Ascent of Doubletop Peak on 2018-08-17

Climber: Otto De Groff

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, August 17, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Doubletop Peak
    Elevation:11720 ft / 3572 m

Ascent Trip Report

I did this accent of Doubletop Peak in one day, beginning in Pinedale, then driving 2 hours to the trailhead, summiting, and then driving back. This made for a long (16 hour) day. I would recommend either camping at or near the trailhead, or taking 2 days to summit, because of this peak's remote location. The drive from Pinedale to the trailhead took me about 1 1/2 or 2 hours. From there it is about 11 or 12 miles (one way) to the summit, via the Dry Fork trail / Brewster Lake route.

All of that being said, climbing this somewhat isolated peak was a wonderful experience. I will be back to the Gros Ventres in the future.

I got a late start in Pinedale, leaving town at 8:30 am. I took the Green River Lakes road, then the Union Pass road, and finally the road towards Darwin Ranch to reach the Kinky Creek trailhead. I got there at around 10:30. From the trailhead, the trail goes for about a mile through Lodgepole Pine forests before dropping into meadows where Clear Creek meets the Gros Ventre River. A sign labels the Clear Creek trail, which crosses Clear Creek before another fork (also signed) heads west up a wooded ridge. This is the Dry Fork trail of Clear Creek. The trail climbs through the forest before going in and out of sagebrush meadows on the south side of the ridge. After about 5 miles from the trailhead, the trail drops down near Lunch Lake, and then goes another 2 or 3 miles to Brewster Lake.

On the north side of Brewster Lake, the trail mostly disappears in meadows around the lake's main inlet stream (which flows down from lake 10,360+ to the west). Around this area there was a group camped with horses. Them and one other woman camped near the lake were the only groups high on the mountain that day. I believe another group camped near Lunch Lake that night. All in all, this mountain provided me with great solitude in the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

From Brewster Lake I made my way to the saddle at 10,560+ that sits between Triangle and Doubletop Peaks. This was trickier that it first looked. The terrain above Brewster Lake to the south and west is a maze of 10 to 20 foot limestone walls, ridges, and valleys, which make it tricky to find a straightforward route to the saddle. From the saddle I started up a small lingering snowfield, and then up the steep talus to Doubletop's west summit. I ended up going too far eastward on the talus, and had to skirt around some cliff bands and more steep scree before reaching the summit ridge. From there it was an easy walk to the east and higher of the double peaks. I reached the summit at 4:30 pm.

On the descent, in order to avoid the steep, loose scree on the north ridge, I followed the ridge that drops due west and then northwest from Doubletop. This proved to be much more pleasant (but longer) than the talus slope. I found traces of a trail at around 11,000 feet on the ridge 1/2 mile from the summit. It was easy going on the ridge. Right before reaching point 11,015 on the ridge, I left the ridge and began my descent to Brewster Lake. The limestone was, as on the accent, tricky to get around in many places. I think the terrain southwest of Brewster Lake may be more negotiable in early summer, with snow covering much of the limestone.

It was late in the day before I reached Brewster Lake. I returned from there following the same trail to the Kinky Creek trailhead. I reached my truck at around 10:00 pm, after having walked the last few miles in the dark.

Over all, this was a very enjoyable hike. The Gros Ventre Range is very seldom visited (compared to surrounding areas of Wyoming). The trails were well marked, and in good condition, probably with much help from horses. In the future I would perhaps do this hike in 2 days, but it can be done in 1. My total hiking mileage was maybe 22 to 24 miles, round trip.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2920 ft / 890 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2920 ft / 890 m
    Round-Trip Distance:23 mi / 37 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2 to 3
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Cool, Breezy on summit, some wildfire smoke in the air
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2920 ft / 890 m
    Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Route:Dry Fork Clear Creek
    Start Trailhead:8800 ft / 2682 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2920 ft / 890 m
    Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:Dry Fork Clear Creek
    End Trailhead:8800 ft / 2682 m

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