Peak 8284 (Shale Creek Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 8,284 ft
Prominence: 304

This peak is not in the book. Published November 2018


Peak 8284 is a beautiful peak located on the west side of the Left Hand Fork Georgetown Canyon Road. It sits at the head of Shale Creek and has a magnificent East Ridge and an equally-impressive Southeast Ridge. Elk reside here during the winter months as I found a nice shed antler at the 7,400-foot level on the Southeast Ridge. USGS Harrington Peak

Dates of Climbs:

September 3, 2018 (Southeast Shoulder/South Ridge ASCENT; East Ridge DESCENT)
September 6, 2018 (East Ridge ASCENT; Southeast Ridge DESCENT)

 

Southeast Shoulder/South Ridge, Class 3

Access

From the signed turnoff on Highway 30 in the center of the bustling metropolis of Georgetown, ID, turn E onto Georgetown Canyon Road (which is called Stringtown Road within the city limits). Drive up the road to a junction at 2.3 miles. Bear LEFT onto CR-1095/Left Hand Fork Road, which is a paved road. Reset your odometer to 0.0 here. At 1.3 miles, you enter the Caribou National Forest and the road becomes FSR-095. At 1.9 miles, there is a large parking area in a flat area on the RHS of the road. Park here. The elevation is 6,470 feet. The USGS topo map shows “Big Spring” here.

Route

From the large parking area, walk up the Left Hand Fork Road about 0.2 miles to the base of the Southeast Shoulder. This shoulder is located just to the R/NE of a prominent gully and N of a steeper, heavily-forested shoulder. Avoid the other spur at all costs. Avoid the thick, blowdown-clogged gully as well. The Southeast Shoulder has some scattered trees, but it not heavily forested as the USGS topo map suggests.

Leave the road and bushwhack N up toward the shoulder. You will soon stumble upon an old jeep road that leads up to a gravel pit area. This gravel pit sits at the base of the Southeast Shoulder. The crux of this climb is getting from the gravel pit up onto the shoulder. The headwall is quite steep and is made of crumbly gravel with short scrub mixed in. Climb NE up the headwall. Once atop the headwall, the slope lessens but remains steep. The terrain is desert scrub with game trails and gaps in it. Continue to bushwhack NE to reach the ridge crest of the Southeast Shoulder. Scramble NW up the shoulder and enjoy the views as you rise well above the canyon floor. The terrain is open, relatively easy desert scrub.

The Southeast Shoulder joins the South Ridge at about 7,850 feet. Follow the South Ridge northward to Point 8234. This point is forested, as is the entire summit ridge from here northward to the true summit (8,284 feet). The forest is so thick that you cannot see the summit ahead of you. You might even mistakenly believe that THIS is the summit. It is NOT.

Bushwhack N on the W side of the ridge crest. This is a relatively wide ridge crest. You must drop about 90 feet vertical to reach a blowdown-clogged, ill-defined saddle. Then you must climb about 140 feet vertical in thick, blowdown-strewn forest to reach the narrow summit ridge of Peak 8284. The summit is the high point on this narrow ridge. The ridge crest is clogged with trees and, on the high point, is clogged with willows. There is a small cairn just below the willowed ridge crest. I added a few rocks to it, but couldn’t find many loose rocks to work with in this thick forest. Needless to say, there are absolutely NO VIEWS from summit. I doubt that this summit sees many visitors.

Southeast Ridge, Class 2+ —DESCENT:

Access

Same as for the South Ridge/Southeast Spur Route, but continue another 0.9 miles up the Left Hand Fork Road to reach the base of this ridge. There is a parking pullout here on the RHS of the road. The elevation here is 6,620 feet.

Route

The Southeast Ridge descends from the summit plateau at Point 8234 directly down to the Left Hand Fork road. It is mostly open terrain. The summit plateau (i.e., from Point 8234 to Peak 8284) is a thickly forested mess with lots of blowdown.

From the summit, descend S through thick forest and blowdown to reach an equally-miserable, flat saddle area that is about 140 feet vertical below the summit. Bash your way S across the saddle and move to its R/W side for easier going. The short climb up to Point 8234 is in easier, more open forest. Move E (or SE) to exit the forest and reach open terrain.

Descend S on the ridge about 75 vertical feet to reach the top of the Southeast Ridge. This ridge is obvious, open, and beautiful. The broken rock and desert scrub goes quickly and is only of Class 2 difficulty. As you approach the canyon floor and the Left Hand Fork Road, the ridge steepens considerably. Descend through the forest and a steep hillside, using sheep trails to help, to reach the road. Walk back to your vehicle along the Left Hand Fork Road.

East Ridge, Class 2+

Access

Same as for the South Ridge/Southeast Spur Route, but continue driving up the Left Hand Fork Road to reach the Shale Creek trailhead (LHS of the road) at the 4.0-mile point. Park here (6,895-foot elevation).

Route

I descended this route on 9/3/18 after ascending the South Ridge/Southeast Spur Route. I ascended this route on 9/6/18 then descended the Southeast Ridge Route.

When I ascended this route, I started at the Shale Creek trailhead and bushwhacked up a very steep, forested hillside (with excessive blowdown and veg) to reach the crest of the East Ridge. It was dreadful. When I descended this route, I opted to descend a steep, gravelly headwall (with lots of sheep trails criss-crossing it) just to the S of the 7,000-foot contour on the East Ridge to reach the Left Hand Fork Road. Neither option is very good, and if the sheep are grazing on the headwall (which they sometimes are, along with a portable shepherd’s shack and guard dogs nearby) then the headwall ascent or descent is not an option.

Like the Southeast Ridge and the Southeast Shoulder, the East Ridge is on mostly open terrain. Leave the Left Hand Fork Road area and either climb S up through a short, very unpleasant section of steep forest or walk 0.2 miles S on the road and climb NW up the gravelly headwall to reach the open, easier terrain of the East Ridge on its crest. Once on the ridge crest, follow it SW then W to the forested summit area. Stay to the L/S of the ridge crest to remain in open, easy terrain (desert scrub). You will find a decent game trail to help you expedite the ascent.

To reach the forested summit area, you must climb up through a nasty, thick section of willows. Find any game trails/gaps that you can, but there aren’t many to work with. Mercifully, this section doesn’t last for too long. But it is particularly frustrating to ascend. Unfortunately, you will find more willows interspersed with the thick forest on the flattish summit area. To reach the high point for Peak 8284, you must bushwhack W through thick forest and willows and find the narrow summit ridge crest in the forest. The summit is the high point on this narrow ridge. The ridge crest is clogged with trees and, on the high point, is clogged with willows. But it is evident that the ridge begins to drop off after you reach the high point. You will find a small cairn just below the willow-clogged ridge crest.

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Peale Mountains

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: Southeast Shoulder/South Ridge
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  •  
  • Other First Ascent: East Ridge
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  •  
  • Other First Ascent: Southeast Ridge -Descent
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.32869   Latitude: 42.54129

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