A Little More Gore – Silverthorne & East Thorn

Approaching the saddle between “Zodiac View” (12,505′) and “Mount Silverthorne” (13,357′) on a fine Saturday morning in the Gore Range.

Peaks: “Zodiac View” (12,505′), “Mount Silverthorne” – a.k.a Willow Benchmark (13,357′), “East Thorn” (13,333′)
Date: July 18, 2015
Trailhead: Gore Creek
Distance: ~ 15 miles
Elevation Gain: ~ 6,000 ft.
Participants: Chris Cronick, Dillon Sarnelli (guest appearance by Kristine Chalk and Kona)

This summer’s been a little different than year’s past for me. No real agenda. Hitting the big Park when I can, checking off a Centennial or two when it feels right, even carrying a rope on occasion and adding to the itinerary a top secret cabin in the San Juans when possible.

And so as summer would have it, last week I found myself planning a Saturday day trip into the Gore. Chris, fresh off a multi-day outing into the Wind River Range up in Wyo, would be taking his 1st steps into the Eagles Nest. I wanted to make it good, but also needed to keep it to a day trip, easier said than done in the land of the Gore. Oh and the dude hails from Alaska so I had my work cut out for me.

Route Overview.
3:30 AM – Way to early for this nonsense, but Chris wanted a pic to document his first steps into the Gore Range. Do I always look like i just got kicked in the balls at 3 AM?

We made quick work of the very very dark 4 or 5 mile approach in zombie mode along Gore Creek. Eventually, we turned left toward Gore Lake at the Recen brothers’ grave site and then proceeded another mile or so along the good trail. Here we left the trail at a meadow and headed northeast toward “Zodiac View”.

What would a Gore trip be without a minor bushwhack and 6+ mile approach to treeline!?! Throw in a small stream crossing, a few grassy slopes, some talus hopping and we eventually found ourselves atop “Zodiac View”. Silverthorne & company in full view to the north.

“Mount Silverthorne” (L) and “East Thorn” (R) looming high above as we make our way along the ridge.
Gore Lake down below to our left. Holy Cross to the south trying to make the Sawatch look impressive. 🙂
The Zodiac Ridge to the east looking as gnarly as advertised. 13er Red Mountain (R) in the distance. Instagram once again making me look like I know how to take pictures.
I took this shot from Red last fall and figured I’d throw it in here for reference.

Ascending Silverthorne, one can either sidehill by traversing low below the ridge line and eventually ascend the scree gully to the summit plateau, or simply stay ridge proper (Class 3+) and make your way into the gully for the final 20 or so feet. We elected the latter.

Chris, keeping it interesting along the ridge.
Atop the gully, looking back on Red and the Zodiac Ridge. (Photo by Chris)
Summit of Mount Silverthorne (13,357′) – July 18, 2015. All this made possible by those fancy new approach shoes Chris is wearing.
Summit of Mount Silverthorne (13,357′) – July 18, 2015. (Photo by Chris)
Looking northwest into the heart of the Gore from the summit of Mount Silverthorne.

The remainder of the route is quick, but finishes with a bang. At 1st glimpse East Thorne looks like a fortress, but as so often happens, relents somewhat as you get a closer look. The final few hundred feet to the summit are class 3/4 with a sweet class 4+ exposed move or 2 around a protruding boulder just below the true summit.

“East Thorn”, a short jaunt (1/2 mile), taunting us from the other side of the summit plateau.
“East Thorn” – Approximate Route Overview.
Chris scrambling his way up East Thorn. Mount Silverthorne can be seen across the multiple football field sized plateau.
Taken from the summit of East Thorn. Chris taking the final few moves like a champ en route.
For reference, taken on the descent from the summit of East Thorn. A good look back at East Thorn’s “homestretch”.
Summit of “East Thorn” (13,333′) – July 18, 2015. Wind speed – Negative zero.
Red and Willow Lakes from the summit of East Thorn.
The road back to the Gore Creek Trail. On the descent we bypassed Zodiac View and eventually made our way back to the trail that leads to Gore Lake.

Somewhere along the descent Chris said something like the Gore is the closest thing he’s seen to Alaska since he’s been here in Colorado. Mission Accomplished. Did I mention that his 1st CO 14er was North Eolus (who does that?) and his second was Princeton. Number 3 – TBD.

Every Gore trip should end with a Kristine Chalk and Kona sighting!

Back at the car we called Brando and rendezvoused at Marko’s Pizza in Avon. Pizza, beer, and all the Chalks, including baby Sawyer, fresh off her 1st 14er on Democrat the day before! If you know the Chalks, the Gore is their backyard, and it just seemed right to be finishing the day sharing the days adventure with all of them, beer and bread sticks in hand!

Thanks for the beta on this one Zambo.

And thanks for reading all!

6 thoughts on “A Little More Gore – Silverthorne & East Thorn

  1. Yeah, Dillon! Great TR, man. Just awesome pics and a wonderful outing for you guys. And, lucky you – a Kristine & Kona sighting! If there is 3 things I love its Kristine, Kona, & the Gore! Oh yeah, of course Rainie and Sawyer as well. Cheers, bud.


    1. Brando! haha – Kristine, Kona, Sawyer, the Gore, so many of your favorite things in this one! Great day out there and really glad we got to hang at Markos! Enjoy the Cap buddy! I think Sawyers ready for the Elks too 🙂


  2. Dilly – I am 2 weeks late to reading this TR, but good stuff as always! I love the Gore labeling. And the beta shout out. And Brandon’s list of loves in his life. Solid effort on a great day. PS: Do you ever work anymore?!?!?


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