• Date - 11/17/2019
  • Elevation - 11,400'
  • Route - West Gully
  • Miles - 8.0
  • Elevation Gain - 2,200'
  • ACME Mapper - Link
  • CalTopo - Link
  • Partners - Nick Quesnel


Nick's wife was having a baby shower, so he got the green light to go climbing.  We had just recently climbed All Mixed Up and decided to head back into Glacier Gorge and try our luck at the West Gully above Black Lake.  We left the trailhead at 6:45 and with a windy and cold forecast.  We wavered back and forth on conditions but eventually made it to the base of the climb in good time.  Since I had been up the route, I offered the more pleasing pitch 2 to Nick.  As a result, I led pitch 1 up variable ice.  Some of it was brittle and some was soft and mushy.  I belayed Nick on an ice screw anchor.

Nick did a great job leading the crux in some sunshine to keep us warmer and also belayed me on an ice screw anchor.  We moved the belay to the base of the enduro slab, where I thought Nick should take the lead again and enjoy the fun and calf-burning pitch 3 offers.  He used an ice screw anchor again, and I finished the final section of the long pitch and then traversed climber's right to the fixed rappel anchor.

Nick joined me and after we rappelled, we then traversed back over to the top of pitch 2.  We found another fixed anchor and as I lowered the rope I heard climbers below us.  I carefully rappelled past the belayer as the lead climber was well out of harms way.  Unfortunately, I knocked a bit of ice on the belayer and apologized several times before reaching the base of the climb.  Nick followed me and before we knew it we were back at Black Lake gearing down in the sun.

The hike out went quickly and we were able to make it an eight hour car-to-car day.  We stopped off at Coda Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado, for a quick pint before calling it a day and heading home.  


Strong winds on the Continental Divide.Our first look at the West Gully.Nearing the base of the West Gully.James getting ready to head up pitch 1.Nick following pitch 1.Nick leading pitch 2.Nick leading pitch 3.Nick leading pitch 3.Nick at the top of pitch 3 with Spearhead in the background.At the top of the climb.Nick on rappel.Longs PeakA parting shot of the West Gully.A climber in the center of pitch 3.Coda Brewing Company