Peak 8786 (Hawks Nest) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 8,786 ft
Prominence: 686

This peak is not in the book. Published November 2018


Peak 8786 is located just over a mile southwest of Hawks Peak. It sits at the head of the Hawks Roost drainage. Consequently, I call this peak Hawks Nest. It has hidden cliff bands on its East and Southeast Sides, some of which are visible from the summit of nearby Hawks Peak. Care must be taken in descending back down to Church Hollow via the east and south aspects of this mountain.

Date of Climb: September 1, 2018

Northeast Ridge, Class 2

Access

Same as for the South Ridge/Church Hollow Route of Hawks Peak.

Route

This route is part of a ridge traverse from Hawks Peak. It begins at the connecting saddle between Hawks Peak and Peak 8786 (8,100-foot elevation). Please note that there is NO TRAIL crossing this saddle and no sign that there ever was. The 2011 NFS map for this area is in error on this matter.

The west side of the saddle is forested (unlike the open grass/scrub of the east side). The forest is thick and has extensive blowdown. From the saddle, bushwhack W then SW then S to reach much friendlier open, non-forested terrain higher up. The SE and S aspects of the Northeast Ridge are less forested than the USGS map suggests. Thankfully, you will quickly find yourself in this easy, open terrain and the climb will go quickly. If you find yourself tangled in the forest blowdown for too long, just angle southward and you will find the open scrub. Once in the open, it is an easy Class 2 cruise to the top of this peak. The top of Peak 8786 is an open, airy summit with a LARGE cairn (with especially LARGE talus). The view of Georgetown, ID is stunning from up here.

Southeast Ridge/East Spur, Class 3 —DESCENT

Access

Same as for the Northeast Ridge Route.

Route

From the summit, descend the easy, open terrain (short scrub and grass) of the Southeast Ridge down to a prominent cliff band (visible from the summit of Hawks Peak). There is a crack/gap in the cliff band near the ridge crest. This feature is the cliff band’s weakness and allows a Class 3 descent of the cliff to the open terrain of the continuation of the ridge below. However, the crack/gap is made up of steep, loose talus and unstable face rock. It requires 20 feet of descent, but it is testy so do it slowly and carefully. This is the first crux of this descent.

Once at the base of the cliff band, cruise down another section of easy, open terrain on the ridge crest. If you viewed this ridge from the top of Hawks Peak (as I did), you know that this enjoyable terrain is about to come to a crashing end. About this time, some of your body parts might be starting to pucker up. At about 8,000 feet, the Southeast Ridge forks. Straight ahead, the Southeast Ridge becomes the Southeast Face and has a very steep, rocky section almost immediately. I didn’t like the look of that (nor the tight contour lines on the USGS topo map) so I opted for the “Exit Stage Left” option here. Yes, go L/E here down the East Spur. This spur heads dead at (no pun intended) Church Hollow, to a point where the old ATV trail still exists. This fork is much better defined than the alternative fork because this fork will dump you into Church Hollow. The other fork drops you into an eerily-narrow gully that is SW of Church Hollow, requiring a final hike ½ mile up Georgetown Canyon Road and another 0.2 mile hike up FSR-688/Church Hollow Road. That is not a good option.

The East Spur is easy to follow initially because it has a prominent gully on its R/S side. Unfortunately, the terrain is quite steep (Class 3) and becomes forested pretty quickly. You will be grabbing tree branches to control your descent down this loose terrain (dirt/gravel + scree base). The terrain is semi-open, not thickly forested. But you will choose to stay near trees just to have something to brake your descent or to stop and rest your knees. The East Spur requires 800 feet of descent, so it is pretty relentless.

Lower down, the East Spur bends L/N down a slab ramp that dumps you into a very clogged gully (thick veg + willows). Thankfully, the gully is dry. At this point, you have a 10-minute Battle Royale through thick veg, willows, and aspens to reach the [blessed] ATV trail at 7,200 feet. You will be happy to be back on solid, easy ground. Cruise back down the old ATV road to the trailhead.

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Peale Mountains

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: Northeast Ridge
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  •  
  • Other First Ascent: Southeast Ridge/East Spur
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.29979   Latitude: 42.52039

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