Independence Peak + Bluegrass Butte / 獨立峯+藍草孤峯

Last week, we went up to Mac Peak. Then today, the yellow pup and I checked out Independence Peak and Bluegrass Butte. It has been a while since we were here. I have also long overlooked the area because of other climbing commitments.

Independence Peak from the pass
Independence Peak from the pass

See more trip photos here.

Independence Peak and Bluegrass Butte at a Glance

Access: Independence Lake Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3600′-5400′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Independence Lake

The last time we came, we hiked up to Independence and North Lakes on a rainy day. But with no upcoming backpacking trips, now was a perfect time to tackle the back burner list. At times, I find these smaller mountains more challenging.

A few tents were by the lake when the yellow pup and I passed through. Soon, we made it up to the pass at 4960′. Then I was able to see our primary goal of the day. Visibility was so weak the first time we came. So I didn’t see much up here.

Independence Lake
Independence Lake

See more trip photos here.

Independence Peak West Ridge

There were several ponds below the pass. But I remembered some hikers had mistaken the biggest one for North Lake. The pools were our last water source. But I forgot to pack more, of course. Then from the pass, we moved south toward Independence Peak.

Shortly, a defined path led us up to the base of the west ridge. Then the real climbing began here with cliffs over our heads. So we went under them through to the south side of the peak. It was the typical class 3 terrain.

The south side of Independence Peak
The south side of Independence Peak

See more trip photos here.

Independence Peak Summit

The goal was to get up to the northeast ridge at 5000′. But we didn’t go east far enough to reach the flat terrain between 5000′ and 5200′ first. Instead, we climbed up through a steep gully. When we exited the ravine, we then found ourselves up in the flat area.

From there, we continued up toward the summit. At the same time, we went through lots of boulders and steps. What a beautiful day to be up here! But the target shooting kept breaking the silence. The noises sounded like they came from Coal Lake.

Boulder River Wilderness lineup
Boulder River Wilderness lineup

See more trip photos here.

Onward to Bluegrass Butte

To see the entire North Lake, we moved west 100 feet and dropped 20 feet. The water was so much bluer than I remembered. Forty-five minutes later, it was time for us to leave. We still needed to make our way back down to the pass. Then we would continue to Bluegrass Butte.

We went back on the trail and then walked down toward North Lake. Soon, we left the path at 4800′. We stayed on the crest mostly. But sometimes, we moved to either side to avoid cliffs. Later, from the 4550′ saddle north of North Lake, we moved up to the southwest ridge.

Next stop, Bluegrass Butte
Next stop, Bluegrass Butte

See more trip photos here.

Bluegrass Butte Summit

Later, we went up to a flat area southeast of the summit at 5000′. Then we moved north-northwest on steep terrain to get to the top. The ridgeline on this peak was narrow and elongated. It also had steep drop-offs on the west.

There were trees up here also. So they obstructed our view of Independence Peak to the south. Plus, the southern slopes were very woodsy. Otherwise, we would have a spectacular view of North Lake from the top.

Summit dogs on Bluegrass Butte
Summit dogs on Bluegrass Butte

See more trip photos here.

Outro

We made it back to Independence Lake just after dark. Then it was just a quick hike out to the car.

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