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Ascent of Warren Peak on 2016-08-13

Climber: Eric Higginbotham

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, August 13, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Warren Peak
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:10463 ft / 3189 m

Ascent Trip Report

Finally, a chance to climb Warren Peak and the weather forecast is perfect, mostly sunny with calm winds building to 5 mph in the afternoon. I used Jim Perkins' county highpoint report directions to locate the trailhead, they were most excellent, thanks Jim I owe you another beverage. Only one thing to add. The trail to Edith Lake is at the North end of the trailhead parking lot. It is no longer clearly marked as Jim describes. I met another party of nice folks at the trailhead that were also heading to Warren Peak they helped me overcome my confusion and confirmed for me that the four wheeler track was indeed the start of the trail to Edith Lake. The trail leaves the north end of the trailhead paralleling the road for about a quarter mile looking like a four wheeler track, not a hiking trail. Then the trail turns east over a bridge crossing the Middle Fork of Rock Creek. From this point it is well marked to Edith Lake. Watch for trails breaking off to Johnson Lake well Marked and the HiLine trail, not marked. I rested at Edith Lake watching the trout rise and looking up at my intended destination.
The other party climbing Warren, who had climbed Warren multiple times, told me the best route was to take off from the northeast end of Edith Lake, using an avalanche chute to the treeline keeping the false summit on your left as you climb the ridge. Other reports suggested climbing from the northwest corner of Edith Lake and then following the west ridge to the summit. I choose the latter route and started climbing up the ridge from the northwest side of Edith Lake. I tried to avoid the fist sized loose rocks and stick to the trees climbing up to the top of the west ridge of Warren Peak. After another break I followed the ridge sidehilling around the false summit. There was some more loose rock during this section that I couldn't avoid and at one point the dog, above me, started a tiny slide of rocks down on me. We safely arrived at the saddle between Tamarack Lake and Edith Lake between the false summit and Warren Peak and proceeded up the ridge to the summit. The skies were sunny with a few wispy clouds and just a puff of breeze to help keep us cool. I split a tin of sardines on crackers with the dog and we both drank plenty of water and posed for many pictures. West Goat Peak, shrouded in shadow looking like a hooded emperor of the Pintlers loomed to the east. I was glad I had climbed WGP prior to climbing Warren as its extra elevation would have dampened my feeling of achievement on reaching the summit of Warren. But since I had already climbed it, I only felt satisfaction looking at WGP knowing I had already reached its summit.
I decided to take the avalanche chute down to the northeast end of the Edith Lake for my route down. I met the other party climbing up Warren just above the treeline. They gave me more directions on how to find the chute but I didn't find it until I was almost at the bottom of it. I then cut to my left instead of my right and ended up in the east end of the lake following an inlet stream down to Edith Lake through some bogs and tall spruce. I navigated around the north side of Edith Lake passing by several tents. Not wanting to disturb other campers I turned away from the shore into the trees hurrying to get around the lake. In my hurry I went skipping right by a female camper sunbathing on her sleeping pad in a secluded patch of sunshine wearing nothing but a smile. Passing by and trying not to stare I took another break where the trail leads into the west side of Edith Lake. Then it was just a matter of plodding down the trail back to the pickup.
Route Considerations. Jim Perkins as described in his county highpoint trip report noted he left the trail after the last switchback and made his way to the west ridge. This route would save you some traversing across the hillside and around into Edith Lake. Sidehilling around the false summit on the west ridge involved losing some elevation and I did run into some loose rock I had to contend with. Nothing serious but it did make me pay attention for a few minutes, a more seasoned hiker probably wouldn't be troubled by it.
The avalanche chute on the northeast side of Edith Lake is probably an easier approach, if you can find it, otherwise there is a lot of thick slippery bear grass to contend with. I think this is the same route Anders Olson describes in his trip report. My advice would be to take the trail all the way to Edith Lake, the lake is beautiful, take some time to enjoy it. From the west, southwest corner of the lake look for the peak and the avalanche chute. Then decide, do you want to head straight to the west ridge or hike around to the avalanche chute. No wrong route, just personal preference. I had some extra elevation gain on my trip, some on the false summit, dropping down to Edith Lake before climbing the ridge, and some along the initial part of the trail. I have attached my GPS track for reference. Good luck and enjoy this peak with unbeleiveable views of the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5165 ft / 1573 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5165 ft / 1574 m
    Round-Trip Distance:13.3 mi / 21.4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Animal/Pet
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Mostly Sunny
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4593 ft / 1399 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4087 ft / 1246 m; Extra: 506 ft / 154m
    Loss on way in:506 ft / 154 m
    Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Route:Edith Lake then west ridge
    Start Trailhead:Edith Lake Trailhead  6376 ft / 1943 m
    Time:4 Hours 3 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4659 ft / 1420 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4087 ft / 1246 m; Extra: 572 ft / 174m
    Gain on way out:572 ft / 174 m
    Distance:6.7 mi / 10.9 km
    Route:straight to east Edith Lake then trail
    End Trailhead:Edith Lake Trailhead  6376 ft / 1943 m
    Time:4 Hours 26 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Eric Higginbotham
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file




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