Elevation: 10,740 ft
This peak is found on page 311.
Tyler Peak is one of the most impressive summits in the southern Lemhi Range. Larry Prescott completed what is probably the first winter ascent in March 2016. I have excerpted the climbing portion of Larry’s trip report to fully describe and preserve his traverse description. However, use the link below to experience his full trip report below which contains so much more information and incredible photography. The report is an engaging story of mountaineering pluck and perseverance. A great read. Larry passed away in late October 2016.
North Creek Route, (Class 3) First Winter Ascent Larry Prescott.
The following is excerpted from Larry Prescott’s trip report: “North Creek is located several miles north of Howe. I always look for the ridge the extends west from the north south running crest of the Lemhis down to the highway. Once past this landmark, a fenced grave site is on the east side of the road. Passing the grave, start looking for a green street sign marking North Creek. The sign is reflective so it reflects brightly in high beam headlights. Turn east and travel on a county maintained road 6 miles to Dave’s house. Park on the right side of the road near Dave’s large storage shed. There is a place to pull off the road here and park. You may be met by Dave’s large red and white Australian Shepard named Clyde. Don’t panic. Clyde is one of the best dogs around and is glad to have your attention. Every time Clyde greets me, it makes my day.
I was on the trail heading into the canyon at 7:30. The temperature was 16 degrees. The forecast called for a sunny day with temperatures getting barely above freezing. Just what I was looking for after last week’s attempt of Mount Church.
An ATV trail leads deep into the canyon. Once past the foot of Peak 10,604, I headed northeast up the drainage. I was looking for a gully which would lead up to the west face of Tyler. Unfortunately, the forest made finding the right turnoff impossible for me. It’s just plain hard to navigate by sight in a thick forest. I was winging this trip without the help of GPS points. I continued up the main well-defined drainage. The snow was fairly good for snowshoes. I remained on top most of the way up this gully. When I did break through, it was often no more than calf deep.”
“I went much farther than anticipated. The morning was early and I was in no hurry. Passed Peak 10,172 on my left and turned southeast continuing up the main drainage. The sun was breaking the ridge ahead directly in front of me. I had no idea where I was and decided to make the ridge to get a look at my location in relation to Tyler. This section was slow and arduous. Often I was breaking through snow above my knees, not a happy camper.”
“Walking up the gully, I passed several old avalanche tracts that came down perpendicular to the drainage. Soon I entered the run-out of a large slide that came down the main drainage. hiking up the debris field, I came to a crown of about 2 feet. By now the snow had formed a cohesive pack and the danger of avalanche was very slim. I felt confident in the continued ascent. Come spring, the slides will begin again.”
“Once on the ridge, I was completely surprised to find that I had overshot Tyler Peak. I was on the ridge between 10,172 and Tyler. Now that I had my bearings, I began the march along Tyler’s north ridge to the summit. Coming up at this location afforded incredible views of the peak. It was worth any extra effort expended to have this view.
Trading snowshoes for crampons and poles for an axe, I walked toward the peak. At each bend I was rewarded with more spectacular views of my destination. The route appeared to be quite gnarly as I neared the summit block of layered rock bands. The small dollop of peaked snow on the top added a confectioner’s like swirl to the crown.”
“Finally made it to the cliffs at the base of the summit block. It looked like it was possible to climb up and through the rocks. It was definitely approaching class 4 climbing on rock, snow, and ice. I kicked in a few steps and then decided to avoid such a climb. I was not sure, even if I could make the initial pitch, I would find a passage through the top of the rock bands. Also, being alone, I was concerned about keeping myself in one piece for a long descent. I decided to drop off the ridge and skirt the rocks at the base. This was the sketchiest part of the climb. I carefully made my way down the steep snow covered slope. A few times the snow was almost waist deep and I was worried about triggering a slide. The run out was over cliffs! I kept my axe in a constant self belay and proceeded carefully. Was much relieved to leave the deep snow and round the bottom of the rock band. I snapped a photo of my descent line. for some reason it seemed a lot steeper than this image makes it out to be. I guess you just had to be there.”
“The next section of the climb was up an incredibly steep scree face with patches of snow and ice. It was so steep that to attack it directly required me to use both hands and feet. I ended up slowly traversing back and forth to reach the summit. It was cool to find a single trail of goat tracks (I think) curved over the summit.”
“Rather than retrace my long route back, I decided to drop down the drainage I had originally planned to ascend. This would knock some miles off the return hike. I traversed down toward the dip in the ridge leading to Daisy Black and then headed directly down. When I reached the point where all rocks were buried under sufficient snow, I enjoyed a short glissade. Then it was a matter of big steps in soft snow. I knocked off 1,700 ft in an hour. I found myself at the debris tow of a large avalanche field. Rested and again traded my crampons and axe for snowshoes and poles. Then began the long slog over an open section and into the forest. Once I entered the trees, I picked the best looking gully and, once again, slogged on in thigh deep snow down the narrow drainage.”
“The next part down the narrow gully in deep snow was simply exhausting. I was overjoyed to finally intersect with my trail from the morning ascent. Ah, broken trail! This route had whacked off hours off the morning tangent. In two hours I had managed to converge with my path. I think it was just another hour before I was out in the open of upper North Creek and on the ATV trail. At this point I turned around to see what I could see. Tyler’s summit and the drainage I descended were framed with trees. Now if I had made that elusive drainage in the morning, I would have cut my time considerably! Yet, the views of Tyler from the north ridge, the sheep, and my sketchy traverse would have never made it into the story.”