Route: Naa Ohn Kara (Gore Range) Grand Tour (CO)

Submitted by BDewey on Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:37am
Colorado, US
36 mi
Vertical Gain
23,000 ft

The Naa Ohn Kara Grand Tour is a route that summits every significant peak along the main spine of the mountains also known as the Gore Range. Twenty-six of the peaks on the traverse are near or above 13,000 feet of elevation. The north end of the traverse is Surprise Lake Trailhead, the south end is Buffalo Cabin Trailhead. Because of the technical crux on Peak C Prime the traverse is probably best done from North to South from Eagles Nest to Buffalo Mountain.

The goal of the route is to stay on the ridge as much as possible. The Naa Ohn Kara is rugged and at points complex, so leaving the ridge proper to avoid a short difficulty can mean descending hundreds of feet before regaining the ridge is possible. The ridge never drops below 12,000 feet until the final few peaks so the logistics of finding water and bivy sites can be challenging. The technical crux of the traverse is a short section of 5.6, but there are many scrambly route finding difficulties that are not revealed by the topo.

Many of the Naa Ohn Kara mountains are relatively obscure without trails, cairns or even names. Years of online secrecy has preserved an air of adventure in the range. If you go, take care to keep this beloved area wild.

Summits along the route:

  • Eagles Nest
  • Mount Powell
  • Peak C
  • Peak C Prime
  • Peak D
  • Peak E
  • Peak F
  • Peak G
  • Black Benchmark
  • Peak H
  • Peak J
  • Peak P
  • Peak U (West Partner)
  • Peak V (East Partner)
  • Vista Peak
  • Mount Solitude
  • Climbers Point
  • North Traverse
  • Grand Traverse
  • Palomino Point
  • Mount Valhalla
  • Sleet Peak
  • Hail Peak
  • Mount Silverthorne
  • Red Peak
  • Eccles Peak
  • Buffalo Mountain



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This is one hell of an accomplishment and commendable. But it's unclear to me how it's a repeatable FKT.

It appears that the Zodiacs, X', W, Rockinghorse, The Saw, and the Powell-Eaglesnest Traverse were all bypassed. These are established segments of the spine and don't warrant being bypassed for an FKT along the spine.

Again, well done, just don't think this is worthy of FKT status.

Thanks Brent! Interesting. In my view any FKT along the spine of the range is going to require some deviation from the ridge proper whether it's because of the complexity and features or the logistics of water (if unsupported). I wouldn't expect a repeat to follow our exact course, just that they hit all the key summits along the ridge. Our criteria for summits was any named (USGS or colloquially) point that is above 13,000ft -or- has over 300ft of prominence. You're right we bypassed sections of the ridge, but nothing that met that criteria.

That criteria for the summits list felt the most natural to us, but I can see someone coming up with a more thorough traverse as well! Maybe lowering the prominence threshold to 100ft would lead to a more complete traverse and include points like the Zodiac Spires. That would be cool to see!

I think the rule that you summit whatever has an official name per the USGS or 300ft of prominence is logical and also has precedence on things like the LA Freeway, the Mosquito-Tenmile Traverse, etc.  For example, on the LA Freeway you don't have summit all the chessmen along the Kasparov Traverse (which would be hard) because they have neither official names nor 300' prominence.  Same with the odd pinnacle between Apache and Navajo that Roach calls "Dickers Peck".  BTW, I think this rule also defines the list of 58 Colo 14ers, some of which have USGS names but not sufficient prominence to really qualify (which is why there used to be only ~ 54 14ers).