Elevation: 8,116 ft
This peak is not in the book. Published January 2023
Peak 8116 is a forested hump that sits at the head of both Mike Spencer Canyon and Corral Canyon in the Snake River Range. Based on my findings, it is a haven for grizzly bears. I found bear beds (in the field grass), berry bushes, fresh bear scat, and bear trails on the upper section of the northwest ridge. Carry bear spray and travel in a group if undertaking this climb. I have never seen so much evidence of grizzly bears anywhere in Idaho as I did on this climb. It scared me to death. USGS Fourth of July Peak
The USGS topo map fails to show the extent of the trails in this area. It is missing FST-065 and much of FST-301. In addition, the USGS topo map labels FST-301 as FST-201. These are critical oversights because the bushwhacking in this area is wicked and trails are helpful in mitigating that difficulty.
Northwest Ridge, Class 2
From the 7,720-foot connecting saddle with Peak 8440, bushwhack for a torturous ¾ mile to the summit. The early part of this forested bushwhack is relatively easy. There is even a game/use trail to help. But that easy terrain soon gives way to thick forest, chest-high brush, and downed timber. Stay to the left/northeast side of the ridge crest in open grass/scrub to avoid the worst of this mess. The summit of Peak 8116 has a small fire pit, which I dismantled to build a summit cairn.
Grizzly bears inhabit this ridge, particularly higher up. The tall field grass is a good hiding place and a good place to bed down. I found bear trails and bear beds in the field grass with fresh berry scat (and berry bushes nearby). Bring bear spray and perhaps a high caliber firearm. Travel in groups and make noise if undertaking a climb of the northwest ridge of Peak 8116 for safety’s sake.
The Descent, Class 2
From the summit, descend back down the brutal northwest ridge to return to the splendid, 7,735-foot saddle and FST-065. Follow FST-065 as it meanders its way north toward Spencer Peak with several ups and downs along the way. On the final drop to the base of the south face of Spencer Peak, pass a signed trail junction with FST-301 just prior to reaching the 7,690-foot saddle at base of the aforementioned face. This saddle is the low point between Peak 8116 and Spencer Peak. It concludes the second leg of today’s 3-peak adventure. Spencer Peak (8,142 feet) is up next.