Elevation: 10,420 ft
Route information for this peak is found on page 233.
Meridian Peak is located on the impressive ridge that divides the East Fork Salmon River from the North Fork Big Lost River. Various maps incorrectly place the peak’s name on its lower, southern summit. However, the true summit is found 0.4 miles to the north. USGS Meridian Peak
Primary access to the North Fork of the Big Lost River is via Trail Creek Road [(B)], found on page 242 of Idaho A Climbing Guide. The road up the North Fork of the Big Lost River [(B)(2)] is a good gravel road that receives occasional maintenance for much of its distance. The headwaters of the North Fork is a vast area, and it has an extensive road system. Some of the roads are closed or impassable; some require a 4WD; and some are great.
To access Meridian Peak, stay on the road along the north side of the river. Follow the road to the Hunter Creek Road [(B)(2)(c)]. The route in the book has you drive Hunter Creek Road to its end. But, be advised: The beginning of Hunter Creek Road was seriously damaged, and impassible, as of July 2017. So, now you have to walk the road to reach the peak’s southwest ridge.
Alternative Southwest Ridge Route, Class 2
With a significant section of the road washed out, Pat Mcgrane and I chose to ascend the southern flank of the southwest ridge, rather than walk the road to the base of the southwest ridge. This decision results in roughly 400 additional feet of elevation gain, but proves to be a good route. The south flank of the ridge is steep, but the footing is good, and the brush is minimal. We gained 1,200 feet from our starting point to the ridge top at 9,000 feet.
Once on the ridge top, the biggest obstacles are downed trees and one scree slope, which has a nice goat trail on its north side. The ridge takes you to a false summit. Here, look for old survey remnants. Then, cross the false summit and follow the ridge north to the true summit.
Our round-trip statistics: 5.4 miles and 2,600 feet of gain.