Canyon Peak, Bitterroots
Saturday: August 26, 2017
Leader: Joshua Phillips, Co-leader Susanna Girolamo,
Attendees: Fintan Maguire
At 6:15AM we started out at the trailhead to hike up to the base of Canyon Peak. On a clear day Canyon Peak is visible from town of Hamilton, MT, Bitterroot Mountains. Luckily we had no wildfire smoke making our trip possible.
The trail ends at Canyon Lake and off to the west you enter on an open, grassy slab-granite ridge. We traversed and followed the rock Cairns up the side hill along the contour of the slabs and talus terrain. From the base above Wyant Lake we hiked towards the North Ridge of Canyon Peak. It’s around 7 or 8 miles.
At the base of the North Ridge we changed into our climbing gear and left behind our approach shoes and two of our backpacks. With three of us we brought 2 ropes and some climbing gear; slings/webbing, cams and nuts. Our ascent started by scrambling and following up the north ridgeline just south off the saddle that overlooks Blodgett Creek Drainage. The route finding was challenging as we tried first to get up as high as we could before using the ropes. On the thin ridge with lots of exposure and loose rocks we used the 2 ropes. Joshua belayed us simultaneously while both of us were climbing. We stacked on the ridge going across the “boardwalk” (scary) and through some chimneys (less exposed). Once we reached the summit, we descended back down the same way we went up. Some of the down climbing is extremely exposed and was scary, it required good footing and focus. We then found slings and rappel rings on trees for the rappel down. At the base again we took a snack break before starting our way back to the Trailhead.
For this trip we gave ourselves enough time and made sure we brought our headlamps.