Toil Peak + Double Toil / 艱苦峯+加倍艱苦峯

Today we came back for Toil Peak and Double Toil after a visit out in the desert. Last time we had a late start. So we could only go up to Troublesome Mountain. But it was only a matter of time before we were back to finish the song of the Three Witches.

Double, double toil and trouble
Double, double toil and trouble

Toil Peak and Double Toil at a Glance

Access: NF-63
Round Trip: 10 miles
Elevation Range: 1600′-5427′

Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Road 63

“Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble…” 

Time flew by fast! It has been eight years since we first hiked the Blanca Lake Trail. Back then, the pups and I saw two other people at the beautiful lake. Coincidentally, we saw the same couple on the way up to Vesper Peak two months later!

There was one other car with four hikers by the NF-63 closure sign. They started hiking as we were getting ready. There was just one big down tree on the otherwise smooth sailing two-mile walk to the trailhead. Then the three sections of washout at mile 1.7 were easy to cross on rocks.

Road 63 closure
Road 63 closure

Blanca Lake Trail

By now, the sun had been out for an hour. But it was still freezing in the forest. Later, we zigzagged our way up to the snow level at 3000′. So I used microspikes for gaining traction on ice. Views were spotty through small clearings from 4000′ onward.

We caught up to the four hikers when terrain flattened at 4400′. Then I put on snowshoes at 4600′. There the trail took a turn up toward the saddle above Blanca Lake. But the pup and I left the path and went south. The hikers continued north while trudging through days-old tracks.

Toil Peak bound
Toil Peak bound

See more trip photos here.

Toil Peak Summit

We snowshoed southbound on the gentle ridge in calf-deep snow. Soon, we went up on the semi woodsy summit. So we were now half a mile south from the trail turnoff. There was a large opening on the west. So Columbia Peak, Kyes Peak, Monte Cristo Peak, Cadet Peak, and a small part of Blanca Lake were all visible.

We savored the sunlight while enjoying views out to the east. Then we dropped 400′ on the south ridge. Soon, we reached the woodsy south saddle at 4680′. There we saw beautiful Hubbart Peak to the west.

Toil Peak view
Toil Peak view

See more trip photos here.

Southbound Ridge Traverse

The first 100′ above the saddle was the real crux below Double Toil. So I scoped out the terrain. Then the ridge route looked more manageable than going through the steep east slopes. But with the help of snow, we weaved our way up through boulders and tree stumps. Soon, we were up on the north ridge.

The ridgeline wasn’t entirely conducive to scrambling because of the dense vegetation and steep drop-offs on the west. So instead, we moved south on the east slopes for the final stretch to the top. The summit sported a nearly panoramic view as most trees gathered on the south side.

Northwest panoramic view from Double Toil
Northwest panoramic view from Double Toil

See more trip photos here.

Double Toil Summit Plus Outro

Double Toil was 300′ taller Toil Peak. So the views up here were surely more expansive. The prominent peaks above Blanca Lake continued to steal the show. Gothic Peak and Del Campo Peak were now visible. Then Silvertip Peak above Troublesome Creek drainage looked pretty gnarly.

So to make this a loop trip, we went down the south ridge to 4800′. Then we picked up our old route on Troublesome Mountain and exited. Later, we came out onto Index-Galena Road at 1680′. Then we walked .7 mile on the road to go back to the car by the gate.

Thanks for another beautiful day
Thanks for another beautiful day

See more trip photos here.

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