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Where Solitude Rules – Wilderness Hideaways

Lose yourself in a private paradise the crowds have overlooked.

Gore Range, Colorado
Trek to a high valley where the peaks have no names.

With long approaches and not a single summit on Colorado’s 100 highest list, the Gore Range is a blank spot on the map for list-keepers and dayhikers. Which makes it ground zero for solitude seekers. Spiky peaks as high as 13,230 feet ring Upper Slate Lake, but only one summit, Guyselman Mountain, is named on USGS topos; the rest carry alphabetical nomenclature bestowed by the Colorado Mountain Club in the 1930s. Start at Brush Creek trailhead and hike 10 miles on the Slate Creek and Gore Range Trails to reach the lake, which is surrounded by Peaks J through T.

Plant basecamp among the trees near the northeast end of the lake, at around 10,850 feet, and scope the routes you’ll tackle over the next couple of days. Peak Q, the dominant summit at the head of the valley, is a challenging Class 4 scramble up the northeast face and east ridge, with snow lingering well into July. Peak L features a knife-edge passage on the southwest ridge. Several summits offer more modest hikes. A traverse of the whole cirque would challenge Himalayan mountaineers. Return the way you came.

Days 4-5
Maps USGS topos Squaw Creek, Willow Lakes, and Vail East
Permits None
Info (970) 468-5400; fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/rangerdistricts/dillon

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