Peak 7911 (Pioneer Creek Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 7,911 ft
Prominence: 366

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This peak is not in the book.  

Pioneer Creek Peak is a nondescript ridgeline summit located on the Continental Divide. Well, almost. The actual summit high point is only about 100 lateral feet from the actual Divide, according to the USGS topo map. The summit offers a panoramic view of the twisting, forested nature of the Continental Divide as it heads southward. The peak is easy to reach from Big Hole Pass. USGS Big Hole Pass

West Face/West Ridge, Class 2


From Big Hole Pass, hike south on FSR-078 for 1-1/2 miles to the CDT trail turnoff (left), which is located just past Big Hole Pass Benchmark (7,243 feet). Follow the CDT south to Pass 7140. Alternatively, you can hike up FSR-71294/Pioneer Creek Road (passing an active logging operation en route) to Pass 7140. The latter is the descent route that I used.

The Climb

From Pass 7140 (0.8 mile W of Pioneer Creek Peak), hike north on FSR-71294 for about 30-40 yards (you’ll drop about 10 feet in elevation) and look for the faint beginning of a trail heading east through the thick forest. Finding this trail is critical. It is not shown on the USGS quad. If you can’t find it, bushwhack east up the steep forested slope and you’ll find it. Follow this good trail as it switchbacks up the steep, thickly forested West Face. After about 20 minutes of trail hiking, the trail ends on the West Ridge of Pioneer Creek Peak in an open meadow (7,670 feet).

Follow the ridge crest (which is also the Continental Divide) on a weak, sporadic game trail in open terrain, staying to the climber’s R/S of the forest. This is easy Class 2 on grassy terrain. After 15 minutes of Class 2 scrambling, you’ll be on the open, grassy summit of Pioneer Creek Peak (7,911 feet). Unlike nearby Morgan Mountain, which has no views, this peak has expansive views of the surrounding area, particularly the forested Continental Divide as it weaves its way east then south to Sheep Mountain, which is still a good 4 miles away. I found nothing atop this peak, so I built a decent cairn. Any ranked summit on the Continental Divide deserves one. Well, technically, the summit is about 100 feet off the Divide (laterally). But I still enjoyed building the summit cairn!

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Beaverhead Range

Longitude: -113.80101   Latitude: 45.5218

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