage in the basin, not continuous though. 
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Route: Whale’s Tail
Posted On: 2022-06-04, By: stomblin7
Info: Incredible snow conditions and absolutely perfect bluebird day with 0 wind. Started 3:40 from parked car which was just past Hall Valley Campground. Road was completely dry (minus creek crossing) for higher clearance vehicles. Trail was mostly dry until about 10,800 ft. Then snow became more consistent. Snow was a bit punchy in places but we were able to navigate through it without throwing on the snowshoes. Reached base of couloir about 5:40. Stashed snowshoes nearby, took a breakfast break, and geared up. Started up Couloir around 6:15, snow was still very firm. Topped out around 6:50 with snow still firm and in good condition. There was full coverage up top and no cornice. Waited at summit for snow to soften a bit till 7:45 ish and enjoyed a nice leisurely glissade down the wide slopes north of Whale Peak's summit (the couloir looked a bit of a bumpy ride due to previous slide debris so opted for smooth sailing to the north). Back to car before 10am and did not end up using snowshoes, tho they could be helpful if you prefer. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-16, By: kwhit24
Info: No snow up to TH but it is pretty rough. It say 4WD but with good maneuvering you might be able to get an SUV/Crossover there unscathed. Left TH at 7am. Carried our skis for the first .8 miles due to no snow or bad postholey snow. From there to mile 2 (tree line) to snow continued to be postholey but skinnable except for about 3 places (50'-100' gaps in snow). We did walk across a handful of 5'-10' bare spots so you have to shift around a bit Once out of the trees it was good continuous snow to the top. We didn't ski Whale Tail because we didn't see a good path from the bottom of the Whale Tail to where we were. Some looked like they tried to go around the lake or maybe you could walk back up. After a 30 min break we left the top shortly before 11am and had good slushy turns. Took about 20min to get to treeline. From there we "skied" (skipping the big bare spots) to about .5 miles from TH and hiked back 
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Route: Whale’s Tail and East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-15, By: kyrawhitworth
Info: Tail completely filled in and had good snow conditions heading up. Headed down the east slopes as it was becoming slushy fast (summited around 10:30am) and it was great glissade/ski descent for my partner who has skis! Very mixed rock and snow in the trees so tons of post-holing down low. 
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Route: Whales tail
Posted On: 2022-05-14, By: ryansunshine20
Info: The couloir was In and everything above treeline was mostly pleasant but below treeline it's a total mess. Post hole hell on the way down. Could ski some sections but then there's spots with no snow or a downed tree every so often to stop you. 
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Route: Whale Tail + East slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-08, By: Geckser
Info: We (Arthurspiderman and I) went up the east slopes of Whale and down the Whale Tail Couloir today and had a blast. We were able to essentially drive to the trailhead in the Subaru with some bravery. This made the day pretty quick and easy. The wind wasn't even that bad up there . We started moving around 8:15 and continuous snow began at about 200 feet above the trailhead (that number is growing fast) and we were able to skin all the way up the summit. The snow conditions were good but deteriorating when we summited at 10:00, I would not want to be going down the Tail any time past 11:00. Some evidence of wet slides sole previous days but nothing significant and the snow felt very stable. The ski of Whale Tail was fun and easy, with good snow. The rest of the descent was pretty easy with minimal pushing and rock hopping. The bottom was definitely a little sloppy though. I was very pleasantly surprised how nice of a ski/peak Whale is. We were back at the car by 11:00. Probably the end of my ski season, super pumped to end on a good weekend (no injurys) with two fun peaks 
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Route: Whale\\\'s tail
Posted On: 2022-05-01, By: hett
Info: Flotation required near treeline. Couloir in great shape with excellent snow coverage. Descended the bowls to lookers right of the couloir, also in prime snow conditions. 
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Route: From Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2021-12-05, By: amandaefaith
Info: Gibson Lake Trail is mostly hard packed snow until about 11,600 when it opens up in the basin. There is more snow up there than we anticipated but didn't need snow shoes. Shin deep in most areas with a few willow spots to contend with. 
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Route: AllTrails
Posted On: 2021-09-09, By: joannalee07
Info: Read my full trip report on my blog: https://www.coloradomountainpack.com/post/whale-peak-second-attempt 
Route: Whale\\\'s Tail Couloir
Posted On: 2021-06-06, By: 123tqb
Info: Snow was completely unconsolidated the whole way up. We got into the line far too late at 9:00, and rightly decided to turn before committing to the climb. Trail was dry with minimal postholing all the way to Gibson Lake. Edit: Pictures kind of show trail conditions. It's dry for the first two miles (from Gibson Lake TH), and then the snow becomes patchy for the remainder to the couloir. The patches of snow could be skinned (like we did) or could be booted with minimal postholing. 
