Peak Climbed: "Snow Peak"

Peak Height: 13,024'

Route: Southwest Ridge

Difficulty: Class 3

Location: Gore Range, Colorado

Trailhead: Gore Creek / Deluge Lake (winter closure)

Mileage & Gain: 10.2 mi & 4,700 ft

Date Climbed: March 17, 2018

"Snow Peak" is an unofficially named low thirteener in Colorado's largely ignored Gore Range. Home to no summits over the magic 14,000 foot mark, the Gores receive little attention despite having a lot of character and generally good rock.

The easiest and most traveled route up obscure "Snow Peak" is the 2nd class north ridge, but sportier options exist. Back in April 2007 Dwight & I found the 3rd class southwest ridge to be a fun outing under a stable spring snowpack. Given the current green light from the CAIC a winter ascent of this same route seemed like a sweet way to finish off the season.

This time around I found dryer conditions than we'd had the first time, though snow certainly still complicated the route significantly. Kramarsic rates this ridge 3rd class, but with snow be prepared for a little fourth or even low 5th class scrambling.

About 100 yards short of the summit I set off a small avalanche while doing a hand traverse on solid rock near the ridge crest, feet on the snow slope below. The crown was maybe twenty feet below me, and the avalanche ran for several hundred feet before coming to a stop. I sensed some minor settling while I was mid traverse, but didn't realize what had happened or see the avalanche for a bit. Despite being in a safe position I was quite spooked. Given the green light avy report I'd let my guard down, and I shouldn't have.

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