Ascent of Bandit Peak on 2020-05-09

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Dan Connors
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, May 9, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bandit Peak
    Elevation:12444 ft / 3792 m

Ascent Trip Report

Today Dan and I went for the three-peak circuit of Royal, Pegmatite West, then over to Bandit. I had already completed Rosalie, so this was to finish the area for me. It was 13.5 miles of hiking and 4,700 feet of gain or more and a big day we had great weather. My GPS track for 3 peaks is broken down into 2 separate tracks one for Royal and Pegmatite and the other for Bandit and back to the car. The parking facility is huge and accommodates many vehicles. The trail is well maintained but initially crosses the creek several times but generally stays on the west side.


At near 2.4 miles where the creeks cross the trail and heads west, we began looking for our route to bushwhack up to Royal. The west slopes had little snow in the trees, but the N and E slopes were still heavy in places. The contours spin around on the ridge and I got confused where we were and over climbed the saddle by nearly 300 feet before I realized my mistake so our GPS route needlessly will show we did that over climb. Climbing down thru a nice forest of limber pine we cross a moose habitat marsh and found the saddle and then headed south now up the north slope of Royal. There were packs of snow still in there up to 3 feet deep, so some post-holing occurred, and we made our route whatever minimized snow hiking. Nearing the summit, we came upon some class 2, 2+ and mild 3 rock pinnacles and false summits. But eventually into a nice bristlecone stand and the less impressive summit. The best views are in the pinnacles.

Pegmatite West:

We found hugging the western side of the ridge on our track down was much easier staying out of most snow all the way down to the saddle. This track down also avoided the complications of climbing back over all the false peak pinnacles. Then back up through the limber/bristlecone pines on a beeline for the open tundra area below Pegmatite. Pegmatite is a lovely ridge line with open views, many hoodoos of granite and awesome views. Near the summit I realized where the name came from as there is several outcroppings of granite with pegmatite size minerals. The pink feldspar had some very large faces to enjoy. We then climbed back down to the obvious saddle where the main trail goes through (the trail we abandoned back at mile 2.4 in favor of awesome bushwhacking routes). That saddle is around 11,900 feet and looms below the impressive slopes up to Rosalie a mid-13er.


Our plan was to get to the main saddle at 11,900 and then contour around the slopes of Rosalie and avoid snow patches and slowly climb to the saddle between Rosalie and bandit at around elevation 12,200 plus or minus……….but that contouring ended up being closer to 700 feet of gain not 300 because of the large packs of snow we climbed up and over or down and under. We finally put on microspikes and kick stepped across about 6 packs of snow. Once over and well above the saddle at 12,200 (we ended up for safety climbing about 300 feet higher than necessary to minimize snowpack crossings on steep slopes) we had but more pack sliding down to the saddle. I saw the chance for an easy glissade and took it to near the saddle. The final climb up Bandit is easy compared to the rest of the day and we enjoyed a rest at the summit.

We could retrace down the north side thru more snow packs and used the trail all the way down to the truck but to “save time and mileage” I figured the western side of the large ridge and southern slopes of Bandit would be clear of snow and it started out as easy tundra. But soon snowpacks in bristlecone trees and talus became the challenge. My track is right on the edge of the tree line western side. We found that if we stayed right at the tree line edge we avoided snow, and oddly there was some tundra and grasses in between the talus there making the steep down climb of 2000 feet manageable whereas if we went out from the trees it would be a typical talus slog on tired legs. We kept a bearing toward the Rosalie Trail which is perpendicular to the Tanglewood Trail were our truck was parked. After one final push of bushwhacking thru quaking aspens we found the trail and hiked it back to the Tanglewood trail and back the to truck. All and all, of the total circuit of 12 miles we enjoyed about 4 miles on trails, 3 on tundra, and 5 bushwhacking thru various terrain. A good day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:992 ft / 301 m
    Total Elevation Loss:770 ft / 233 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.1 mi / 11.4 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:707 ft / 215 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 222 ft / 67 m; Extra: 485 ft / 147m
    Loss on way in:485 ft / 147 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:see GPS track
    Start Trailhead:Top of Pegmatite see GPS track 2  12222 ft / 3725 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:285 ft / 86 m
    Gain on way out:285 ft / 86 m
    Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Route:see GPS track
Ascent Part of Trip: 5-9-2020

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Royal Mountain2020-05-09 a2528 ft / 771 m
2West Pegmatite Point2020-05-09 b1217 ft / 371 m
3Bandit Peak2020-05-09 c992 ft / 302 m
Total Trip Gain: 4737 ft / 1444 m    Total Trip Loss: 1110 ft / 338 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by William Musser
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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