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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Whale Peak | Second Attempt

Updated: May 12, 2023

August 14, 2021

Whale Peak (13,078 feet)

Route: Alltrails

6.5 miles; 2,796 feet elevation gain

3 hours 30 minutes

A quiet weekend at home obviously means a 4am wake up call to go climb a mountain, right? Well, we had no plans and I was really feeling a solo adventure with Nyx. This was my first attempt at a summit on my own (without another person). It was much less intimidating than I imagined and was a very relaxing day!

As I stated in the last blog post about this peak, I would not recommend driving all the way to the trailhead without a 4WD vehicle, maybe even with high clearance, unless you are a very confident off road driver. It is fine until about 1 mile from the trailhead where it gets a little more intense. You could park a little further down and hike a bit extra. I drive a Toyota 4Runner with off roading tires and had no issues. Every car at the trailhead was a 4runner, truck or Jeep; everyone else parked a little further down the road.

The initial two miles of the hike are very straightforward and in the trees. I did the first 2 miles in 50 mins. After the first two miles you emerge from the trees and follow the trail through some thick brush to the beautiful alpine lake, Gibson Lake. From there the remainder of the hike requires route finding with no designated trail. It is relatively straightforward because you can see the peak you are aiming for. It is pretty much straight up for ¾ of a mile from the lake if you take the most direct route. I did this, basically straight up the gully. You could also hike a lesser incline and then walk the ridge to Whale. I think this might be slightly easier but would add more distance. I might try this way if I went back again. No questionable clouds today thankfully it was clear blue skies. It took me an hour to do the climb from the lake - it is unrelenting and so steep. I was the only one on the mountain and spent about 20 minutes hanging out on the summit. It has stunning 360 degree views and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

To descend I walked a little bit of the ridge and cut down where it seemed slightly less steep than the gully. There was a lot of loose rock but nothing dangerous. When I reached the lake I took another break for about 20 minutes to relax while Nyx cooled off in the water! There were a few other groups at the lake by this point doing day hikes just to this point. On my way back to the car I saw quite a few groups coming up to the lake, maybe 10 groups. Not too bad for a Saturday morning but definitely a bit busier than I expected. Everyone had their dogs on leashes except a group that was camping at the lake and letting their dogs run free and bother everyone that arrived, one of them actually followed us for 10 minutes on the way up before they could get it back. I was very glad I didn't have Kane with me at this point. Overall, a fantastic Saturday morning with Nyx and a very successful first summit on my own!!

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