Peak 9940 (Rock Island Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 9,940 ft
Prominence: 440

This peak is not in the book.


Rock Island Peak is an obscure ranked summit on the Continental Divide. The peak is located approximately halfway between Copperhead Peak and Freeman Peak. Rock Island Peak is approximately 1 mile west-southwest of Rock Island Lakes and directly above, and southeast of Lake 9038.

Access Rock Island Peak from Freeman Creek, (A)(3.1) on page 328 of Idaho A Climbing Guide.


West Ridge Route, Class 3

I climbed this peak on 7/29/17 via the Freeman Creek Road approach. The peak has two high points. The southeast high point is the peak’s true summit. It has the highest elevation and is 10 feet taller than the northwest high point. On the top of the northwest high point, there is an ID/MT boundary post and a large cairn. However, the summit had nothing on it, so I built a decent-sized cairn on it.

Hike up the Freeman Creek jeep road to a stream crossing at 8,060 feet. Leave the road and bushwhack north up the left side of the stream to reach a large tundra-like basin with a small tarn on its left side. Scramble north-northwest up talus and scree to reach the base of the headwall underneath a wide, tree-covered, choppy saddle. Climb north up the right side of the headwall, up a steep and very loose dirt/scree chute (Class 3) on all fours to reach the saddle at 9,460 feet. Now, scramble east up the unpleasantly clogged west ridge (staying on its south side to avoid ridge difficulties), endlessly working around krummholz and boulders (Class 2+).

Mercifully, you’ll pop out on the Continental Divide and find an ID/MT boundary post secured in a large cairn. Scramble south on the Continental Divide for approximately 5 minutes to reach the summit (Class 2+).

Enjoy the views of beautiful Rock Island Lakes (Montana) as well as the south and southeast aspects of rugged Copperhead Peak. From here, I continued north on the divide to reach another ranked summit of identical height (Copperhead Peak East).

North Ridge, Class 2+

Date of Climb:  7/29/17. This descent is part of a ridge traverse along the Continental Divide from Rock Island Peak to Peak 9940/Copperhead Peak East.  Consequently, the description begins on the summit of Rock Island Peak.  From the summit, follow the choppy, krummholz-clogged ridge northwest to the [lower] false summit of Rock Island Peak upon which you will find an ID/MT iron boundary post in a large cairn.

From here, descend north on the ridge to a minor saddle at 9,580 feet.  Continue scrambling NNW on the ridge up over Point 9680+ (almost 100 feet of uphill ridge work).  Point 9680+ provides wonderful views of the massive hulk of Homer Youngs Peak to the northeast (via a connecting ridge) and of a beautiful alpine lake (Lake 9038) on the Idaho side.  You are also about to say “Goodbye” to the picturesque Rock Island Lakes to the east.  But you can now see Little Lake (8,730 feet) on the Montana side and you will soon see more Montana lakes as you continue northward on the Continental Divide.

From the top of Point 9680+, the ridge bends noticeably leftward (WNW) and descends to the saddle connecting Rock Island Peak to Copperhead Peak East.  This saddle is at 9,460 feet.  Overall, the north ridge is a somewhat tedious combination of ridge firs, rocky outcrops, minor aretes, and some small ridge towers.  Not a whole lot of fun, but the views more than make up for the somewhat unpleasant ridge terrain.

USGS Topo: Homer Youngs Peak

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Beaverhead Range

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: North Ridge-Descent
  • Year: 2017
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  •  
  • Other First Ascent: West Ridge Route
  • Year: 2017
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -113.7025   Latitude: 45.29469

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