Peak 8540 (Triple Top Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 8,540 ft
Prominence: 320

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This peak is not in the book. Published November 2018

Peak 8540 has three summit humps of equal height (8520+), according to the USGS topo map. LOJ shows only the summit hump with the largest surface area as the high point. But is that really the high point? Read on to find out the answer. USGS Paris Peak

South Face, Class 2


From US-89 in Paris, ID, drive west up Paris Canyon Road/FSR-421 heading toward the Paris Ice Cave. At 9.1 miles (about ¼ mile before the Paris Ice Cave), reach a signed road junction. STRAIGHT is FSR-408 which goes to the Paris Ice Cave and Paris Flat; RIGHT is FSR-421 which goes to Green Basin. The elevation at this road junction is 7,860 feet. Park in an open area on the left/south side of the road here. This junction provides the easiest access to Midnight Mountain (9,328 feet) via Green Basin Road/FSR-421. Note that the name of FSR-421 changes from Paris Canyon Road to Green Basin Road at this junction. FSR-421 is suitable for passenger cars all the way to its junction with FSR-408.

A campsite is next to the trees on the left/south side of the road here. Additional dispersed campsites can be found 100-200 yards farther west on FSR-408. This is cattle country so expect to see lots of cattle near this junction, on the south slopes of Peak 8540, along FSR-408, and in Paris Flat.

The Climb

From the junction of Paris Canyon Road/FSR-421 and Paris Flat Road/FSR-408, walk east on FSR-421 for ½ mile and drop 75 feet of elevation in doing so. This puts you in position to scramble up to the summit ridge and reach it between the three summit humps. Scramble northward up the [sometimes] thick desert scrub, staying right/east of a patch of thick aspens. Cattle trails will help you maneuver through the scrub. After 700 feet of uphill, reach the summit ridge. I came up on the middle of three summit humps. I used my Casio altimeter (accurate to within five feet) plus my own visuals to determine which hump is highest.

Traverse eastward along the ridge crest through easy desert scrub about 1/8 mile, dropping 20 feet to a minor saddle along the way, to reach the east summit. About 100 feet before reaching the rocky east summit, cross (or go around) a cattle fence. Return west to the middle summit then continue west to the west summit. You must drop a surprising 65 feet to a minor saddle in order to traverse just over ¼ mile to the final [west] summit. The west summit is the least well-defined and is unequivocally lower than both the middle and east summits, both visually and according to my Casio altimeter (10 feet lower). No signs of previous ascent on any of the summit humps but, obviously, ranchers (and probably cattle) have been up here.

Given the distance between the middle and east summits, I don’t know which one is higher. My Casio altimeter can’t tell any difference either. But I DO KNOW that the west summit is lower. So LOJ is wrong about the location of this summit high point.

West Ridge, Class 2+


Same as for the south face

The Descent

The west ridge of Peak 8540 is a rather punishing bushwhack. The desert scrub is thick, the cattle trails and game trails don’t help much, and the forest (a mix of pines and aspens) has lots of blowdown. The ridge itself becomes rounded and ill-defined as you descend. Your visual disappears when you enter the forest and you can’t see the saddle below you until you emerge from the forest. This is NOT FUN.

Trust your compass and keep plowing your way downward in a west then west-southwest direction. If you have stayed near the ridge crest (ill-defined as it is), you will find a cattle fence (and a nice footpath on the right/north side of it) for the final 100 yards as you finally reach the [blessed] saddle and the jeep road (FSR-421) that crosses it. This saddle has an elevation of 8,220 feet.

If you wish to return to Paris Canyon Road, simply go left/south on FSR-421 and follow it down to the road junction where you are parked. If you plan to also climb Peak 9283 today, then leave the road and bushwhack northwest from the saddle up onto the northeast ridge of that peak.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Bear River Range

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: South Face
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  • Other First Ascent: West Ridge -Descent
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.54839   Latitude: 42.24209

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