Pettingell Peak, 13,553'

Pettingell Peak and 13,418 from Herman Gulch.  Photo: Rob Writz

Pettingell Peak has one of the best summit views on the Front Range. It is just high and north enough that it provides a massive panorama including Rocky Mountain National Park, the west side of the Indian Peaks, Grays and Torreys, the Ten Mile Range, the Gore Range, and the Flat Tops. Pettingell’s south peak, 13,418, holds the bulk of the routes on this mountain. 13,418 doesn’t meet the standard definition of a separate peak, but when you are high on these mountains it sure feels like its own peak. The Southeast Face route of Pettingell disappears quickly in the spring, but the routes on 13,418 hold snow for much longer.


Shared Approach to Herman Lake

The Southeast Face and the 13,428 Chutes share a common approach to Herman Lake. From the Herman Gulch Trailhead find the start of the trail on the north side of the parking lot. Follow the trail east for a few minutes to a fork where the Watrous Gulch Trail continues east and Herman Gulch goes west. Take the Herman Gulch trail. The trail reaches a flat terrain at 10,750’. If there is enough snow for skinning you can deviate from the trail and follow the line of the creek up the wide and flat valley just under three miles to 11,700’. Climb north 300 vertical feet to Herman Lake. If you are approaching later in the season and the Herman Gulch Trail is dry, follow the trail 3.25 miles to Herman Lake. 

Route 1 - Southeast Face

  • Rating: II D4
  • Season: Spring
  • Exposure: Southeast
  • Vertical: 1,500'
  • Approach Elevations: 10,300' - 13,553'
  • Approach Distance: From Herman Gulch TH: 4 miles

During the winter this face is wind swept and bony, but after a few sticky spring upslope storms it transforms into a moderate ski descent directly from the summit. This face melts out quickly in the spring, and watch out for lurking rocks right under the surface. The sun strikes this face early in the morning so get an early start. A great day can be had by skiing part of this face and then heading over to 13,418.

Climb above a steep bowl on the north side of Herman Lake and then hike or ski on a northwest line trending towards the summit. If there is enough snow and it is stable you can skin to the summit, or head for the saddle between Pettingell and 13,418. From this saddle it is a quick hike to the summit. 

Route 2 - 13,418 Chutes

  • Rating: II D4 - D9
  • Season: Spring
  • Exposure: East, Southeast
  • Vertical: 1,000' - 1,700'
  • Approach Elevations: 10,300' - 13,418' 
  • Approach Distance: From Herman Gulch TH: 4 miles

Peak 13,418 may not be designated a separate peak, but it has some of the best ski lines on this side of Herman Gulch. There are several east facing chutes of varying angles that drop from the summit and the craggy bowl facing east. You get a good view of these chutes on the approach. The steepest is the looker’s middle chute (D9), the left is less steep (D7), and the looker’s right (D4) is a moderate line into the bowl from 13,418. The middle line is steep at the top from a cornice and snow deposit, but then transitions quickly to a moderate pitch. Looker’s right can be a summit descent from 13,418.  

From Herman Lake ski or climb west up a gully system a quarter mile to a bench at 12,350’. Choose your chute to climb from here. If you are headed to the looker’s left chute you can climb directly to it from 11,700’ on the shared approach.  


Herman Gulch Trailhead (10,300’)

Herman Gulch Trailhead is located on exit 218 on Interstate 70. This is west of Bakersville and east of Loveland Pass. There is a massive parking lot on the north side of the exit with an information kiosk and outhouses. The Herman Gulch trail starts near the outhouses.


Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website

Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website