(Last Updated On: September 2, 2015)
When Natalia and I finished our last ski of the season together on Mount Champion, we decided that we weren’t really done having fun together in the mountains. Thus, a backpacking trip was born. We originally settled on the Sangres, but then Natalia had to move from Denver to Montrose – and was literally sticking a backpacking trip in the middle of a move. To accommodate her move and crazy endeavor to put a backpacking trip within it, we changed our trip to the Gore Range.
Our intention was to hike the Deluge Lake trail, find a place to camp at the lake or a little lower, and then bang out the peaks (Snow Peak, Valhalla, and Grand Traverse) that surrounded the basin over the next day or two. In an otherwise very wet summer, the forecast looked exceptionally promising, and it looked like we might actually be able to pull it off – move and all.
Natalia showed up to the trailhead in this rig.
I turned away and said, “I don’t know her.” 😉 But, I couldn’t ignore her for long. After she sifted through all of her stuff and gathered all of her backpacking gear, Natalia and I were off, climbing the rather steep trail to Deluge Lake.
Admittedly, the hike through the forest was nice, but not super scenic. And the sounds of I-70 lingered for quite some time. But, the wildflowers were nice.
Eventually, we rounded up to a shelf and I-70 noises faded, making us actually feel like we were in the Wilderness. Then, we finally came to an overlook, and “tadah!” Beautiful.
We could see the peaks we were aiming for ahead.
Natalia with the southern face of Grand Traverse Peak.
As we climbed higher, we realized that Deluge Lake lay on a bench above us, and was basically at treeline. We opted to camp a bit lower, in case we needed the shelter of trees, but still near Deluge Creek. Couldn’t ask for a more beautiful location!
Snow Peak put on quite a show for us to enjoy during sunset and twilight.
The next morning, we woke with the sun, and scurried off to see what peaks the conditions for the day would allow us to climb. We started with Snow Peak. Lots of talus on the way.
Natalia taking a break on the talus / scree slope.
As we ascended, we could see the valley from which we came just the day before, a few thousand feet lower down.
Holy Cross and other Sawatch peaks in the distance.
The summit of Snow Peak loomed over our heads.
On the saddle, we took a break, getting ready for the headwall that lay ahead. Me with Snow Peak.
The views of the Gore Range from the saddle were spectacular.
Snow Lake lingered in the basin to the east.
Closer view of the summit of Snow Peak.
Climbing it was sporty at times. Natalia
These flowers tamed the tough places.
Still climbing. Natalia.
Nearing the summit. Me.
The views on the summit of Snow Peak were grand!
Demming and West Demming in the distance, Gore Lake below.
Selfie on the summit!
Looking across toward Grand Traverse Peak – a hopeful goal for later in the day or the next, with Deluge Lake below.
After lingering on the summit, it was time to head onward toward our next goal, Mount Valhalla. Here, Natalia descends with Valhalla in the background.
Check back next week for a report on climbing Mount Valhalla and Grand Traverse Peak!
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