Toil Peak + Double Toil by Troublesome Mountain via Blanca Lake Trail / 艱苦峯

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Toil Peak and Double Toil sit just south of the famous Blanca Lake in the Wild Sky Wilderness. At the same time, they share a ridgeline with Troublesome Mountain to the southwest. The two peaks are also close in proximity to climb in one trip.

Toil Peak through the forest
Toil Peak through the forest

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…” 

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

It’s 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!

The four hikers in the other car by Road 63 closure started hiking as we were preparing. There was just one big tree on the otherwise smooth sailing two-mile walk to the trailhead. Later at mile 1.7, we crossed three sections of washout.

Road 63 closure
Road 63 closure

Blanca Lake Trail

By now, the sun has been out for an hour. But it was still freezing in the trees. Later, we zigzagged our way up to the snow at 3000′. So I used microspikes for traction on ice. We had spotty views through small clearings from 4000′ and up.

We caught up to the four people at 4400′, where terrain eased. Soon, I put on snowshoes at 4600′. The hikers continued trudging through days-old tracks up to the saddle above Blanca Lake. But the pup and I left the path to go south.

Toil Peak bound
Toil Peak bound

See more trip photos here.

Toil Peak Summit

We moved on the gentle ridge in calf-deep snow. Soon, we reached the semi-woodsy summit half a mile from the trail turnoff. We saw Columbia Peak, Kyes Peak, Monte Cristo Peak, and Cadet Peak via a large opening on the west. Plus, a bit of Blanca Lake was visible.

We savored the sun and enjoyed views out east. Later we dropped 400′ on the south ridge and soon reached the woodsy south saddle at 4680′. There we saw the beautiful Hubbart Peak to the west.

Toil Peak view
Toil Peak view

See more trip photos here.

Southbound Ridge Traverse

The initial 100′ above the saddle was the crux of Double Toil. I scoped out the terrain, and the ridge looked more manageable than the steep east slopes. So with the help of snow, we weaved our way up amid boulders and tree stumps. Then that put us up on the north ridge.

The ridgeline wasn’t entirely conducive to traversing because of krummholz plus steep drop-offs on the west. Instead, we went onto the east side for the final portion. The summit sported a nearly panoramic view as 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 with more expansive views. The prominent peaks above Blanca Lake had stolen the show, with Gothic Peak and Del Campo Peak now visible. Silvertip Peak above Troublesome Creek looked pretty gnarly.

To make a loop trip, we dropped onto the south ridge to 4800′. Then we exited via our old route on Troublesome Mountain. Later we came out onto Index-Galena Road at 1680′ and walked three-quarters of a mile back to the car.

Thanks for another beautiful day
Thanks for another beautiful day

See more trip photos here.

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