Peak(s):  The Corner - 12709
Pt. 12,663 - 12663
Cataract Point - 12400
Meridian Peak - 12426
Date Posted:  07/13/2012
Modified:  03/30/2013
Date Climbed:   07/10/2012
Author:  d_baker
 Corner of the Gore   

July 10, 2012

(Wannabe) Climber: Me

"Corner Peak" (12,709')
Pt. 12,663'
"Cataract Point" (12,400')
Meridian Peak (12,426')

Gore Range

View from the "Corner"

Trailhead: Piney Lake
Route: see map at end of report
Distance: ~13mi. RT (round trip)
Note: I got way off route on my hike out from Meridian, so mileage is best guess as my forest wandering bushwack certainly added some miles and elevation gain
Elevation Gain: ~5300'
Difficulty: class 3 & 4 rock scrambling with route finding, mostly off trail, mostly solid rock

Powered by....

candied ginger

Reese's Pieces

Gear: daypack w/Essentials, helmet

Resources Used For Trip Planning: TOPO! mapping software; Joe Kramarsic's Mountaineering in the Gore Range: A Record of Explorations, Climbs, Routes, and Names; (Gore page); NOAA weather forecast

Introduction & Gore "Names"

While making an attempt on "Peak D" in the autumn of 2011, I couldn't help but notice some rugged and beautiful looking peaks to the W/NW of me. Well, this is the Gore Range, seeing rugged and beautiful peaks is not hard to come by!

Later I looked at the map to determine what they were. Ok, I'll look into those down the road. More recently I saw a picture of "The Corners" by Benners and once again I'm reminded of this corner of the Gore. A search on (sp) has a very brief description of them, without giving much if any pertinent info.
To Kramarsic's book I go!

Interestingly, the sp page refers to this area of the Gore as "The Corners" while Kramarsic calls them the "Cataract Points" which he cites both the CMC (Colorado Mountain Club) and Robert Ormes (Guide to the Colorado Mountains) for giving the original name(s).

The original name of "Cataract Points" was first suggested by the CMC "in 1969 by the CMC Orotaxonomy Committee." (Kramarsic, pg 181) In Ormes' Guide to the Colorado Mountains, 6th Edition, they're called "Cataract Crags" but in subsequent editions they're given the name of "Cataract Points."

The points along this curving ridge are aptly named, since they sit at the head of the Cataract Creek valley.
Conversely, the name "The Corners" also fit well, with "Corner Peak" taking the middle role and the bookends of 12,626' to the E/NE (a.k.a, "E Corner") and Pt. 12,663' sits to the NW and thus becomes known as "W Corner."

However, in this report I'm referring to the original names as I've mentioned that are listed in Kramarsic's book.

The Approach

I started out from my truck sometime around 6am, heading down the familiar Piney Creek trail. My intended route was to head towards Kneeknocker Basin, and then cut left off the "trail" to my first point. Kramarsic describes one route from Kneeknocker, and that's for Pt. 12,626.'

Pt. 12,626' was going to be my first peak, but plans change whether you realize it or not.

Looking up at my access point, aiming for the saddle

If you've been up the Kneeknocker approach before, you may remember coming to a bench that can become confusing as to where the trail goes. This confusion is because of the willows and other thick vegetation that is found here and masks the trail quite well.

From my hike of Mt. Powell last year, I remembered this area and I remembered seeing a slope that could possibly grant passage to ridges above. It was that slope that I used on this trip to access my first peak.

Looking down at my approach

Looking up at my options, because "the introduction is over"

As I got higher, I could see several possibilities to gain the upper ridge. The gully I was in would go in a couple of different branches - but it would be somewhat grungy.

Off to my right, I noticed a ramp. This ramp reminds me of the one found on Arrow Peak. Being by myself, my first thought was to stick with the 'safer' gully instead of increasing my risk with the ramp because it looked like it was going to be scrambly. Scrambly is more fun than grungy.
I think I'll at least go check it out!

Looking up at the ramp

As it turns out, I stayed off the ramp and scrambled ledges to its left. The rock was solid, fun, and there were plenty of options to make it easy or difficult. The ramp itself is steeper than Arrow's ramp and narrower. Plus it was wet in some places on the inside of it.

Above and to the right of the ramp, the terrain gets even steeper - but looks very climbable

Terrain on my route....


Short 4th class crack

Once above the 4th class crack, I came to a notch in the ridge. On the other side was an abyss, and looking across the abyss I could see what I figured was Pt. 12,626.' I guess I'll climb "Corner Peak" first! As it turns out, this was the upper portion of the SE ridge that I climbed. It was a good mistake not going up Pt. 12,626' because this is a fun route!

From the notch and upwards, route-finding and scrambling were constant but not very difficult. Most times easier options were available and the rock continued to be solid, but the exposure is there. A fall would be bad (i.e., people tend to bounce once they fall).


Narrow ridge walking at times, with great views around

The crux of the day was a very exposed step around & step down corner. The step down was ~5' but to a small ledge on the left and to the right was a ~20' vertical drop to more steep terrain below. My other option was to backtrack a little ways and drop some elevation. However, I could see the moves to make it thru the crux 'safely' so I did it.

The crux: the crack on the left was good for a hand with smears on the right as I lowered my left foot to the ledge, with a gap and a big drop to right.

Looking back at the crux

Occasionally, I had grunge like this short gully....

