Peak(s):  "North Traverse Peak"  -  13,079 feet
"Grand Traverse Peak"  -  13,041 feet
"13,055" - 13055
"12,860" - 12860
Date Posted:  08/18/2014
Date Climbed:   08/17/2014
Author:  goingup
Additional Members:   FireOnTheMountain
 "The Grand Traverse"   

I think I did the Grand Traverse in the fabulous Gore range but if it is in quotations we must ask ourselves....did it really happen?

With twenty-four hours left until my life is officially over I decided to end a very enjoyable mountain climbing summer in the Gores. It is time I trade in my trail runners for school books in subjects like Organic Chemisty and Microbiology or I can start failing classes and continue to climb peaks at a rate disproportional to sanity, the jury is still out. Either way Abe and I found ourselves at the Bighorn trailhead Saturday night mourning the impending loss of my freedom.

Entrance to the Gores, you must chant the secret code for it to appear.

We had an ambitious plan (that did not pan out) so we decided on a 5 a.m. start time that was clearly destined for 5:20. Normally, morning miles melt away into nothing more than an after thought but not this morning, oh no, not this morning. It was a ruff go from the start for me. A very upset stomach slowed me down tremendously and even though my body screamed, "turn around," with a high suffer score I persevered to finish the day and summer off right. Luckily Abe is a good dude and was patient with my off day.

15 miles
6,500 feet of gain
10 hours 40 minutes

We will call this portrait, feeling like garbage in the dark.

First light.

Bighorn Basin

I started to believe we would never get to the cabin.

But we did....

We then took a trail to the left that ended abruptly in a meadow where a short lived and only slightly irritating bushwhack took place through a beautifully magical landscape.

Get ready to fight.

And see waterfalls.

Mount of the Holy Cross

I have this special skill, I can read Abe's mind and it is normally saying, "let's go that way, it looks the gnarliest." When we were in the basin I could see his gears shifting towards climbing directly up the west to northwest face of North Traverse Peak. I shouted out, "NO." After we bitch slapped each other around for a while we compromised on going for the 12,860 foot peak that did not stand before us.


There was scrambling on solid rock, not so solid rock, a huge inset I don't even know if you can call it a couloir, steep grass, steep dirt, steep everything, surprise's the Gores!

Start of the scramble.



North Traverse and Climbers Point
I'm a great photographer.


Climbers Point

Play a game...find an Abe...

We popped out into the sunshine only to find we were several hundred feet below 12,860 and decided to climb a small hump to our left which provided enticing views before heading to proudly grab our 12er (one of my hardest earned summits).

Not 12,860



North Traverse. The connecting saddle leads to 12,860, clearly we are not on it.

13,055 and 12,860 to my right (that's where we are headed)

It was a little scramble up to the summit of the real 12,860 and from there we spotted something in the far off distance. What could it be? A no name unranked 13er, we must go there, plus the ridge looked interesting and scrambling helps to take the mind off of an upset stomach.


A terrain sample.



There was a knife edge.

Abe showing off.

Me trying to live.

The summit of 13,055 was worth it as I gazed into the bowels of the Gore range.




Where we are headed.


We carefully picked our way back across the ridge towards the saddle of 12,860 and North Traverse Peak, it certainly was not trivial. Ridge proper led us 700+ feet to the summit of North Traverse, also not trivial but an easier part of the day.

On to North Traverse



Looking back at 12,860 and 13,055, (Keller far right)


On the summit of North Traverse Abe saw that I was doing good, keeping it together with the exposure and climbing and all (sometimes I get nervous), so he decided to grow overly concerned about the weather and scare me. Really though, his concern was justified, there were rapidly building storm clouds to the west and we were about to begin the committing Grand Traverse. The good news, the skies were blue behind the questionable clouds so we continued on. In the confusion and rush off the North Traverse summit I stepped on my water hose leaking out 1 full liter, good thing I barely drink any.


Nervous smile.

And then it was time.....

The Grand Traverse, a Colorado classic.

And one more time for good measure...


We started off the ridge with a fire in our asses, well I had one in mine because the thought of climbing in a lightning storm was rather unappealing. Abe was behind me and seemed distracted. There was a deafeningly loud noise. My father used to take my brother and I to air shows so the only comparable noise I can think of would be that of a fighter jet plane. Abe said, "What are we on Rainier?" Nothing registered until I turned around and there was a giant plumb of smoke. There was a huge rock slide across the basin on the northwest face of some random 12ers. It was incredibly erie and sobering. And there was not just one, this went on all day.

Start of the traverse.

What's that?

Rock Slide!

If the video is weird click on it and it should become normal.

After gawking for a bit we decided it was time to deal with the traverse.

Staying ridge proper worked 85% of the time which is why this traverse is so much fun! I would say we climbed everything from class 3 to low five but mostly 4.

The crux is the second bump in the ridge and is very obvious.

We took this route...

For a shorter human it requires a big first move with a lack of foot holds.

The down climb on the other side was far more serious. We cliffed-out proper so descended slightly right. Oddly enough I am much more confident and comfortable down climbing.

Looking back

The next bump came and we went through a small crack.

Abe approaching the crack.

Through the crack.

It was time to descend to low point.

Grand Traverse Peak dead ahead.

