Louis Peak + Mount Gibbs / 路易斯峯+吉布斯山

Louis Lake outlet
Louis Lake outlet

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The Lowdown on Louis Peak and Mount Gibbs

Mount Gibbs, akaBa Peak,” “Bugger Mountain,” “Grandfather.”

Access: South Creek Trail > Louis Lake Trail
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3200′-8142′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available

South Lake Trailhead to Louis Lake Trail

After yesterday’s outing, the pup and I got a good night sleep at the South Creek Campground. This morning, we set off to Louis Creek Basin to climb Mount Gibbs. The lake was in the next drainage to the north of Reynolds Creek. My plan was to also go up Louis Peak if time allowed. Shortly after crossing the South Creek bridge, the snow appeared. So I put on snowshoes at 4500′ and used them for the rest of the trip.

My first “wow” moment came at 5200′. I didn’t anticipate the dramatic view of Rennie Peak above the head of the basin. Soon, the trail dwindled after we re-entered the forest. After a short scramble, we finally came upon the snow-covered Louis Lake. First, we crossed the lake by the outlet and made our way to the southwest end. Then we headed up the steep eastern slopes of Louis Peak. Eventually, the terrain became less steep when we went up onto the south slopes.

South slopes
South slopes

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Louis Peak Summit and Onward

I considered skipping Louis Peak and going straight for Mount Gibbs. But by the time it was possible to go around the peak, we were pretty close to the top. So it would have been a pity not to summit. A short break soaking in views of Mount Gibbs, Reynolds Peak, and the nearby high points was all we need. Afterward, we made our way down toward the western saddle. It took us some effort to get off the west ridge. The lack of snow made things a bit sketchy.

After passing the saddle, we started gaining elevation again. But I made sure that we stayed away from the massively corniced ridge crest by traversing the south slopes. After getting around Point 7640, the crampons on my left snowshoe broke unexpectedly. Glad I had packed plenty of duct tape for this trip.

Next stop, Mount Gibbs
Next stop, Mount Gibbs

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Mount Gibbs Summit

After stashing the snowshoes at 7800′, we slowly transitioned onto rocks. Then we quickly scrambled up to the summit block. A large pile of wobbly boulders piled on top of the narrow, exposed summit ridge. They somehow were able to connect to the real summit just 30 feet ahead. Snow on the north face was beginning to peel off, so it was unsafe to try the ridge route. While trying to figure out another way, I spotted the receding snow finger on the south.

So, we retraced our steps down by about 50′ to a notch and went around to the south side. Then we squeezed ourselves through a shallow moat and climbed the exposed rock steps to the top. The summit was slightly airy, but the views were just gorgeous. Reynolds Peak and other high points were competing for photo-ops. We also didn’t spend too much time on this summit. Soon, we were scrambling back down to the snow.

Reynolds Peak
Reynolds Peak

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Outro

I didn’t want to go back through Louis Peak. So instead, we aimed toward the west end of Louis Lake Basin for a direct descent. Since I needed to make several stops to secure the broken crampons with more duct tape, we were moving slowly. But eventually, we made it back down to Louis Lake before dark.

Down by the lake, the snow had firmed up from the low evening temperatures. So I was able to finish rest of the hike out in boots.

Panoramic view in the basin
Panoramic view in the basin

See more trip photos here.

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