Gallatin County High Point Trip Report

Wilson Peak (10,705 ft)

Date: July 28, 2002
Author: Tim Worth

This one was harder than expected. I didn't leave until noon, had only Delorme (it was Sunday, USDA offices were closed), lost my compass, took a lousy route. On the upside, I did make the top, and had great weather. The peak is part of the Spanish Peaks, and is dwarfed by the more impressive Gallatin Peak and Lone Mountain to the west, across the county line.

Started from North Fork trailhead, northwest of Big Sky. Easy trail hiking for 3.5 miles north, then headed west up a scree slope, gaining the ridge and winding around the south edge of Chipperfield Mountain. From here Wilson Peak is visible to the east, but getting there involves descending into not one, but two creek basins, adding a lot of unnecessary cumulative elevation gain. Was about 1700 feet of east-bound bouldering from the second valley floor to the top. Encountered one false summit. True summit is small, no register, no BM, small rock windbreak. Lots of jagged rock along the ridge. Arrived at 5 p.m., stayed about half an hour. Left a note in a can. Met a local guide on top who had climbed most of the peaks in the area.

Went straight down the southeast side, following runoff, then bushwhacked back to the trailhead. Only 2.5 hours down. This might be a better way up, if you can navigate the bushwhack. There is also a trail to Dudley Lake from the southeast, which may be a viable option.

Trip statistics: about 13 miles round trip; net elevation gain of 10,705 - 7,179 = 3,526 ft.