Mount Gibbs + Louis Peak / 吉布斯山+路易斯峯

This morning, we set off to climb Mount Gibbs at the head of Louis Creek Basin. After yesterday’s outing, the pup and I slept at the South Creek Campground. It’s Memorial Day weekend. So the campsites are free to the public. We both had a good night’s rest.

Mount Gibbs, our next stop
Mount Gibbs, our next stop

See more trip photos here.

Mount Gibbs and Louis Peak at a Glance

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

Access: South Creek Trail to Louis Lake Trail
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3200′-8142′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

South Lake Trailhead to Louis Lake Trail

The lake was in the basin to the north of Reynolds Creek. My thought was also going up to Louis Peak if time allowed. Shortly after crossing the South Creek bridge, we saw the first snow patch. Then I put on snowshoes at 4500′ and used them for the rest of the trip. My first wow moment came at the 5200′ trail bend. The impressive view of Rennie Peak towered above the basin.

After we re-entered the forest, the trail soon dwindled. A short scramble later, we came upon the snow-covered Louis Lake. So we crossed the outlet and then snowshoed along the west shore. We were aiming for the southwest end of the water. Once there, we climbed up the steep east slope of Louis Peak. Then the terrain became more moderate.

South slopes
South slopes

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Louis Peak Summit and Onward

I considered skipping Louis Peak and going straight to Mount Gibbs. But by the time we were able to bypass the peak, we were very close to the top. So it would have been a pity not to go up there. We took a short break taking in views of Mount Gibbs and the nearby places. Then we made our way down toward the western saddle.

But it took lots of effort to get off the west ridge! The lack of snow spiced things up a bit. After going through the saddle, we started going up again. But I made sure that we stayed away from the corniced ridge crest. So we crossed the south slopes. Just past Point 7640, the crampons on my left snowshoe broke off unexpectedly. Glad I could make use of the duct tape I brought with me.

Next stop, Mount Gibbs
Next stop, Mount Gibbs

See more trip photos here.

Mount Gibbs Summit

After stashing the snowshoes at 7800′, we slowly moved onto rocks. Then we scrambled up to the summit block. A large pile of wobbly boulders piled on top of the narrow, exposed summit ridge. It continued through to the real summit 30 feet ahead. But snow on the north face was beginning to peel off. So it was unsafe to go through the ridge. While trying to figure out a workaround, I saw the receding snow finger on the south.

So, we backtracked and then went down 50′ onto a notch. Then we moved to the south side. We first squeezed through a shallow moat. Later, we used the exposed rock steps to get up to the top. The summit was slightly airy. But the views were just gorgeous. Reynolds Peak and other peaks were photo-ops ready. We left after a short time and scrambled 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 the 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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