Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 39.73397°N / 106.31305°W
Additional Information County: Summit
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 12922 ft / 3939 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Peak I

Looking for lots of piece and quietness - Peak I deep in the Gores has plenty of it. Not sure if it would win the title of "Most obscure summit of the Gores Alphabet", but it is sure a very good contender. Unlike the other "Alphabet Peaks" it is neither located on the main spine of the Gores nor is is directly connected to the spine via a ridge. Peak I even likes solitude from its own siblings. It is separated by a wide and deep saddle from the Ripsaw Ridge and stands as a silent guardian high above the valley of a Southern tributary of Black Creek. The valley is so isolated that none of its creeks and lakes seem to have a name. Following Kane's example I will not provide latitude/Longitude for this mountain, nor will I provide a very detailed route description. If you venture that deep into the Gores I assume you will do your own homework anyways.

Getting There/Route

Thunderstorm moving in
Ripsaw from Summit
Summit View Peak I

You could get to Peak I via Upper Slate Creek or bushwhack your way into the Black Creek Draynage from the East - this would be very long and tedious undertakings. The "easiest" option is to start at Piney Lake Trailhead - it will still take you two full days with lots of elevation gain and loss in a remote wilderness area Get off at Exit 176 on I 70 - go west and turn on Redsandstone Rd, which turns into Piney Lake Road. Most of it is dirt road, can be a bumpy ride, but makeable for a normal sedan - just take it slow.Park outside the reserve gate to your right. OPTION 1: via Kneeknocker Pass Walk on the trail along Piney River to the Falls, turn on trail up to Kneeknocker Pass. Cross pass and climb down the snowfield on the east (permanent snowfield) until you are right below the pyramidshaped mountain to your left. Hike up a small valley to your right until you reach Bubble Lake. The aptly named mountain "The Elephant" is rising on the other side of the lake. A small creek is running parallel to the "trunk" of The Elephant - follow the creek until the notch to the right of the main summit - the summit rising on the other side of the valley below the notch is Peak I OPTION 2: via Peak H Walk on the Piney River Trail until you are right below the North Face of the Spider. The mountain to your left is Peak H. Hike up the grassy slopes to the notch right next to Peak H - it offers the only access to the Black Creek Draynage (the ridge connecting Peak H with Peak J is dropping off otherwise more than 300 ft vertically to the Eastern Side). From the notch a steep snowfield is leading down to the valley below Peak I. The most upper part of the snowfield will melt out most the times mid June, which turns it into very steep, rubble filled gully. At the bottom of the snowfield, you will see Peak I to your left. Peak I is rising only 300 - 500 ft from the sourounding valleys - its bomberproof rock provides numerous scrambling routes (Class 3 -5) to the top - easiest access is from its Eastern side.

Mountain Condition /Equipment

Peak J from Peak I
Summit View Peak I

The climb will lead you into one of the most isolated areas of the Gore Range.If something goes wrong, you will have two problems. 1) the area sees probably only a handful of climbers per year - don't count on anyone coming by for several weeks or longer 2) the valleys of the tributaries of Black Creek have no easy exit route - you will have to climb up to the main spine of the Gore Range (12,400 ft and higher) to get out of Black Creek Draynage again - this is bad news if you are injured or if the weather really turns bad (Kneeknocker Pass is the lesser evil should you have to choose). Black Creek Draynage is only accessible from late spring to mid fall - the rest of the year avalanche danger would be a severe threat on a significant portion of the trip. During the summer months the Gore Range is hit by severe thunderstorms every week - get a very early start and be off ridges before noon. Crampons, ice axe, clothes for all weather are a must

Red Tape

Peak C and Mount Powell

You will enter a pristine area - tread lightly and leave no trace - please build no fire rinks in such a wild area. You will hike most of the time in the Eagle's Nest Wilderness Area - please abide to all rules and regulations Eagles Nest Wilderness Regulations


The Black Creek Draynage is all yours when you reach it - you are most likely the only one there. Plenty of space for a camp or a bivouc.