Elevation: 6,763 ft
This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019
Date of Climb: September 23, 2019
Peak 6763 is a ranked summit that lies on the North-to-South ridgeline that extends from Pike Mountain northward over Elk Butte and continues northward all the way along the west side of Wahlstrom Hollow to reach Magpie Basin at its terminus.Though not as high as its southern neighbors, Peak 6763 is a fun scramble from Rock Creek Road—a scramble that is free of the thick brush/scrub/forest found in so many places in the South Hills. I thoroughly enjoyed this climb! USGS Pike Mountain
The base of the West Face of Peak 6763 is located along Rock Creek Road 4.0 miles up from (south of) Steer Basin Campground or, alternatively, 1.7 miles down from (north of) the Ross Falls Trailhead parking area. Unfortunately, there is no place to park along the road here. The closest parking pullout is at a dispersed campsite 0.5 mile down from (north of) the base of the West Face along Rock Creek Road. Hike southward up Rock Creek Road for 0.5 mile to reach the base of the steep, imposing West Face.
West Face, Class 2+
The cleanest, most open section of the West Face is located just N of the convergence of the Mountain View Creek drainage and Rock Creek Road. The terrain on this face is steep and somewhat loose, so it deserves a Class 2+ rating. Any small patches of brush can easily be circumvented. This location also avoids a fording of Rock Creek, which is on the W side of the road at this point.
Scramble up a steep slope of scrub and gravel/scree to reach a large, singular rocky outcrop early on. This rocky outcrop is a great navigational sign when choosing your line of descent down the face later in this climb. The sagebrush is somewhat thick and requires some weaving as you grind your way up the face. As you approach the ridgeline, look for a gap/chute to climb up through the summit cliff band to reach the ridge crest. Once on the ridge crest, hike a short distance L/N to reach the summit high point.
The summit of Peak 6763 has a modest cairn atop the highest ground boulder. The terrain up here is easy, short scrub and scattered ground boulders. There is a tall cairn on the next ridge point to the north (Point 6722). Don’t be fooled—that point is LOWER than Peak 6763 so don’t waste your time hiking almost ½ mile to bag it.
Descending the West Face is a more treacherous endeavor because the underlying loose gravel/scree and the relative steepness of the face will have you pulling on sagebrush to keep from cascading downward, even if you are wearing backpacking boots as I did. Aim for the large rocky outcrop down near the road and you’ll reach Rock Creek Road almost exactly where you left it. This is fast descent and should take you less than 20 minutes to complete.