Triple Peak

Elevation: 11,300 ft
Prominence: 440

Climbing and access information for this peak (shown as Peak 11280+) is on Page 282 of the book. At the time of the second edition, I was almost positive that the peak was unclimbed. I listed it in the book to give people a shot at a first ascent but I planned on racking up the first ascent myself. Brian Wright and I finally climbed the peak in 2003.


Triple Peak is located on the Breitenbach/Corruption Divide, northeast of Mount Breitenbach. It is a congregation of broken towers capping off an immense and unstable talus/scree pile. As of 2018, fewer than ten people have reached its summit. USGS Leatherman Peak

Triple Peak from upper Dry Creek. Route follows left side sky line until it reaches the cliffs.

Triple Peak as viewed from upper Dry Creek. The route follows the left-side skyline until it reaches the cliffs.

Triple Peak in all its majesty viewed from the north. George a Reinier Photo

Triple Peak in all its majesty viewed as from the north. George Reinier Photo

Key Hole Route, Class 4

The Key Hole Route begins on Breitenbach Pass, which can be reached from either Dry Creek [(A)(6.1) or (6.1 alt.) on Page 290] or the East Fork Pahsimeroi River [(C)(3.2)(a) on Page 294]. The trails shown on the map are seldom, if ever, maintained. Therefore, cross-country travel skills are needed to reach the pass.

The summit from the trail up the Pahsimeroi to Breitenbach Pass.

The summit of Triple Peak as viewed from the trail up the Pahsimeroi River to Breitenbach Pass.

A Little History

The book notes that the peak is a complicated summit located on the Mount Corruption/Breitenbach Divide. It took me 4 attempts to discover the secrets of the towers that make up the peak. The first attempt in 2000 was thwarted by high water which prevented us from accessing either Dry Creek or the upper Pahsimeroi and forced us to begin from Burnt Creek which was a very long approach. We ended up climbing Peak 11509/Cleft Peak as a consolation prize.

The second attempt in 2001 was stopped by bad weather at the base of the West Tower. On the third try, also in 2001, we made the first ascent of the West Tower but found that the Middle Tower was actually a higher point. We found that it was impossible for us to set an anchor to rappel into the notch between the two towers with the equipment we brought. While the route from the notch to the summit looked an easy walk, it was late on a Sunday and we gave up and vowed to return. The Summer passed by without time to return. In 2002, I broke my leg and there were no attempts. Finally, on July 19, 2003 Brian and I made it to the top of the Central and Highest Tower.

Based on our prior adventures, we decided that the best route was to climb the West Tower again, set up a Rube Goldberg rappel anchor and rappel into the intervening gap and finish the climb. We took an extra rope, a bolt kit and 100 feet of sling in hopes that we could fashion a safe rappel anchor someplace on the West Tower’s rotten summit. Triple Peak is composed primarily of Challis Volcanic rock which was deposited on top of the Lost River Range’s limestone base. The rock is as rotten you can find in Idaho and the rock quality was the biggest obstacle facing us.

The Route

From Breitenbach Pass, hike northeast up the ridge to the base of the West Tower. Traverse east, scrambling over boulders and talus for about 150 feet to the base of a steep, slippery, debris-filled gully. Climb the gully–carefully. The route crosses loose talus and hard ledges covered with loose rock. At the top of the gully, the route climbs a 12-foot-high wall which brings you to a keyhole.

Looking at the summit towers from Breitenbach Pass.

Looking at the summit towers from Breitenbach Pass.

Climb through the keyhole. There is an open book to the north and above. This feature leads to the top of the West Tower and is a short 75-foot 5.7 climb on unstable rock. From the keyhole, work across the unstable, intervening ground to the base of the open book. To the left, a ledge system above a cliff leads north along the base of the West Tower’s north face to a 25-foot-high wall of dirt and debris. The ledge looks like a dead end and we ignored the route on our earlier attempt.

Time to harness up at the base of the west tower.

Time to harness up at the base of the West Tower.

While Brian was setting up an anchor to begin the climb up the open book, I stared at the ledge to the rotten wall wondering what was on the other side. Finally, I decided to take a look. Brian put me on belay and I edged across to the wall and started up. It was like climbing an overhanging road cut. Dirt and rocks streamed down around me but it was not as bad as I had imagined. When I reached the top, I found a wide ledge that traversed the remaining section of the West Tower’s North Face and lead into the gap. From that point on, the climb was a walk across talus and boulders.

Looking from the summit down the upper route. The West Tower is roughly 25 feet lower than the summit.

Looking from the summit down the upper route. The West Tower is roughly 25 feet lower than the summit.

As we reached the summit, the East Tower came into view. We could not say with certainty that we were on the highest point. We had to check with a level to be certain that we had the first ascent.

Brian on the summit with East Tower in the background.

Brian on the summit with the East Tower
in the background.

Also, see Judi Steciak’s trip report of the Steciak/Hamke ascent of this route, which includes great photos of the route.

Triple Peak viewed from Ferguson Peak.

Triple Peak as viewed from Ferguson Peak.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Lost River Range

Year Climbed: 2003

First Ascent Information:

  • First Ascent Year: 2003
  • Season: Summer
  • Route: Key Hole Route
  • Party: Tom Lopez and Brian Wright

Longitude: -113.65189   Latitude: 44.08179

Photos:

Share this post ...Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

Comments are closed.