An Attempt at Koch Peak, Bitterroots
Date: September 16, 2017
Trip Organizer: John Bardsley
Attendees: Kara Daume, Fintan Maguire, Jen Meyer-Vaughan, Elizabeth Moore
This trip was first meant to be to Bare Peaks, but the Nelson Creek fire closed that trail head, so I changed it to Koch Peak. Koch Peak is the first 9000+ foot summit along the ridge starting on the north side of Lake Como and heading west/northwest. Further along that ridge are Whites East and Whites Mountain, also 9000+ footers.
And then a cold, wet storm front came through two days prior to the trip, and it turned out to be a cold, cloudy, snowy day, with snow starting almost immediately out of the car, at about 6000'. Once we got up into the talus and boulder gardens that are typical of the Bitterroot high country, there was more than a foot of snow, which made the going very slow. About 1/2 mile from the summit, at 1pm, we were staring up at a hillside of large snowy boulders to gain the summit ridge, and I opted to turn us around, as it looked like even slower, and more treacherous, going.
The day was great, regardless. It's a privilege to be able to spend a long day outside with good people: new friends were made and old friendships were strengthened. It's the whole experience that counts, after all; the summit is just the cherry on top.