Idaho County Highpoint Trip Report

Dates: July 23-25, 2004
Author: Tim Worth

I can't recommend using this route but here it is. After hiking up Trapper Peak in the morning I drove to the Nelson Lake trailhead at the end of FR 5633. Starting at 3 pm, I decided to backpack into Nelson Lake and then get an early start the next day. The trail begins at 6140 feet and splits at ~7400 feet, where I took the north fork (TR 136, not shown on topo) which heads down to Nelson Lake. Once in the valley, the trail is very poor though there are cairns in a few places to help with navigation. I camped at a flat spot on the southwest shore. Statistics for this leg: 3.5 hours, 4.5 miles, 1660 feet of gain.

Next day, I continued northwest along the shoreline and bushwhacked to a saddle near spot elevation 8140 feet. From here I used the east ridge route previously described. I want to emphasize that the ridge between UN 9410 and UN 9459 is beyond knife edged; it's cliffed out on both sides with a series of blocky towers along its spine and has to be bypassed, which in my case meant dropping 600 feet to the talus slopes to the south. I did some time-consuming exploration on a ledge system on the north side of this formation but ended up running into vertical faces each time.

I hiked up UN 9459, Bare Peak, and then UN 9439 (metal boundary post, register) though I did not ascend the other 5 pinnacles on the ridge. This is a really neat, remote HP with superb views all around, especially of the sea of peaks to the west into Idaho. The return to camp was exhausting as it involved sidestepping on talus for 3.5 miles, then back up to the ridge, and then a cliff-riddled bushwhack down to Nelson Lake. Statistics for this leg: 12 hours, about 10 miles, 3900 feet of gain.

Next day I hiked out to the car, losing the Nelson Lake trail which prompted a brief but miserable bushwhack up onto the ridge, then rejoined the main trail and back to the trailhead. Statistics for this leg: 4 hours, about 4.5 miles, 600 feet of gain.

Grand total climb statistics: 19.5 hours, 19 miles, 6160 feet of gain.

In retrospect, it makes more sense to do this as a hard, long day hike, staying on the east ridge from the trail and avoid Nelson Lake completely. Approaches from Canyon Lake or Boulder Lake would be longer alternatives.