Peak 9420 (Rowley Canyon Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 9,420 ft
Prominence: 1,051

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This peak is not in the book. Published November 2018

Peak 9420 sits at the head of Rowley Canyon and is located just over a mile southeast of Threemile Peak. It is the highest and northernmost of a series of scrub-covered humps on the east side of the Bear River Valley between Georgetown and Bennington. Bald Mountain (9,248 feet) is a few miles to the south. The southeast ridge is the standard route on Peak 9420 and is mostly on trail. USGS Georgetown

Southeast Ridge, Class 2 —STANDARD ROUTE


Drive about ½ mile N of Bennington, ID on US-30. Turn right/east onto Red Canyon Road (a street sign is at the highway junction) and drive ½ mile east to reach a junction with Maple Road (signed). Turn left/north onto Maple Road and drive 1.2 miles north to an unsigned junction. This is Maple Canyon Road. Turn right/east onto Maple Canyon Road and drive 0.6 miles to a cattle gate. Park along the road just before the cattle gate; be sure to not block the gate. If you have an ATV or MC, you can continue to drive past the cattle gate all the way to the Caribou National Forest boundary and the trailheads for the Left Fork Maple Canyon Trail/FST-524 (to the LEFT) and the Right Fork Maple Canyon Trail/FST-505 (STRAIGHT AHEAD).

The elevation at the cattle gate is 6,244 feet. The elevation at the dual trailheads is approximately 6,650 feet. Please note that there is a “NO TRESPASSING” sign on the cattle gate. However, the National Forest Service office in Montpelier assured me that it is permissible to hike (or drive) on Maple Canyon Road all the way to the National Forest boundary. I spoke with a local rancher who lives at the mouth of Maple Canyon, just north of the cattle gate and he concurred that as long as you stay on the road, you’re fine. With Idaho’s recently-revised trespassing statutes, I just wanted to be sure that it was permissible.

The dual trailheads (which are just inside the Caribou National Forest boundary) serve as the launching point for climbs of Bald Mountain, Peak 8967, and Peak 9420. For Peak 9420, hike (or ride an ATV or MC) up FST-524 all the way to the ridge crest intersection with FST-504 (another ATV/MC trail). Go left/north on FST-504 and hike (or ride) about ½ mile to reach an 8,660-foot saddle at the base of the southeast ridge.

The Climb

From the 8,660-foot saddle at the base of the southeast ridge, scramble up easy open terrain (desert scrub) on the left/west side of the ridge crest. Skirt the left/west side of a minor ridge hump about halfway up. This route is just over ¾ mile in length and ascends just over 750 feet to reach the gentle summit.

Northwest Face, Class 2


Same as for the northwest spur/north ridge on Threemile Peak. This is part of a ridge traverse from Threemile Peak to Peak 9420. Please refer to the southeast ridge on Threemile Peak for information on how to reach the 8,780-foot connecting saddle between Threemile Peak and Peak 9420.

The Climb

From the blowdown-clogged, 8,780-foot saddle, bushwhack south up a ridge. The forest is thick and unpleasant here, so be looking for an escape to the left/east to reach the open slope of the northwest face of Peak 9420. It won’t be long before you can see it and only need to contour left/east across an easy, dry gully (dropping 15-20 feet in the process) to access the face. The northwest face is open terrain, mostly sagebrush. The sage has ample gaps in it to make the ascent relatively easy from here, albeit with some weaving required. As you approach the summit, you must bushwhack through a short section of pine forest (with lots of blowdown to clamber over/around). This short, forested area is NOT shown on the USGS topo map. Once you reach the summit crest, you must hike briefly southeast to reach the high point.

You are rewarded with an amazing view of both Bennington and Montpelier from the top. For recon purposes, you also have an excellent vantage point from which to see Meade Peak’s west ridge, its south aspect, and its connecting ridge to Peak 9768. This was particularly useful to me since, two days hence, I was going to climb Meade Peak via its west ridge and do the ridge traverse to Peak 9768.

West Shoulder/North Spur, Class 2


Same as for the northwest face

The Descent

Just to add some variety to your ridge traverse back to Threemile Peak, try this route. From the summit of Peak 9420, descend the open scrub/scree of the west shoulder down to a gentle saddle at 9,140 feet. From the saddle, scramble 75 vertical feet westward up to Point 9214. In order to descend the north spur, you are best advised to climb this point, navigationally-speaking. You will have to bushwhack through some easy forest to reach this ridgeline point. Follow the north spur back down to the 8,780-foot connecting saddle with Threemile Peak. The blowdown intensifies as you approach the flat, challenging (bushwhack-wise) saddle. Given how difficult the ridge traverse from Threemile Peak turned out to be, I wished that I had opted for the southeast ridge in combination with an ascent of Bald Mountain and Peak 8967. That route is FAR easier.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Peale Mountains

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: Northwest Face
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  • Other First Ascent: West Shoulder/North Spur -Descent
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.26419   Latitude: 42.45469

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