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Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2021-05-29, By: ktfoote628
Info: Today was all the glories of awkward shoulder season in one hike. Road to trailhead is free of snow, just one large puddle and one major creek crossing after the campground. My Hyundai Kona made it to the trailhead fine... there's a couple places I wish I had a few more inches of clearance but Forresters and better should be good to go. As far as the trail itself, first 0.5-0.7 miles have patchy avoidable snow drifts. From there, it is continuous snow to the lake, lots of postholing with occasional stream/ mud/ rocky/ dirt patches. I started at 6 AM and was postholing nearly that early in the SHADE. I brought snowshoes which I was extremely happy about but still postholed in my snowshoes, my friend was sinking, her dog was postholing. I started to ascend beyond the lake but my friend wasn't wanting to summit and her dog wasn't having and I was roasting it so we turned around. We met a couple skiiers and they turned around before the summit because the snow was softening. This might be the first time we passed skiiers on the way down... they were having a miserable time in the forest. I think I'll save Whale Peak for true winter or earlier in the spring. 
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Route: Whale tail
Posted On: 2021-05-27, By: Sbenfield
Info: Since everybody and their mom has been going up this route this spring, I didn't wanna miss out lol! The col is still in and probably will be for a good while. My partner made a ski descent while I went for the glissade. Great day. Snowshoes sometimes helpful through the forest. Easy 4wd (my AWD did fine) all the way to the Gibson TH, no troublesome snowdrifts left 
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Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2021-05-22, By: gcook33
Info: Gibson Lake TH to Gibson Lake requires snowshoes. Left of the lake there is a nice dry tundra ramp up to the ridge trail. Ridge to summit is mostly dry, any snow is avoidable. 
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Route: Whale Tail
Posted On: 2021-05-15, By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: Losst a black diamond ice axe on the way down, I think it's got to be no mroe than half a mile from the 4WD TH. Please send me a PM if you find it. Whale Tail is still in, though lots of wet slide debris and we added a bunch ourselves today. We started from just past Hall Valley Campground at 3:50am and it wasn't early enough. Summitted at 8:50am and skied the couloir, but it was a bit too slushy to be super fun. The ski out above treeline was fantastic, the ski out below treeline sucked. A few dry spots on the trail made for some annoying transitions and probably slowed our pace a bit. A jeep and a pickup had made it to the upper TH, a Crosstrek made it within half a mile. Still some lingering patches of snow on the road, but the road should be almost entirely dry within one or two weeks' time. The half hour hike up the road was quite pleasant though. 
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Route: Whale\\\\\\\'s Tail
Posted On: 2021-05-07, By: coopereitel
Info: Started from near 10,140' where my Jeep post holed into the snow. Until then it was frozen. I would not recommend trying to get that high at least as of now, very bad choice in a 2000 stock Jeep Cherokee. It took 2.5+ hours and two good Samaritans to get unstuck after the ski. I would probably stop a bit after the stream crossing to ensure ease of exit. It took me exactly three hours to summit via the Whale's Tail. (4:50 to 7:50). I started my ski at 8:10 and found good corn. I wouldn't recommend starting the ski any later. The trail ski out was really pleasant compared to other exits out there. Got to car (a stuck car -- noob) at ~9:00. Was driving on dirt road near the big campsite at 11:45, so yeah, it took a while. Definitely would recommend this ski, just don't get stuck like a loser (me) and you'll be back home by noon. Oh yeah, there was a large wind-slab avy from a few days ago that ran from the top. Crown is still visible, be careful. 
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Route: Whale Tail
Posted On: 2021-05-01, By: yaktoleft13
Info: Had to park 1.8 miles below upper trailhead at the parking area before Hall Valley turnoff. Doesn't look like anyone's made it to the upper trailhead yet. Used snowshoes from upper trailhead to base of couloir. Whale Tail was in perfect condition when we started up at 7:20. Great bootpack up the couloir; my wife just used spikes and was fine. For the descent, we went north off the summit about 75 feet to a break in the cornice and downclimbed 50 feet to a dry area, where we took off spikes. We were able to glissade from there all the way back to the lake. 
2 1
Route: Whale’s Tail Couloir
Posted On: 2021-04-25, By: Sglm14
Info: A group of us went up Whale's Tail today to Whale Peak. Trail was easy to follow due to previous tracks but we lost them in a few places.Snowshoes were definitely helpful on the approach and back. Switched to crampons on the base. We started kind of late so snow was very soft at that point. Once on the ridge it was wind blown. From there it was a short walk to the summit. Wind was not a factor today until we got to the ridge. Very warm day today but overall a fabulous day! Trench in place 
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Route: Whales Tail Couloir
Posted On: 2021-04-25, By: cougar
Info: Road still snowed in past hall valley campground. Lots of mix of ruts, tracked out melting snow, mud, and puddles to that point. Parked a little lower, the OHV staging lot is a good spot, or a short way past. Used snowshoes for the whole approach from Gibson lake summer TH and back. Decently packed but melting slop in afternoon so still recommended. Couloir had a mix of snow conditions but was mostly soft and difficult making steps. Steeper sections midway and near the top were firmer. A slide entered the lower part after we'd climbed. Lots of rollers. Skiers descended and conditions looked good for a ski descent. 
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Route: Gibson Lake
Posted On: 2021-04-19, By: angry
Info: Parked approximately 1.8 miles below the th. Snowshoed from car to summit and back, gaining ridge from SW. 
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