The low point is in a deep gash that must be crossed. With careful route finding it can be kept at class 3/4.

Approaching the gash.

The view was nice.

With Grand Traverse Peak in our sights all we had left to do was find a way up it. The most direct route planted some doubt in Abe's mind, the top part was very steep slabs. If Abe has even a shadow of doubt it's time to find another way, so we wrapped around the right side and found a grass/rock gully that re-gained ridge proper.

For the whole traverse if we could not stay proper we used the right side to work out impassable sections. From the ridge below the summit we chose to go left-ish. There was a higher class 4 route or a mid-fifth class route. I put in a valiant effort and tried the mid class 5 but in the end could not commit to the final two moves (it was over hung). Abe executed the necessary moves and told me he was proud that I tried because it certainly was not easy.

On the summit Abe proposed heading south to 12,485 on the same ridge and potentially dropping back down into Bighorn Basin but having had enough excitement for one day and Deluge Lake looking all beautiful and what not I vetoed so we stayed an extra long time on the summit and took it all in. The Gore range is INCREDIBLE.

Abe loves summit registers and becomes visibly upset if there isn't one, luckily there is on Grand Traverse Peak and it unleashed the awesome super-power that is madmike. When Abe and I climbed Wilson Peak this past winter we crossed paths with Mike who was going for the Wilson/Diente traverse. He is a great guy and him and Abe have since teamed up to be super awesome together. Well....Mike signed the register on 8/14 as having done the Gore Traverse. What is that you ask? Oh just running out ten peaks in between Frisco and Vail. Apparently he was rained on, a lot. Respect Mike, I don't think I saw a mellow ridge line all day.

And the summit shenanigans continued...

Sexy range...

We descended out the ridge to the saddle between Grand Traverse and Palomino Point. The alternative was a never ending field of talus. Our choice allowed for a brief stint of 60 degree grass as we headed for Deluge Lake. At one point Abe looked at me and said, "I think I am cruxing out here," as there was vertical grass everywhere. With hard concentration and endless jokes we did connect with Deluge Lake trail for the long haul back to my car. Deluge Lake basin was most definitely worth a visit.

That looks fun.

Deluge Lake and Snow Peak

Route down.

The Deluge Lake trail was longer and more annoying than the Bighorn trail and the two trailheads were 1.6 miles apart (on road, yay (sarcasm)!). We ran out until the death down hill slope of loose dry dirt began and I grew incredibly dramatic. I was also starving. I never eat much besides gels and baby food whilst in the mountains but I was eating all of my back-up granola bars and remaining super dramatic. My legs each felt like 90 pound weights and I was internally and outwardly cranky so Abe bored me to death with bridge lingo which eventually took my mind off running on pavement. Against all odds we made it back to my car making for another successful day.

Goodbye Gores.

The Gore range is officially my favorite. I have teetered between the San Juans but the Gores are special, they are remote, rugged, beautiful, devoid of people, and you have to work hard for their summits. The recipe for a good love affair. The summer is over for me and it has been one for the records!

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~~Henry James

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 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Comments or Questions
Phenomenally tremendous
08/18/2014 21:08
report! Thanks for a great read.

Congrats, guys!
08/18/2014 21:11
Glad to hear the Gores are your favorite! Great ridge run. That's a spectacular area.

08/18/2014 21:35
But you really need to find a way to incorporate more pictures.

Gores are Special
08/19/2014 00:38
This is an awesome trip report. Perhaps I am slightly biased because the Gores are one of my favorite ranges in the world due to their beauty, ruggedness, and lack of people.
P.S. Some people don't always get your humor in your forum posts, but I do.

Awesome route
08/19/2014 00:47
If I had a Rockies shirt I'd be looking for every excuse to take it off too...

08/19/2014 01:30
Great work up there! Keep 'em coming!

this trip report
08/19/2014 15:36

Nice Work!
08/19/2014 18:07
Love that traverse. You're not alone in going back and forth between the Gores and San Juans as your two favorite ranges .

face still hurts from the bitch slapping
08/19/2014 21:20
fun day yo! 3rd time at Deluge is my fav now

08/19/2014 22:54
Quite! The gores are nothing more than tall mole hills overpopulated with fat ugly people!

08/20/2014 02:37
@screeman57 Thank you, glad you enjoyed!

@jbchalk Love all your reports on the Gores!

@CarpeDM Yes, just go read my Chicago Basin TR.

@SoCool Only a choice few get my sense of humor. The basis of it is, don't take anything too seriously or you'll become a rigid miserable person.

@Turboprop LOL LOL you win best comment!


@benners It is a tuff choice but Gores are closer so I think they win.

Abe You're the best partner, thanks for dealing with my sub par health on this day.

@mtnfiend We could yell from all the Gore summits how amazing the Gores are and still no one would 14ers and low 13ers/high one cares.

so true
08/20/2014 02:50
and the long/steep approaches help keep the traffic down as well - gotta love it!

08/20/2014 03:25

Shawnee Bob
08/20/2014 04:55
Well done! This looks like it was a fun one.

Dad Mike
So close
08/21/2014 16:43
to another encounter with the fabulous duo. Would have been cool to run into you two again. Thanks for the shout out. How beautiful is Deluge Lake?

   Not registered?

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2023®, 14ers Inc.