Elevation: 7,980 ft
This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019
Peak 7980 is located above the North Fork of Williams Creek. It has a gentle, magnificent South Ridge that weaves around a bit before reaching its toe at the Williams Creek Picnic Area along Williams Creek Road/FSR-021. This is a great ridge climb in open terrain with no thick forest, no blowdown, and no creeks to ford. USGS Lake Mountain
South Ridge, Class 2
Date of Climb: July 31, 2019
Shoup Bridge is located 4.3 miles south of the Salmon-Challis BLM/NFS office in Salmon, ID. Turn R/W onto the road that crosses Shoup Bridge. After about a mile, the road takes a sharp L/S turn (signed with a large arrow). At 2.4 miles, go straight at a signed road junction for Williams Creek Road/FSR-021. At 3.9 miles, the pavement ends. At 4.9 miles, enter the Salmon National Forest. At 6.9 miles, go straight at a signed road junction [FSR-028/Williams Creek Road goes L here]. At 9.0 miles (exactly at MM9), you reach the Williams Creek Picnic Area/Powder House Gulch Trailhead on the L side of the road. Pull into the large trailhead parking area and park under the wonderful shade trees. The elevation here is 6,065 feet.
Leave the trailhead parking area and cross to the N side of Williams Creek Road. You are now at the toe of the South Ridge of Peak 7980. Bushwhack N up a steep sagebrush/grass hill. Cross a dilapidated cattle fence and quickly find a good cattle trail heading R/E. Follow the cattle trail across a dry gully. Leave the trial on the other side of the gully to bash through thick, tall sagebrush to reach the South Ridge, which is up and to your R/E-ish.
There is an obvious headwall to your NE that makes access to the South Ridge a challenge, but you must conquer it. The headwall is a combination of brush/sage and loose scree/gravel. As you climb it, move to the R/E for better footing. When you pop out on the gentle South Ridge, you will be ecstatic. The hard work is over. The rounded ridge goes NE then N up through moderate sagebrush. Higher up, the terrain changes to an easy combination of short grass/scrub and some scattered pines.
Continue N up the ridge to a forested hump (Point 7750) where the ridge turns L/NW. It is critical to remember Point 7750 because when you descend, you must make a critical R/S turn here. From Point 7750, drop about 35 vertical feet and use a well-beaten cattle trail to skirt the L/SW side of Point 7710. The ridge bends L/W here and drops to a minor saddle. From the saddle, bash WNW up through the thick sagebrush (weaving required) to reach Point 7885. From that point, descend NW about 10-15 feet to reach a final saddle. From this saddle, climb N up a sagebrush hill to reach the summit of Peak 7980.
The summit of Peak 7980 is an open hump of short sagebrush and embedded talus. There is a torn-down cairn on top (which I rebuilt). There is lots of old elk poop on the upper section of the South Ridge. Do they winter here? When you descend, retrace your steps and remember the critical twists and turns that are endemic to the South Ridge.