Peak(s):  "Peak L"  -  13,213 feet
"Peak N"  -  13,121 feet
Guyselman Mountain  -  13,140 feet
"Gore Thumb"  -  13,100 feet
Peak O - 12920
Date Posted:  08/13/2013
Modified:  08/15/2013
Date Climbed:   08/10/2013
Author:  Monster5
Additional Members:   KMurph147, Furthermore
 Taming of the Wolf, Gore Range   

Peaks L, N, O ("Little Powell"), Guyselman, and Gore Thumb
August 10, 2013

Gore Thumb Ridge Traverse (non-technical version)
16.5 mi, ~6K' gain
Class 4 minimum, 12.5 hrs.
TH: Brush Creek
Resources: Kane's Summitpost page; Floyd's and rpb13's TRs, and Kramarsic's Mountaineering in the Gore Range and personal communication
Partners: Keegan Murphy, Derek "Call me the Wolfman" Wolfe
*Besides the beta, nothing written in this report is true

I need a new camera. Derek's "too busy" to submit his photos, which is odd, considering his current work arrangements. Whatever.

Yes, the secret is out. The Gore Range is a scrambler's paradise. Fifth class ridges, third to fourth class bypasses. Stunning scenery. Fun for everyone. Keegan and I are enchanted and decide it's time to explore the more remote side. Only, we're young, impatient, and lack the requisite appreciation for long approaches with cumbersome packs, however scenic Upper Slate might be.

We piece together the beta, do our research, and throw together our maps. A whole lot of work and we haven't even begun the hike.

At this point, an elder acquaintance decides he'd like to join. Since he's wrapping up the 13ers, a fact he constantly reminds us of, we could hardly refuse to let him tag along, despite knowing it'll make the day a bit longer and increase the mental burden on ourselves. But that's okay; we don't mind slowing down and guiding friends occasionally.

Little did we know this would turn out to be "The Wolfman's" Kryptonite.

3AM finds us driving up the 2.5 mile 4wd road to Brush Creek. Keegan's driving since Derek just washed his car and didn't want to get it dirty. No problem. A bit of clearance and muscle required; the ruts during the first half mile are quite deep.

We follow the Brush Creek Trail 0.6 miles to the Gore Range Trail, hook a left and follow it for 1.0 miles, where we take a right up the signed Lost Lake Trail for an additional 1.5 miles.

The approach isn't so bad as the usual takes place - discussions of peaks, routes, and wishlists. Enthusiastic plans are laid out by Keegan and Derek supports him from the rear with the occasional comment along the lines of "I've done that," "my way was better," and "that route was too easy for me."

Keegan and I exchange glances. "Okay, dude." Luckily, we're able to pick up the pace and the armchair chatter fades away to heavy breathing far behind us.

Eventually, Iron Wolf (his other self-given nickname) catches up to us at the stream crossing prior to the lake and we commence the 2 mile bushwack alongside the creek until we're due east of Peak N's East Ridge, where we contour up and into the basin NE of Guyselman.

"Bushwack" is a rather appropriate term here. Keegan and I do a fantastic job leading the way and clearing out the plethora of undergrowth for our venerable, accomplished companion. Still, it takes us about 4.5 hrs to reach the obvious north-facing weakness in Guyselman's East Ridge, most of that time consisting of waiting for somebody to finish eating and using the little men's room.

We skirt around Guyselman's summit (class 2) and gain our first look of the connecting ridge to L.

Classic Gore style. If you can't climb it directly, bypass it to the west. The 0.6 mile traverse consists of five towers. Proper, Guyselman>L consists of 4-6 rappels up to 60 ft. L>Guyselman might reach moderate-hard 5th in a spot or two. Sans technical climbing, traversing Guyselman to L is a bit harder as the cliffs are hidden. Peak L to Guyselman is considerably easier (class 3, using reasonable bypasses; maximum drop of perhaps 80 ft).

From Guyselman's shoulder, bypass the first tower right via a blocky ledge (one could drop an additional 30 ft).

The second mini tower (2.A) is directly climbable. This skirts the higher tower offset from the ridge. Derek decided to bypass this one low. What. An. Idiot. Luckily, Keegan was around to reach out a hand and haul him up the loose slope.

For his help, Derek conferred the honorable title of "Jumping Wolf" onto Keegan and welcomed him into "(his) Wolf Pack." This is followed by a long, high-pitched howl. Disbelieving the events taking place before my eyes, I continue onward.

Mini Tower 2B is directly climbable; however, it leads to an aesthetic broken slab followed by a 45 ft cliff. So I guess it isn't that climbable. We drop down the broken slab until we can bypass it to the west via the characteristic blocky ledges (route-finding crux - class 3). Sick of rocks raining down on us, we offer Derek the lead, which he accepts since he "expected it."

After the bypass, the route eased, so Derek generously allowed us to take the lead up the stately looking Gore Thumb (tower 3). Despite the imposing appearance, Gore Thumb's NE ridge goes at third class with a single 4th class move near the summit.

Easier than it looks

Derek needed to use webbing here

Keegan nearing the top

Keegan giving Derek a piece of his mind on Gore Thumb's summit. Awkward

Were one inclined to carry a rope, they could do an exposed 4th class scramble and rappel off the Thumb (maybe 60 ft?). For the ropeless, descend the NE ridge 50 ft and bypass to the west via class 3 ledges.

Looking towards L

Descending the ascent route

Cool chimney at the reasonable bypass

The 4th and 5th towers are closely spaced. The 4th would require a rappel off the south side and the 5th is climbable. Both can be bypassed without losing elevation from the Gore Thumb ledges.

