Morgan Mountain by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 8,308 ft
Prominence: 1,168

This peak is not in the book. USGS Big Hole Pass


This climb begins at Big Hole Pass (7,055 feet), which can be reached from the Idaho side via Gibbonsville Road/FSR-079 (9.6 miles from US-93) or from the Montana side via FSR-624 (17.7 miles from MT-43). There is a small parking area on Big Hole Pass and even a lovely, albeit small, campsite under a large pine tree.

South Ridge Route, Class 2

From Big Hole Pass, hike S up the Continental Divide (CD) on a jeep road (FSR-078), skirt the West Face of Big Hole Pass BM (7,243 feet), then scramble over Point 7402 and subsequently drop to a minor ridge saddle. Continue S on FSR-078 as it climbs then traverses around the E side of Morgan Mountain. When the road flattens out at 8,000 feet, leave the road and scramble W up through easy, open forest up onto the ill-defined South Ridge. You can continue on FSR-078 to the point where it crosses the S ridge at 7,944 feet, but that adds needless mileage, elevation, and bushwhacking to the climb. Bushwhack NNW up the South Ridge to the forested, flat summit area. Continue climbing until the slope begins to drop noticeably to the NW.

There is an ID/MT Boundary Post (w/2 large cairns) on the South Ridge about 50 yards S of the true summit. There was no sign of previous ascent of the true summit, so I built a small cairn (with the few rocks that I could find) alongside the pine tree that serves as the high point. There are no views from the thickly-forested top and the summit is unimpressive. However, it IS a ranked summit on the Continental Divide, so if you’re into bagging peaks on the CD, it matters.

East Ridge Route–Descent, Class 2+

Date of Climb (7/26/16). This route is the first leg of a ridge traverse from Morgan Mountain to Peak 7911/Pioneer Creek Peak. It follows the CD then the CDT to reach Pass 7140, which is located due east of Morgan Mountain. From the ill-defined summit of Morgan Mountain, bushwhack E down through the thick forest to intersect FSR-078. If you wish to return to Big Hole Pass, head N on FSR-078 (refer to the South Ridge Route). But we’re not headed to Big Hole Pass, not just yet. We want to endure more suffering. Cross FSR-078 and continue E then NE down a thick, forested slope with lots of blowdown to make this bushwhack rather miserable. There are no posts, markers, or cattle fencing on the CD to help guide you during this battle with Mother Nature. You’ll eventually intersect the the [blessed] CDT. At this point, you’ll be so grateful to be on a trail that you might even kneel down and kiss the ground. Hike S on the CDT for about 5 minutes, and you’ll arrive at Pass 7140.


Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Beaverhead Range

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: East Ridge—Descent
  • Year: 2016
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  • Other First Ascent: South Ridge
  • Year: 2016
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -113.83479   Latitude: 45.52069

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