Backpacking in the Gore – Mount Valhalla & Grand Traverse Peak

(Last Updated On: August 9, 2015)

After climbing Snow Peak, the weather was looking great and the day was still young. Valhalla was next on the list for Natalia and I, and was looking promising.

Mount Valhalla, our next goal.
Mount Valhalla seen from Snow Peak in the Gore Range.

Based on previous reports we’d encountered, it sounded like the ridge between Snow Peak and Valhalla was a bit treacherous and that most people connected the two by heading back down and following along a bench. So, back to talus city we went.
Traversing between Snow Peak and Mount Valhalla

Traversing between Snow Peak and Mount Valhalla

As we rounded out after some cliff bands, we gazed upon our route up Mount Valhalla…. or at least part of the route. Lots of talus, then some pretty steep grass!
Ascent route on Mount Valhalla.

After the talus, we headed for the grass.
Climing Mount Valhalla in the Gore Range.

Climbing Mount Valhalla.

Climbing Mount Valhalla.

We spotted a mountain goat on the ridge across the way, between Palomino Point and Grand Traverse.
Mountain Goat in the Gore Range.

We exited the front side via this saddle, and wrapped around the back.
Mount Valhalla saddle.

Climbing Mount Valhalla in the Gore Range.

Climbing Mount Valhalla in the Gore Range

You could make the climb pretty hard if you wanted.
Climbing Mount Valhalla in the Gore Range.

More talus, but almost there!
Climbing Mount Valhalla in the Gore Range.

Gazing back at Snow Peak.
Snow Peak from Mount Valhalla

Natalia approaching the summit.
Climbing Mount Valhalla in the Gore Range.

On the summit of Valhalla!
summit of Mount Valhalla

Grand Traverse Peak seen from the summit of Mount Valhalla.
Grand Traverse Peak.

From the summit, we could see this lake to the northeast.
Looking to the NE of Mount Valhalla.

And this cool ridge. The Gore is full of cool ridges.
Ridge near Mount Valhalla.

Gazing upon the Gore Range to the northwest.
Gore Range.

Next up, Natalia had it in her mind to tag the unranked Palomino Point. So, we made our way down the NW ridge of Mount Valhalla.
Climbing down Valhalla

Palomino Point is rather aesthetic looking. Can you find Natalia climbing?
Climbing Palomino Point in the Gore Range.

I didn’t join Natalia on this little summit push. Frankly, I loathed the idea of downclimbing from it. I was reminded why I really enjoy climbing peaks in winter. Skis are much more fun. While Natalia climbed, I bonded with a pika.
Pika

Natalia on top of Palomino Point!
Natalia Moran on the summit of Palomino Point

Then we needed to make a choice. Would we go for Grand Traverse Peak too?
Grand Traverse Peak

Grand Traverse seen from Snow Peak….
Grand Traverse Peak

Grand Traverse Peak was the easiest one of the group, and I had it in mind to get it done rather than save it for the next morning before we packed out. The weather had been excellent, but the bugs had been voracious. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to sitting still at camp while bugs ate me for dinner. I’d rather keep moving, keep climbing, keep warding off the bugs….

So, that’s what we did. The next question was, how do we get there?
Downclimbing from Valhalla

We tried following the ridge for a bit, but it looked pretty burly.
Ridge between Mount Valhalla and Grand Traverse

We then descended down REALLY steep grass to avoid this part of the ridge, and the cliffs that were on either side of it.
Descending from Mount Valhalla

I mean, like REALLY steep grass.
Descending from Mount Valhalla

But the flowers sure were nice.
Paintbrush

We descended almost all the way back to Deluge Lake until we reached snow, upon which I promptly fell down on after trying to ski in shoes.
Snow

And then we began climbing up another grassy slope toward Grand Traverse Peak.
Natalia Moran climbing Grand Traverse Peak.

A look at the ridge which we were originally trying to follow to get to Grand Traverse Peak.
Ridge between Mount Valhalla and Grand Traverse Peak.

There was lots of talus on this peak too.
Climbing Grand Traverse Peak

But, climbing Grand Traverse Peak was pretty straightforward and easy.
Climbing Grand Traverse Peak.

Natalia on the summit.
Natalia Moran on the summit of Grand Traverse Peak.

And me.
Brittany Konsella on the summit of Grand Traverse Peak.

And the “traverse” of the Grand Traverse Peak.
The Traverse on Grand Traverse Peak.

Natalia signing a very make-shift register.
Register of Grand Traverse Peak.

Deluge Lake and Snow Peak from the Grand Traverse summit.
Snow Peak and Deluge Lake.

Admittedly, I wasn’t looking forward to the third downhill of the day. Skiing peaks makes so much more sense. But, we had to get outta there somehow. So, walk we did.
Descending Grand Traverse Peak.

Wait, there IS snow! Why didn’t I bring my skis again? 😉
Snow in the Gore Range.

We paused to enjoy the beautiful views from the lake, whose beauty was somewhat interrupted by insects.
Deluge Lake and Snow Peak.

And we kept on descending, stopping for a short detour past this interesting little cabin.
Cabin near Deluge Lake.

We got back to camp just in time to enjoy a few minutes of sun before it set behind the ridge. Then, we lit a fire to keep warm and to ward off the meat-munchers.
Campfire in Gore Range

The next morning, we got a leisurely start, enjoyed plenty of coffee at camp, and waited for the sun to peek over the ridge to warm us up before packing up camp and descending the Deluge Lake Trail back to the trailhead. But, it was a wonderful backpacking trip in the Gore Range. We were surrounded by absolutely beautiful terrain and fun peaks too! Thanks to Natalia for fitting time in for a backpacking trip in the middle of a move!

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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Summary
Backpacking in the Gore – Mount Valhalla & Grand Traverse Peak
Article Name
Backpacking in the Gore – Mount Valhalla & Grand Traverse Peak
Description
Clustered around Deluge Lake, Grand Traverse Peak, Mount Valhalla, & Snow Peak are great summits for peak-bagging in the Gore Range!
Author

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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