The route eases at the saddle below Peak L. Here, Derek decided to lead the way as it was "his right" to summit first, considering his 9 remaining 13ers.
We explore options up L, including a brief 5.4 handcrack (Derek says 5.9) and a few scrambly blocks. We miss out on the classic L summit pitch, but the views are worth a return someday.

His Rightful place

Traverse behind us

"Wolf Pack Awwooooooo." Thank goodness nobody was around to hear that.

Traverse over to K (too easy, apparently)

Gore Thumb to N

Keegan enjoying himself after Derek took off

We retrace the traverse over to Guyselman. Route-finding is much easier from this direction.

The closest I've ever been to Upper Slate

Towers 2, large offset tower, 1, and Guyselman

Traverse from Guyselman

The summit of Guyselman is quite nice. A daunting face drops below our feet. Derek insists we take pictures of him (surprised he didn't bring his high heels and dress), and we drop down the SW gully 100 ft in order to bypass the face to the west.

The Iron Wolf


Keegan descending the SW gully

Peak N from Guyselman (class 3 min. near Guyselman; class 2 near N)

The bypass spits one out on the ridge. Oddly enough, the feasible routes over to N are to the east.

Guyselman's NE face. The bypass splits the notch.

At this point, the Wolf is snared. A mental and physical trap. We ascend slowly. Normally, he's faster than this, but a 12 hr rest the night before and a full breakfast leave him exhausted and vocally tired. Due to the incessant whining, Keegan and I flank him to ensure he doesn't hurt himself, coaxing him up the mountain.

You can do it, big guy!

You've got this!

It takes team work to make a dream work!

Peak C and Powell

Keegan, Guyselman and L

Clouds are building but none of them are heavy or dangerous. We aren't too worried. The traverse over to O holds a few surprisingly fun sections (one or two moves of 4th). Usual fare - bypass the intial N>O difficulties left/west via a descending traverse around to the next saddles.

Arguably, the day's crux in the background

Peak O

Keegan finishing O

SpeCial interest

We wait for Derek to recoup on O's enjoyable summit prior to descending. Our options include a never-ending (exaggeration) talus hop directly along the NNE ridge to Lost Lake, or a partially never-ending talus hop down to 12400 before hopping/bushwacking east to our ascent route/creek and following that north to the Lake. Derek opts for the latter. Due to the never-ending bushwack, I'd probably choose the former were I to repeat the route.

Upon reaching the lake, we enjoy a nice trail back to the car. Not too shabby, minus the occasional stops to let the old wolf's knee issues work themselves out.

All in all, a great day with a fantastic partner, Keegan, and I look forward to future routes with a solid partner. It's always nice to have at least one humble dude in the party.


Comments or Questions
08/14/2013 04:57
If anything happens to Keegan on these adventures I am holding both of you personally responsible. I'm not messing around. I don't care if you guys are connected to ”Hollywood Abe”. I'm not messing around when it comes to ”The Kid”.

Good to see that despite the forecasts, pieces of the pie were had all around. I thought the talus descent off O really blew but intestinal fortitude is not one of my strengths.

I hope wolfie enjoys his finish. You only get to finish once and these are special times for him.

Thanks for the report, Monster, I look forward to the next one.

08/14/2013 12:58
Looks like a good trip, thanks for the great beta on Gore Thumb.

08/14/2013 13:18
PS I eat real food on mountain trips! Nice report Ryan.

no respect
08/14/2013 14:07
I can't believe the dissing you gave to your elder

so much for the Alpha male of the pack too, I guess

luckily I wasn't there as you know how I can leave you guys in the dust or is it rocks

Awesome stuff, Ryan
08/14/2013 14:17
Way to execute a sweet ridge run in a spectacular setting! Congrats to you guys.

08/14/2013 16:41
Ryan, I've had my eyes on that traverse for a while and you guys made it look pedestrian. It seems that there is no easy way off of O. That slope sucks.

Where would Furthermore be without partners like you hauling him up these things?

Excellent report!

08/14/2013 19:13
Love the pictures and the trip but...... weird.

08/14/2013 19:44
trip report! Lots of cute pictures and stuff, though you failed to capture the surrounding flora (as usual). Thanks for all the useful info, since I still need to climb these peaks. Not sure what you have against Slate Lakes though (or Keegan for that matter)!

08/14/2013 20:22
Papi - Apparently, Keegan hasn't let you know his plans for this weekend yet.

Kansas - thanks; we were intrigued by the 5.x rating and 0 checks on LoJ. That didn't jibe with Kramarsic's description, so it was nice to see it in person.

Dilly - chicken? Really? Might as well eat toasted chalk sprinkled with dried cracker dust.

Al - He deserved it. Payback for making me do some silly peak Sunday. We could've used your help coaching him through a section or two.

Brandon - thanks for the comment. Hope we can get out this September.

Floyd's human - Oh, it was a tough day, but the scrambling wasn't too bad. Nice eye. Via the scrambler's 13ers traverse routes, my thoughts on difficulty order are (easy to hard): Solitude trio, Valhalla/Snow, Gore Thumbs, Grand Traverse, Ripsaw, Eagle's Nest/Powell, Partners, and then East Thorn/Silverthorne/Rain. Not sure where Q,X,Z, et al would rank. Fireonthemountain did L>N the day after via Upper Slate and L's standard route, so he might have a different perspective.

Rickinco123 - Inside joke of sorts. I've always wanted to throw Furthermore under a bus. None of this report's descriptions about him are true, by the way.

08/15/2013 05:46
and that's coming from a guy that has been called weird a few times

08/16/2013 14:56
I leave for the woods for a few days and look whats happens....
Perhaps the alpha male needs to keep you on a leash.

Good stuff.

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