North Cottonwood Ridge by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 6,250 ft
Prominence: 120

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This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019

North Cottonwood Ridge is one of many ridges in the South Hills. It is located just west of McMullen Basin. A road (FSR-545) gets you close to the summit. The summit area showed no signs of previous ascent, so I built a small cairn on the summit high point. USGS McMullen Basin

Southeast Face, Class 2

Date of Climb: September 24, 2019


From the junction of Rock Creek Road/FSR-515 and FSR-500 (signed at the Magic Mountain Ski Area), drive north then west on FSR-500 for 10.1 miles to an unsigned junction with FSR-545/North Cottonwood Road. FSR-500 is about to make a pronounced L/S bend here. FSR-545 is a narrow, somewhat rutted and rocky, rough road. But it is passable for a 4WD vehicle with decent ground clearance. It is best to park on a hilltop pullout at the 1.2-mile point on FSR-545. I parked at the 1.8-mile point at an unsigned road junction just before the road condition worsens. The elevation at this point is 6,010 feet.

The Climb

Hike NW along FSR-545 until it passes a private residence (with lots of “NO TRESPASSING” signs, so stay on the road) and reaches a signed junction. This point is about 2.2 miles from FSR-500. Go R/N on FSR-545 and hike about a mile to a saddle and another signed road junction. You are now at the base of the SE face of North Cottonwood Ridge. Leave the road here and bushwhack NW up through sagebrush to reach the flat summit plateau. The summit area is open scrub with a few ground boulders. The high point is at the north end. There were no signs of previous ascent so I built a modest cairn atop the highest ground boulder.

East Face (Descent), Class 2


Same as for the Southeast Face Route.

The Descent

From the summit, descend E through moderately-dense sagebrush to reach the old jeep road (FSR-545). Follow FSR-545 southward to a saddle and a road junction. Bear R/SW to continue on FSR-545 back down to the valley and make a critical L/SE turn at a private residence to remain on FSR-545 to follow it back to your parking spot.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: South Hills

Longitude: -114.41501   Latitude: 42.2565

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