.....but then I would get off the grunge and get on this kind of stuff again

This route reminded me of the ridge route on W Partner because of the way it keeps giving you more around every other corner or over the next tower.
Then it's over.

The summit is reached and I'm rewarded with ripping good views

Peak 12,626' (a.k.a., "E Corner")
The grass ramp in the above photo is likely one way that would "go" for Peak 12,626'

Eagles Nest (l.) ridge run to Mt Powell (r.)

Now a word from these sponsors:
KILO Rocks Colorado!!

Stop in at the Chalet, ask for Matt or Pete and tell them I sent you!

Word of Caution: If you do mention my name, they'll probably shower pity on you (or more like laugh at you) but they'll still treat you right! Best shop in town, no doubt.

Next up is the twin summit of "Corner Peak" (with nearly the same elevation). Getting over to that one is class 2+ with some class 3. From there on, it's mostly walking for the remainder of the day.

Pictures will tell the rest of the story....

"Corner" sub-summit and Pt. 12,663 (a.k.a., W Corner) to the right

From Pt. 12,663 looking back at "Corner Peak." I have about 50 more pictures with very similar views.

This is Me

Meridian from "Cataract Pt"

From Meridian, looking back at most of the ridge tour

My descent and a forest for my wandering ways on the left

I mentioned early in my report I got off route. I did. Lesson learned? I didn't look at my map soon enough. Will I do it again? Most likely.
But as Tolkien wrote, "not all who wander are lost."

Thanks for reading,

Approximate route, including forest wandering

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Comments or Questions
Bursting with Flavor
07/13/2012 14:32
Nice loop. Candied ginger probably greatly aided your solo effort. Badass view of C as well.

Tolkien's quote has its usage, till you end up in Avon.

Nice TR Darin!

”Scrambly is more fun than grungy.”
07/13/2012 14:39
Truer words have rarely been spoken. Enjoyable report. Sometimes, getting off-route (within reason) is just what the doctor ordered.

07/13/2012 14:39
Glad the FB photo prompted some curiosity! This is a sweet TR; excellent info/photos on a rarely traveled set of peaks in an awesome region. Doesn't get much better than that! Those views of C/Ripsaw and the EN/Powell ridge are superb. Thanks for writing this. Cheers!

Candid Ginger...?
07/13/2012 14:39
When I first scrolled down I thought it said 'candid ginger' and I truly expected to see a pseudo spying through the shrubs shot of some red head or something...

Very cool report! I'm still at the point in my journey's where your crux pics spook me out a little but that area just looks so cool! Great climb!

07/13/2012 14:40
What range is that again? Do people know about it yet? Are there 14ers there?

Great write up D. Sooner or later we'll have to Gore it up.

07/13/2012 14:40
I really like seeing the range in your sunglasses. Sweet shot. Tell all your sponsers thank you...

07/13/2012 14:53
This must have been quite refreshing after all that time spent in the Lone Star gulag. Glad to see you were able to escape for a spell!

Great report & pics. Good choice on the salt & vin Pringles, too.

Pretty mountains
07/13/2012 15:38
Very nice side trip of the Gores Darin off Piney. Didn't think there was anything to go see down that other trail past Piney Lake, boy was I wrong and thankfully so. Nice picture of Peak C, even the little snowfield at the bottom is there, I got in the crack between it and the rocks to cool off 20 years ago. I would have eaten the York peppermint pieces instead, but we all like different crap to eat.

Very nice loop, Darin
07/13/2012 16:15
Love the views of Ripsaw! A very unique perspective.

Steve Knapp
Welcome back!
07/13/2012 18:23
Thought you were still in Texas Darin, but that ain't Texas. Nice day out! I've been eyeing this loop as well as I work on the Summit county list, looks like a good one. I'll bet they don't get climbed often since they are ”only” 12ers. Thanks for the report and map. That is quite a western wander at the end, do you use GPS?

So are you back in the Vail Valley now?

07/13/2012 19:33
Thanks for the comments everyone!

@Knapp....I'm on vacation, probably for another week too! I don't use a gps. I knew my direction and the ridge I would have to go over to get back to Piney, but I got lured into the trail I was on and didn't double check when I started going too far W. Oh well.

@Beau....York's are good too! Junior Mints are on the menu for this weekend. ;)

To My Sponsors....please start sending schwag my way.

07/13/2012 19:46
I got big time lost at that tricky trail section the first time I tried to do Powell and probably went halfway up that slope to Corner before turning around. Thanks for posting this route!

You'll have to reclimb...
07/15/2012 02:24
East Corner/Corner provide the best snow climb I've done to date and I don't see it being surpassed any time soon. Mike and I ran East Corner to Meridian in June of 2010 and it was my favorite single-day climb ever. Way to find some incredible peaks to take your mind off the Texas heat.

grazing on gor(e)p
07/15/2012 17:29
still grazing amongst the peaks I see

The word gorp, a term for trail mix often used by hikers and Girl Scouts, may stand for ”good old raisins and peanuts”, ”granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts”, or ”gobs of raw protein”

scroggin or schmogle in New Zealand in the southern ”Corner” of the world

Hell of a Corner....
07/17/2012 13:18
Love the first photo..... I hope to experience the Gore soon.

09/26/2018 13:13
I was up there this weekend (via Elliot Ridge)and wondered if anyone had climbed those peaks recently. Looks like I have another trip to add to my bucket list.

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