The Tour de Gallagher by Livingston Douglas

This multi-peak climb and ridge traverse covers five peaks in the South Beaverheads surrounding Gallagher Canyon. The peaks are discussed in the order in which they are climbed: Gallagher Peak (9,825 feet), Peak 9877, Bloom Benchmark (9,723 feet), Peak 9300/Rocky Canyon Peak, and Peak 8365/Gallagher Hill. This journey covers 15.5 miles and entails 6,000 feet of elevation gain. It is almost entirely off-trail and, with the exception of a short Class 2+ section on the southeast ridge of Bloom Benchmark, is of Class 2 difficulty. The views from the ridge crest are superb. However, the final bushwhack down to the valley floor is challenging. USGS Copper Mountain


All of these peaks are accessed from Gallagher Canyon Road at the mouth of Gallagher Canyon. From the junction of ID-22/ID-28, drive east on ID-22 for 10.4 miles to [unsigned] Chandler Canyon Road/FSR-202. There is a State gravel pit located across the highway here (signed “State Property/Keep Off”). Turn left/north onto Chandler Canyon Road. At 3.5 miles, go through a cattle gate. At 6.3 miles, reach an unsigned road junction (left is Rocky Canyon Road). Go straight here.

At 6.7 miles, cross a cattle gate and enter BLM land. About 100 feet past the cattle gate, there is another unsigned road junction. Go left/west here onto Gallagher Canyon Road/FSR-201. The road is signed about 100 feet up from Chandler Canyon Road. Drive 1.1 miles and park at the mouth of Gallagher Canyon. The elevation here is 6,140 feet. If road conditions (and your vehicle) allow, you can drive another 1.5 miles to a road closure fence in a meadow and shorten this climb considerably.

Chandler Canyon Road is a narrow, rutted, dirt road that is not maintained regularly. I do not recommend driving on it if conditions are muddy or wet. Gallagher Canyon Road is a 2-track road that is overgrown/ grassy and receives minimal maintenance, if any. This is the kind of drive you’ll do once and vow to never return to this area unless on an ATV or MC. Most of the drive passes through private property so access may become an issue in the future.

Peak #1 (Gallagher Peak)

From the parking pullout at the mouth of Gallagher Canyon, scramble north up a slope of easy sagebrush/grass to reach the rounded, somewhat ill-defined crest of the east ridge of Gallagher Peak. Follow the meandering ridge west then northwest then west on easy scrub/grass, broken scree, and a few areas of slab rock. The ridge bends left-ish/southwest and drops a bit to a saddle just below 7,500 feet (near Point 7504).

From the narrow saddle, the ridge steepens considerably, bends right/northeast and, soon, you enter forested terrain. Stay in the open pine forest on the right/northeast side of the ridge for the easiest going. Higher up, the ridge bends left/west and does a final right/northeast turn to reach the rocky, open summit of Gallagher Peak.

Peak #2 (Peak 9877)

From the summit of Gallagher Peak, Peak 9877 is a good 0.7 miles away and the ridge is rocky with its ups and downs. This traverse will be tedious. Follow the ridge west-northwest on a rocky base with some scrub mixed in. Descend about 140 vertical feet to a minor saddle.

From the saddle, follow the ridge crest west-northwest over three rocky ridge points and then do the final climb to the summit of Peak 9877. This ridge section is Class 2 and is rocky with some scrub thrown in for good measure. It is a bit tedious. The summit of Peak 9877 is a ridge crest summit with a modest cairn. It offers a beautiful view of nearby Copper Mountain and the Birch Creek Valley.

Peak #3 (Bloom Benchmark)

From the summit of Peak 9877, Bloom Benchmark is about two miles away on a narrow ridge crest that heads south then southeast. Follow the narrow ridge crest south for about a mile to a 9,500-foot saddle between Point 9628 and Point 9615.  The ridge is narrow but the ridge terrain is relatively easy. Skirt any ridge outcrops on the open left/east side of the ridge on firm scrub/scree.

