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Ascent of Warren Peak on 2018-08-09

Climber: Jobe Wymore

Date:Thursday, August 9, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Warren Peak
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:10463 ft / 3189 m

Ascent Trip Report

Warren Peak, MT.
Highest in Granite County.
August 9th, 2018.
Jobe Wymore with Victor Zhou.

I’d first spied Warren Peak a couple summers back from West Goat Peak and man did it look nice. Though not much lower in elevation than West Goat it sure does appear you’re looking down on it, none-the-less Warren Peak still looks awefully impressive, chiseled - a pic I took from that vantage point is on Peakbagger.com.

But like I said a couple of years had passed & it was time to get serious about it. I’d chatted off & on about ol’ Warren with Victor Zhou, who for some reason wanted it too. I think he also saw it from West Goat and tucked the memory away with the intent of revisiting it at a later time. That time had come for both of us.

We ended up meeting at the Middle Fork Trailhead on the evening of the 8th. I got there a tad before Victor as he had to hydrate at a brewery in Anaconda, beforehand. My hydration took place earlier in Philipsburg, at Philipsburg Brewing Company, after a smoky drive from Missoula. The TH parking area is vast, well equipped with signage, restrooms and a nice huge grassy area at the start of the hike where I placed my tent. Victor snoozed in the rear of his 4-Runner.

But on the way in towards the TH I’d noticed an altered landscape that appeared charred beyond belief in certain areas. Numerous fires were currently raging out West but this one appeared quite fresh. Not brand new fresh but definitely within the previous 12 months. The TH was uneffected, though, and off we went to sleep at a decent hour.

Next morning we set off on down the “trail” which initially starts out as an ATV track that heads northward out of the parking area. After gradually loosing some elevation the trail swung to our right and quickly the landscape became almost apocalyptic. The fire from the previous year must’ve been tremendously incredible as the trees were burnt entirely to their cores & not just hundreds but thousands of them. At ground level was a totally different world where grass shoots sprouted, baby shrubs trying to burst upward but for the most part a lunar landscape is what we wandered in.

Now the creeks we crossed showed us that man made objects hadn’t been spared destruction either as the bridges that span them were either obliterated or had been recently reconstructed. Numerous burnt trees that encroached the trail had been leveled at their bases for safety reasons too.

Regardless we made good time on the powderpuff trail up through the switchbacks to Edith Lake, here we discussed our options. Victor advocated backtracking just a tad and aim for the lower ramparts of the West Ridge, I obliged.The offtrail going was easy as the twigs, branches and shrubs had been vaporized in the fire. Sure there was the oversized downed tree to step over from time to time but nothing concerning. The gradient steepened around treeline where we were greated by continuous easy talas. From there upwards we went always drifting to the uphill right towards higher and periodically soiled ground.

The route was never too tough, though. There were many options when it came to what line to take. Victor and I ended up drifting apart with me taking a higher line, him a lower but both of us on the right side below the true ridge proper. Just below Point 8452 the angle of the slope noticeably steepened as we traversed looser rock. No biggie since for the most part the route remained relatively stable if one wasn’t too aggressive & clunky in their steps. Both our lines ended up having us loose a tad bit of elevation before the final push to the top.

Unfortunately the views were marginal as the haze of smoke conquered all vantage points in the area. Looking over at West Goat Peak all one could make out was little more than a shadowy blurp.

On a positive note the Forest Service had recently been to the top leaving a nice new register complete with a historical description of how Warren Peak came to be named, it’s elevation & other what-nots. I guess one can assume by this act the Forest Service doesn’t frown upon summit registers at least in this part of Montana?

On the way down we decided to explore what others have called the “avalanche chute”. This proved to be a way better decent option but as for climbing up this powdery gully, well, I’ll leave that enjoyment for others to stagger steeply up ankle deep in moon dust. Closer to the bottom as we neared Edith Lake a nice cool creek was crossed, water bottles were topped off, then shortly after a use trail was intersected that made its way around the northern side of Edith Lake that eventually connected with our trail we took up.

Warren Peak isn’t much of a challenge by Montana standards with the only thing needing to be reconciled is whether you’re in the mood to stagger upwards close to 5000 vertical feet on the out & back, or not. In its current configuration it’s definitely an eye opener. The fire that ravaged the area wasn’t hit & miss but absolutely complete.
Summary Total Data
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles



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