Ascent of Cloud Peak on 2015-08-15

Climber: Connor McEntee

Date:Saturday, August 15, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cloud Peak
    Elevation:13167 ft / 4013 m

Ascent Trip Report

Departed from the West Tensleep Lake trailhead around 9:30 and made it to Mistymoon lake before noon. Weather forecast had indicated that there would be afternoon thundershowers, but the skies were clear. So, I decided to set up camp (very few mosquitos!) and ditch my gear on the south side of the lake and make for the summit.

The unmaintained trail is easy to follow through the valley cutting across Paint Rock Creek below the waterfall and going up the canyon. Eventually, the trail periodically disappears and remerges as it goes through large talus fields. Down low all of the routes are more or less comparable. However, higher up as the trail starts to gain the ridge connecting to the summit, the cairns are a complete mess.

The weather was beginning to turn, so I was racing to get to the top. (The descent would be treacherous when wet.) I followed what seems to be the most obvious path. It took me straight up the ridge on the south side. Views looking down the valley below were beautiful, but this route goes over unnecessary large talus and is less direct. I made several attempts to traverse over to a grassy/dirt path going up between the boulders to the north. Cairns continued to direct me back to the ridge, and I trusted that they were placed by others who knew the route better. This route put me back on the ridge, but the narrow saddle was to the north west and edged out by sheer cliffs. This forced me to traverse anyway, and I would have been better off on the dirt route.

There are numerous trails past the saddle approaching the summit, some are more direct than others. I ended up following a route that put me due south of the summit and then had to turn directly north.

On the descent I was able to take a much more direct route down as well as sparing my knees some. You can go almost directly from the summit to the saddle and then stay on the north side as you enter the drainage below. Follow one of several parallel dirt trails and switchback down the middle to a grassy area below where the trail going directly up the south ridge rejoins.
Summary Total Data
    Trailhead:West Tensleep  -9999 ft / -3047 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Drizzle, Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy

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