2017/5/28 – Louis Peak + Mount Gibbs / 路易斯峯+吉布斯山

Louis Lake
Louis Lake

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Mount Gibbs, aka “Ba Peak,” aka “Bugger Mountain,” aka “Grandfather.”

Pup and I got a restful night at the South Creek Campground after yesterday’s outing. Next morning we set off to Louis Creek Basin, one drainage north of Reynolds Creek, to climb Mount Gibbs and maybe pick up Louis Peak on the way up. Snow appeared shortly after crossing the South Creek bridge. I put on snowshoes around 4,500′ and kept them on for the remainder of the trip.

First “wow” moment came at 5,200′, with the unanticipated view of Rennie Peak towering above the head of Louis Creek Basin in the distance. Trail petered out upon reentering the forest, in which we scrambled a short distance before coming up to the beautiful, snow-covered Louis Lake. We crossed the lake at the outlet and traversed to the southwest end before heading up steep east slopes of Louis Peak. Terrain then tapered off when we came out onto the south slopes.

South slopes
South slopes

Photos from this trip can be found here.

I pondered the possibility of skipping Louis Peak and going straight for Mount Gibbs. But by the time it was possible to get around the southwest rib, we were only a few hundred feet below the top, and it would have been a pity not to summit. After a short break soaking in views of Mount Gibbs, Reynolds Peak, and nearby high points, we made our way down toward the west saddle. It took some effort to get down west ridge, since the lack of snow coverage made things a tad spicy.

When terrain began to rise again west of the saddle, we stayed away from the heavily corniced ridge crest by traversing steep south slopes. After getting around Point 7640, the crampons on my left snowsho gave out unexpectedly. Good thing I brought duct tape on this trip.

Next stop, Mount Gibbs
Next stop, Mount Gibbs

Photos from this trip can be found here.

After stashing the snowshoes at 7,800′ and transitioning onto rock, we scrambled up to the summit block. The narrow, exposed summit ridge was made up of a big pile of unstable boulders connecting to the true summit 25-30 feet away, with snow peeling off the steep north face and a receding snow finger on the south. We retraced our steps and got around to the south side via a notch just 50′ down on the ridge. Then we squeezed ourselves in between a shallow moat to climb the final rock steps to the top.

Summit was somewhat airy and surrounded by gorgeous views. Reynolds Peak plus other high points were competing among themselves for photo-ops. Another short summit stay later, we quickly made it back down to the snow.

Panoramic view in basin
Panoramic view in basin

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Not wanting to go back down through Louis Peak, we aimed straight toward west end of Louis Lake Basin for a direct descent. We were moving slow as I needed to make many stops to secure the broken crampons with more duct tape. But eventually we made it back down to Louis Lake before dark. Down by the lake the snow had firmed up from lower evening temperatures and I was able to finish rest of the hike out in boots.

Access: South Creek Trail > Louis Lake Trail
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice axe

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