Total Round Trip Distance & gain-22.8 miles & 4,850-ft
Distance to Upper Slate Lake 9.2 miles and 2,370-ft
Upper Slate Lake to Peak Q--- RT and & gain 5 miles & 2,400-ft
Upper Slate Lake to Peak Q and R---RT 6 miles & 3,400-ft
From the Boulder Creek TH, hike southwest 1.9 miles to the signed Gore Range Trail (39°43.364' N, 106°10.991' W.) Hike the Gore Range Trail north 3.5 miles to the signed Slate Creek Trail (39°45.772' N, 106°11.686' W.) Take the Slate Creek Trail 3.25 miles to Slate Lake or Lower Slate Lake (39°44.713' N, 106°14.592' W.) There is good camping here. From here, the trail becomes steeper, and the last mile to Upper Slate Lake will cover 1000-ft. When you reach the Upper Slate Lake, look for good camping about .2 miles southwest of northeasterly end of the lake (39°44.452' N, 106°15.830'.) I recommend this to be “basecamp” for the next few days.
The trail system above Upper Slate Lake is basically void. The bushwhacking above and beyond the lake is as tough as is gets. There is “tough bushwhacking” and there is “tough Gore Range bushwhacking,” be prepared for the Gore Range kind. It will be dense and likely wet.
There is a faint trail that runs parallel to the banks of Upper Slate Lake but it ends quickly. There is loose talus field, south and above the lake. Climb south up and out of the difficult treed lower ramparts by the lake. Traverse the north slopes of Peak S for 1.5 miles to a place where the north ridge of Peak R terminates in the basin, just south of “South American Lake.” Hike grassy benches into the area below the R & Q saddle.
Locate the saddle between Peak R and Q and ascend the talus slope a half mile & 700-ft. This slope will retain snow well into August. Do not hike all the way to the saddle, instead right before the saddle, leave the slope (12,340-ft) and begin an ascent up the northeast face of Peak Q. From here the route becomes very complex, however the route is somewhat carined.
Ascend and cross the first of two rock ribs that descend from Peak Q’s east ridge. Get into a couloir and do an ascent/traverse to the next rock rib coming from the east ridge. Get into a steeper and more narrow couloir and ascend it to the ridge crest of the east ridge to a small saddle. From here you have a good view of the summit block to the west. There is an east summit and a west summit. From the saddle, you are looking at the east and higher summit of Peak Q.
From the saddle, descend slightly to the north (right side) and traverse the summit block on loose talus, staying as high as possible. Make sure you traverse far enough to find this weakness. Look for a weakness in-between the west and the east summit. This steep and blocky gully will gain the east summit with some tough class 3 climbing.
Descend your ascent route.
Helmet, crampons and axe before mid August.