Peak 7541 (Nelson Creek Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 7,541 ft
Prominence: 521

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This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019


Peak 7541 is one of three ranked summits at the northernmost end of the Caribou Range. It is the highest of the three peaks and sits above the Nelson Creek drainage. The other two peaks are Mount Baldy (7,388 feet) and Peak 7489. The easiest ascent is from the Nelson Creek drainage up onto the West Ridge. USGS Point Lookout

West Ridge, Class 2

Date of Climb: August 21, 2019

Access

Antelope Creek Road/FSR-037 is located 13.0 miles N of the Swan Valley (junction of US-26 and ID-31) and 24.4 miles E of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Office in Idaho Falls. It is signed with a simple street sign and heads due S from US-26. Set your odometer to 0.0 at the start of Antelope Creek Road.

At 3.1 miles, go L at a junction. At 6.1 miles, go straight at a junction. At 6.9 miles, reach the Caribou National Forest Boundary and a cattle gate. There is a shaded campsite to the L here and a large parking area. At 7.7 miles, reach a small trailhead parking area along Antelope Creek. Park here (6,387 feet).

The Climb

From the Antelope Creek trailhead parking area, cross Antelope Creek on a bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, leave the road/trail and climb eastward up the R edge of the forest. The initial steepness eases and the face/shoulder opens up. The bushwhack up to Point 6894 is miserable and thick, whether in open terrain or on the forest’s edge. The brush here is thick, tall, and awful.

Point 6894 is a narrow, open, rocky outcrop. From that point, do a downward traverse through thick scrub to a critical ridge saddle NE of Point 6894. This saddle has a jeep road (FSR-057) coming up to it from the north. This road continues NE up the ridge from here. This saddle is the point where the West Ridge—Nelson Creek Variation Route joins the West Ridge Route. There is a good cattle trail that comes up here from the Nelson Creek drainage and will be used as a descent route.

From the saddle, follow the jeep road NE then E on the ridge crest briefly. Leave the road to climb up onto the ill-defined West Ridge of Point 7368. You will find a cattle trail to help you in the early stages of this off-trail scramble. Leave the cattle trail and climb up a fairly steep section of face (the brush isn’t too bad here) to reach a flat ridge section at the W end of the plateau with Point 7368 at its E end.

The bushwhack E to Point 7368 and then SE to Peak 7541 is tedious. But farther along, pick up a good cattle trail (and cattle fence) on the ridge crest to make some faster progress. Conclude this climb with a bushwhack up scrub to reach the small, boulder-and-thick scrub summit of Peak 7541. There is a good-sized cairn atop this peak.

Northeast Face, Class 2

Access

Same as for the West Ridge Route

The Descent

From the summit of Peak 7541, descend NE to a forested saddle. Initially, the going is reasonably easy—a combination of short scrub and embedded rock. But the open terrain gives way to a dense forest thick with underlying brush. Visibility here is nil and the blowdown is challenging. Just head NE and bash your way through it. Cross a dry gully just below a saddle.

West Ridge—Nelson Creek Variation (Descent), Class 2

Access

Same as for the West Ridge Route.

The Descent

Return via the West Ridge Route all the way back to the ridge saddle above Nelson Creek. Leave the jeep road on the ridge and follow a cattle trail S down the center of a dry gully. The dry gully merges into a wet drainage heading W then SW. Follow another cattle trial down this wet gully. Pass two stinky cattle ponds and cross to the L/S side of the small stream immediately after passing the 2nd stinky pond.

Traverse through the forest in a southward direction to intercept FST-167, an old road. A cattle trail will help you with this final traverse. Follow FST-167 W and downstream to return to the Antelope Creek trailhead parking area. From the saddle on the ridge, this is a significantly easier route than the standard West Ridge ascent route.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Caribou Range

Longitude: -111.52609   Latitude: 43.45439

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