From the saddle, follow the ridge crest south up over Point 9615. From Point 9615, continue southeast along the ridge to another saddle then up a final section of ridge to the summit of Bloom Benchmark. The ridge terrain is a combination of short scrub/grass and broken scree. Skirt any minor rocky outcrops on the left/east side on relatively stable scree. The final uphill to the summit is rocky talus and ridge rock, but still no worse than Class 2.

Peak #4 (Peak 9300/Rocky Canyon Peak)

From the summit of Bloom Benchmark, descend a narrow, rocky, forested section of ridge south-southeast then east to a flat, open ridge area. This ridge section is short but tedious (Class 2+). Descend southeast from the open area to a narrow saddle. This saddle is hidden in the forest and you cannot see it when you descend farther down the ridge because the ridge itself becomes forested. Be very careful to descend southeast, not south, to locate this saddle. Find an elk trail near the ridge crest once you enter the forest. This elk trail leads directly to the elusive saddle. This saddle is at 8,740 feet.

From the saddle, begin a somewhat torturous up-and-down, twisting/turning ridge traverse through pine forest to reach Peak 9300. Thankfully, the ridge is pretty well defined and it’s hard to get off course. In addition, there is a good elk trail near the ridge crest to help expedite this ridge traverse through the forest. Follow the ridge crest south up over Point 8973 and down to another saddle. At this saddle, the ridge doglegs left/east and has some minor bumps and rocky outcrops to navigate. Stay in the open forest on the left side of the ridge crest for fastest going, using an elk trail when it is there. The ups and downs never seem to end, but eventually you reach the northwest summit. From there, drop southeast to a final saddle and the climb southeast to the true summit of Peak 9300. The final uphill is an easy cruise up through an open pine forest.

Peak #5 (Peak 8365/Gallagher Hill)

From the northeast end of the summit area of Peak 9300, descend the obvious north ridge. It is well-defined and easy to follow down through an open pine forest. Stay just left/west of any rocky ridge outcrops. The forest is open enough to get a good look at rocky Peak 8365 (the next peak of the journey). Peak 8365 is below you and dead ahead.

Lower down, the north ridge becomes rounded and ill-defined but the forest is still open and easy. Look for the saddle at the base of the southwest ridge of Peak 8365. It’s easy to find. As you near the dry gully that separates the north ridge from the saddle, the terrain becomes dense with more blowdown, but it’s not too awful. From the dry gully, climb left/northwest up steep, loose shale/gravel, trees, and scrub on a hillside to quickly reach the small saddle at the base of the southwest ridge of Peak 8365.

From the saddle, bushwhack northeast up through an open pine forest with the help of an elk trail on the left/northwest side of the ridge. You quickly reach the flat summit area. The high point is obvious and is in open terrain with scattered pines. From the summit of Peak 8365, descend northwest through open pine forest. You will soon find the northwest ridge. The terrain includes areas of rocky outcrops, thick brush, copious blowdown, and some underlying loose scree. This descent is not fun. Maintain a northwesterly trajectory and aim for a prominent fork in Gallagher Canyon at the base of the ridge. Regrettably, the ridge loses its definition and becomes more of a face descent.

The final 300-400 vertical feet of descent is a battle down through thick brush with a loose scree base. When you emerge on the open canyon floor, find an old 2-track road and follow it right/northeast to reach a road closure gate in a meadow at the canyon fork. Follow Gallagher Canyon Road east from here for 1-1/2 miles back to the mouth of the canyon and your parked vehicle.


To sum up, this multi-peak adventure begins with a climb of the east ridge of Gallagher Peak (9,825 feet). Descend the west ridge to a saddle then climb the east ridge of Peak 9877. From the summit of Peak 9877, follow the south ridge down to a saddle. From there, climb the northwest ridge of Bloom Benchmark (9,723 feet). Descend the southeast ridge to a saddle then climb the winding west ridge of Peak 9300/Rocky Canyon Peak. Descend the forested north ridge to a saddle then climb the southwest ridge of Peak 8365/Gallagher Hill. Descend the northwest ridge to the floor of Gallagher Canyon and follow jeep roads back to the mouth of Gallagher Canyon.