9.29.2012 Ross Peak

Last Saturday I broke a long standing family tradition. I climbed a peak in the Bridger Range on the first day. Collectively, my family and I have been turned back on Sacajawea and other peaks in the Bridger Range every single time we have tried to climb them. We have been faced with three foot snow storms in the middle of May, heavy gusting snow and wind at the end of August, and other environmental conditions that have forced us to turn back from every single first attempt we have made. At the end of September, I finally broke this streak and bagged Ross Peak on the first try.

View Ross Peak in a larger map

Ross Peak sits in the middle of the Bridger range, tying together Sacajawea, Naya Nuki, and the northern Bridgers with Saddle, Baldy, and Bridger in the south. It rises up from Ross Pass, a windswept clearing to the south of the peak. A well-worn and wide trail winds its way up to the path and abruptly ends. A narrow goat path winds it’s way up towards an abrupt rock wall. Ross Peak hides behind several rocky false summits. It’s a very intimidating sight to those without vertical climbing gear.

As it turns out, there are several rock-filled couloirs that lead to the top of Ross Peak. It’s a long slog up the constantly sliding slope of small rocks to the top, but it’s well worth it. There are a large number of different routes through the couloirs and towers at the top, some much more challenging and exposed than others. I was able to string together a zig-zaggy route up through the rocks that minimized the exposure and risk.

The view from the final summit is impressive as the Bridger Range rises up on either side and Bozeman sprawls out to the west.

All told this hike was a little more than 7 miles. Much more manageable than my marathon Hyalite Peak climb from the previous weekend.