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North America, United States, Montana, North Trapper Peak, Northwest Face, Bitterroot Range

North Trapper Peak, Northwest Face, Bitterroot Range. Persistent tales of bad rock, an unappealing approach and a horrendous descent seem to have kept crowds off this peak’s 4000-foot northwest face, the largest in the range. In late July Jim LaRue and I were pleasantly surprised to find a route well worth the trouble with fairly good rock in all the places that counted. Ten 165-foot pitches up the left of two prominent ribs on the lower face and seven more on ledges beneath the crest of the northeast ridge brought us to a boulder-strewn platform north and directly below the summit. Another pitch straight up took us to the summit knife-edge. The right rib on the lower face would ascend to the bottom of an immense rockfall scar in the center of the upper face just below the platform, providing a route of some 15 pitches with the same finish as ours. We descended a broken ridge east from the northeast summit to the head of a narrow chute and thence south to easy ground. It was a spectacular climb without obvious escape variations, rising 4000 feet from camp on Trapper Creek. NCCS IV, F7.

Vincent R. Lee