Last week Super Dave sent out an open invitation to join him as he climbed his last two White Cloud 10K peaks. I couldn’t make it for Friday’s climb, but was a bit interested in joining him for the Saturday adventure. After a bit of his convincing, I finally agreed to join him for his last White Cloud peak. I’m always up for an adventure and rather than climbing a single peak, Dave proposed a four peak day.
I jumped out of bed when the alarm sounded at 2:30AM, and after a 3 hour drive, we met up at Smiley Creek Lodge for the 40 minute drive to the trailhead.
We were cruising up the excellent Galena Gulch trail a little after 7AM with headlights blazing. And I do mean cruising, as we covered this initial 4 miles and 1400 feet in an hour and a half. We took a quick break where the trail turned south as our peak, “Simpson Peak” or Peak 10,378, was to the north.
The views of the Boulder Mountains, as well as Simpson Peak, were spectacular in the early morning fall sunshine. As we made our way north, we walked around a small tarn in a meadow before starting up the side of Simpson Peak. Before we knew it, we were on top of our first peak for the day. From this summit we had an outstanding view of Castle Peak as well as our next objective – “Anonymous Peak”.
Knowing that we were in for a long day, we didn’t linger on the top for too long. The route to peak #2 was across a ridge with a large gendarme. Having walked this ridge before, Dave knew that the left side would go, so we stayed left. After tiptoeing our way around the gendarme, it was just a straightforward walk up to the summit of Peak 10,356 (Anonymous Peak).
The summit of Anonymous Peak provided a great view of our third peak for the day – Alta Peak or Peak 10,660 (The topo shows this as Peak 10,621 but List of John says 10,660). With its rocky ridge, this peak looked like it would be a lot of fun. We stayed on the ridge crest as much as possible and enjoyed a fun class three scramble to the summit.
At this point, Dave’s main goal was in sight; his final peak needed to finish off all the White Cloud peaks over 10,000 feet – Peak 10,340. It, too, looked like it would be a fun climb.
But first we had to get down off Alta Peak. The down climb provided a bit of route finding mixed in with a couple class 4ish moves on some semi-solid rock. Spicy!
Once off Alta Peak, we moved quickly across the ridge toward our last objective. I took a short break, while Dave moved off to finish up some paper work. He seemed to have been doing a considerable amount of paper work during the day…
Up close, Peak 10,340 looked like a mass of loose boulders just waiting for a strong wind to blow it down. It appeared that the best route to the top was straight up a rib that was between two chutes filled with loose rubble. With Dave leading, we carefully picked our way up this rib to the summit. Just before I topped out, I heard a loud, “WooHoo!” signifying Dave had completed his goal.
|Finishing off Peak 10,340 - D. Pahlas photo|
Unlike the other peaks we had been on today, this one did not have a summit register. Unfortunately, we did not come prepared to place a register. Luckily, I had a toilet paper cardboard tube in my pack. Not the most elegant, but it would have to do. Dave named the peak, “Grand Finale Peak,” in honor of it being his last White Cloud 10K peak. After writing all the pertinent information on the cardboard tube, Dave placed the summit register, and we then picked our way down the rubble on the backside of the peak.
|4 Summit Splattskis|
Two hours later we arrived back at the vehicle, tired but satisfied with our efforts for the day.
Another great adventure with Dave!
Distance: ~13 miles
Elevation Gained: ~4500 feet
Time: 10 hours car to car