Peak 6701 (Buckskin Morgan Ridge) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 6,701 ft
Prominence: 360

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This peak is not in the book. From 1979 to 1983, I skied to the top of this peak nine times starting at the Kelly Creek Ski Resort. Livingston Douglas provided this trip report covering a Summer ascent. Published November 2019


Buckskin Morgan Ridge is a forested ridge just off of FSR-218 in the Kelly Mountain area of the Big Hole Mountains. FST-887 climbs west from FSR-218 at a saddle and a dispersed campsite. The trail follows Buckskin Morgan Ridge for a long distance. The elusive high point is in thick, brushy forest near the trail where it first reaches the ridge crest. USGS Hawley Gulch

Southeast Ridge, Class 2

Date of Climb: August 19, 2019

Access

From the N end of Idaho Falls at the Caribou-Targhee National Forest office on US-26, drive 13.6 miles E on US-26 to a signed junction for the Kelly Canyon ski area. Turn L/N onto a paved road. Set your odometer to 0.0 here. At 1.9 miles, go R at an unsigned junction. At 3.1 miles, cross the Snake River on a bridge then immediately reach a “T” junction. Go R/E here on Heise Road.

At 5.4 miles, go L at a signed fork in the road. At 7.9 miles, enter the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. You are now on FSR-218. At 8.9 miles, reach a road junction (the “Y” junction). Go straight here to continue on FSR-218. At 9.7 miles, the road reaches a saddle and a trail junction. Park on the R side of the road where there is a dispersed campsite.

The Climb

From the saddle, hike NW up FST-887 (unsigned) until the trail reaches a high point on the ridge. This is a hiking/biking trail and is narrow but good. Based on the USGS topo map, there are two potential high points for Buckskin Morgan Ridge because there are two areas with contour lines of 6,700 feet. Unfortunately, the forest here is dense and the brush is chest-high and thick (willows, thorn bushes, brush). This is not a pleasant place to search around for a high point or a summit cairn.

Fool that I am, I did a lot of searching here. The Southwest Summit (6700+) has an open area of thick brush and is 5 to 10 feet higher (based on altimeter readings) than the more expansive Northeast Summit (6700+). The Northeast Summit is thickly forested and is equally awful. I found no summit cairn anywhere here and there is no obvious high point. But we do know, from the USGS topo map, that you reach the high point area for Buckskin Morgan Ridge at the East End of the ridge, as soon as the hiking trail tops out.

Mountain Range: Big Hole and Snake River Mountains

Year Climbed: 1979, 1980, 1981X2, 1982X3, 1983

Longitude: -111.60029   Latitude: 43.64529

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