Mount Gibbs + Louis Peak by Rennie Peak via Louis Lake / 吉布斯山

  • Reading time:10 mins read

Mount Gibbs (Ba Peak) by Rennie Peak ranks #2 after Reynolds Peak in North Methow Mountains. Likewise, Louis Peak ranks #9 after Crescent Mountain. The closeness of the two peaks over a shared ridgeline makes it doable in a day.

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

See more trip photos here.

Mount Gibbs (Ba Peak) and Louis Peak at a Glance

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

Access: South Creek Trail
Round Trip: 15.5 miles
Elevation Range: 3160′-8142′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

The Preface

Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, campsites along Twisp River Road were fee-free to the public. So, after yesterday’s outing, we stayed at the empty South Creek Campground. It felt strange not to see anyone around.

Because of the exhausting trip, we both got a good night’s rest. Then, the following day, we set off on the pleasant South Creek Trail. The day’s goal was Mount Gibbs at the top of Louis Creek Basin.

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

See more trip photos here.

South Lake Trailhead to Louis Lake Trail

Louis Lake was only one basin north of Reynolds Creek, about a mile east of Louis Peak. So, my thought was to visit Louis Peak if we had time. Shortly after crossing the bridge over South Creek, the first snow patch appeared.

I later put on snowshoes at 4500′ and wore them for the rest of the trip. Then my wow moment came at the 5200′ trail bend. There, the impressive north flank of Rennie Peak towered above the lake basin.

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

See more trip photos here.

Louis Lake Basin

We re-entered the forest, and the trail soon gave way to the snow. A brief scramble later took us up to the snowy Louis Lake. Then we crossed the outlet and snowshoed along the west shore.

The goal was to hug the shoreline to the southwest edge of the water. Then, from there, we climbed up Louis Peak’s steep east slopes. After navigating through several sketchy spots, the terrain became more manageable.

South slopes
South slopes

See more trip photos here.

Louis Peak Summit Views

I first considered skipping Louis Peak and going straight to Mount Gibbs. But by the time we could bypass the peak safely, we were only about 100′ from the top. So it would’ve been a pity not to make a brief cameo.

We settled down and took a short break on top to savor views of the nearby places. I stared over at Mount Gibbs, and it looked pretty far still. Soon, we dropped on the west ridge, aiming for the saddle.

Next stop, Mount Gibbs
Next stop, Mount Gibbs

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Mount Gibbs (Ba Peak)

It took much effort to leave the west ridge while I slowly guided the pup. It also wasn’t smooth sailing due to the lack of snow, which complicated things quite a bit. From the saddle, we started gaining altitude again.

I noticed the corniced ridgeline earlier and steered clear from the crest by traversing the south slopes. Then, past Point 7640, the crampons on my left snowshoe suddenly broke. It was one of those times when duct tape made wonders!

Looking back at Louis Peak
Looking back at Louis Peak

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch

Later at 7800′, I stashed the snowshoes and scrambled up the rocks to the ridgeline. A massive stack of wobbly boulders made up the narrow, exposed crest. But the summit was only 30 feet away.

I saw that the snow had started to peel off the north edge, and it looked rather unsafe. So it wasn’t suitable for traversing, especially for the pup. Then I looked for a bypass and noticed the receding snow ramp on the south.

Mount Gibbs summit ridge
Mount Gibbs summit ridge

See more trip photos here.

Mount Gibbs (Ba Peak) Summit Views

A notch 50′ down the crest allowed us to move to the south side without a hitch. Shortly, we squeezed through the shallow moat by the ramp. Then by using the dry rock steps, we were able to climb to the top.

The top was slightly airy, but the views were gorgeous. Reynolds Peak and other neighboring peaks had been waiting for their photo-ops. After a quick visit, we scrambled down to the snow.

Reynolds Peak
Reynolds Peak

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Instead of returning through Louise Peak, we beelined into the basin. But the broken snowshoe had slowed us down considerably. So I made several stops to secure the crampons with more duct tape.

At last, we went back to Louis Lake right before dark. By them, snow by the lakeshore had hardened from the cooler temperatures. So I could finally walk in boots for us to leave the area faster.

Southeastern panoramic view from the basin
Southeastern panoramic view from the basin

See more trip photos here.

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