Ascent of Cougar Peak on 2014-09-15

Climber: Lane Johnson

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, September 15, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Cougar Peak
    Elevation:10559 ft / 3218 m

Ascent Trip Report

I started at the small campground at the end of the road on the Jarbidge River south of the town of Jarbidge, Nevada. The last half mile will definitely require a vehicle with high clearance and 4WD for a few stream crossings. The Jarbidge River Trail is in very good shape. When the river turns east, the trail heads steeply uphill via a lot of switchbacks, gaining about 1,800 ft. to Jarbidge Lake at 9,373 ft. You've come about 6.5 miles, and more switchbacks take you another half-mile up to the big ridge at 9,800 ft. From there you turn left and start hiking the ridge. (If you continue on the nice trail, you'll soon learn that it's a pack trail that leads way down into the East Fork of the Jarbidge drainage.) The ridge looks like an easy hike on Google Earth, but it ain't. It's jagged much of the way, and overgrown with stunted trees in places; so you find yourself having to drop down on the steep west slope and fight your way past trees and ledges, with faint trails here and there. Like most of the whole Jarbidge Ridge, this stretch is almost all boot-shredding rocks, with not too many square feet of dirt. The steep climb to the summit looks worse than it is, and the views are great--except that ridge down the other side and back up to the Matterhorn looks appalling. I would strongly recommend good, strong trekking poles for this climb, to help you keep balance on the rocks and reduce your chances of falling or twisting an ankle. Also, carry plenty of water. Some good trickles of clean water cross the trail below Jarbidge Lake (much preferable to the lake water). When you leave there, you should have AT LEAST 3 liters per person if you're continuing north to the other peaks.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4769 ft / 1453 m
    Elevation Loss:1035 ft / 315 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Clear and warm
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4769 ft / 1453 m
    Extra Loss:1035 ft / 315 m
    Distance:8.4 mi / 13.5 km
    Route:Jarbidge River Trail
    Trailhead:End of road on Jarbidge River  6825 ft / 2080 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:0 ft / 0 m
    Trailhead:Cougar Peak  10559 ft / 3218 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Jarbidge ridge

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Cougar Peak2014-09-15
3Square Top2014-09-15

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