Elevation: 10,516 ft
This peak is found on page 244. Revised January 2019.
Phi Kappa Mountain has 296 feet of prominence, just 4 feet shy of being a “ranked” peak. Phi Kappa Mountain is located above the southeast fork of Summit Creek, off of Trail Creek Summit, in the Pioneer Mountains. This mountain is often climbed with an ascent of Summit Creek Peak, which is further to the northwest, as Phi Kappa is “on the way.”
Also, Phi Kappa’s accessibility from the main trail makes it a good off-trail peak choice if you just want to take in some views of surrounding Pioneer Mountain peaks, without continuing on to Summit Creek Peak. Phi Kappa Mountain summit is, approximately, a 1-hour detour from the trail and back.
Take Trail Creek Road either from west of Mackay off Highway 93, or northeast of Sun Valley, to the marked Trail Creek Summit. There is a parking area on the southeast side of the pass summit.
Southeast Ridge, Class 2
Just off the parking area, find a well-traveled trail that heads southeast. Take the trail as it parallels the southeast fork of Summit Creek all the way to the pass between Phi Kappa Mountain and Peak 10860. Here, go off trail and follow the southeast ridge, traveling northwest, toward the summit of Phi Kappa. Tag it and enjoy the views!
Backtrack the ridge southeast and obtain the trail where you left it at the pass and continue your hike, or backtrack on the trail to the parking lot.
Margo Mandella provided her GPS track from her, Steve’s, and Bruce Dunham’s 2017 ascent. (Note the position of North arrow. Additionally, the track is yellow, the blue is the boundary between Custer and Blaine counties.)
Their trip stats: 8.79 miles with 2,900 feet elevation gain.