Yellow Jacket Ridge P300
Crapo Mountain P900
Peak 3,205ft P300

Sat, Sep 17, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


I was supposed to hike to Cabin Peak in the Trinity Alps with Sean Casserly and Chris Kerth today, but had overdone it the previous day on an outing in the Marble Mtn Wilderness. I was in no shape this morning to do the 20mi outing to Cabin Peak, but I had recovered enough for maybe 1/3 of that distance. Crapo Mtn is a P900 in the southern part of the Marble Mtn Wilderness that I've been eyeing for a number of years. On paper it looks like a straightforward outing starting at the Cow Ridge TH above the Salmon River and Sawyers Bar. It's 2,000ft up to Yellow Jacket Ridge in a mile and a half, then about 2/3mi along the connecting ridgeline to Crapo Mtn. The Garden Gulch Trail is shown on the topo map taking one up most of the elevation gain from the TH. The reality is quite a bit different and it would take me more than four hours to cover less than 4.5mi.

Yellow Jacket Ridge - Crapo Mountain

I had spent the night camped at the TH, finding that my leg had recovered enough overnight to give the outing a shot. Starting off on the trail, I lost it within 5min where it goes though some heavy brush. Most of the route had burned in the 2013 Salmon River Complex Fire, and portions of this again in the 2021 Cronan Fire. The trail does not appear to have been maintained since the earlier fire and the brush is quick to grow up here in deforested areas. The cross-country upslope to Yellow Jacket Ridge was reasonable for a time, but the upper third is littered with huge amounts of downfall as a result of the two fires. Large trees, three of more feet in diameter, were often stacked two or three high. Brush was doing its job to fill in any open ground it could. On top of that, a weak weather system was moving over the area, bringing both high and low clouds and obscuring views. It would take me an hour and a half to make it to the point on LoJ identified as Yellow Jacket Ridge. Though Crapo is the actual highpoint of the ridge, this point has more than 400ft of prominence. A class 2-3 granite block serves as the highpoint in a sea of brush and coniferous survivors from the fires. No views today. I left a register and headed off to Crapo Mtn.

Though both summits were burned in different fires, portions of the terrain between them have not burned in the last twenty years. This made for an interesting traverse between the two peaks with a mix of burned and unburned forest, colorful wildflowers, tons of granite, some fun slab scrambling, and challenging route-finding near the summit of Crapo to work through dense brush, small cliffs and huge blocks of granite. I eventually found my way to the summit area by going around the south side and approaching from the east on easier terrain. I found two points vying for highpoint honors. The more interesting one is to the north, a 10-foot granite block that goes class 4 from the north side off a lower block. It felt pretty sketchy, more so because of the remoteness should something go wrong. I was pretty nervous until I was safely back off the thing. The easier south summit is class 3 from the north and appears it might be the higher point by a foot or two. I left a register on this one before heading back. It would be nearly 11:30a by the time I worked my way back to the TH via much the same route. Not a very memorable mountain at all, save for the one summit block.

Peak 3,205ft

With a bit of time before I was to head home, I thought I'd grab this easy summit that overlooks the Salmon River. I drove back down to Sawyers Bar Rd and was almost immediately back on USFS roads. The topo shows a road climbing up the east side of Kelly Gulch with a spur going nearly to the summit. The spur road is no longer open to vehicles, but it would only make an easy outing slightly less easy. It took about 20min to reach the summit, first following the old road, then up to the North Ridge where poison oak and some brushy parts presented small challenges. The summit views are mostly blocked by trees, but there are some looking south across the drainage as well as northwest to Crapo Mtn. I was back down by 12:45p to call it a day, with about six hours of driving to return home...

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This page last updated: Tue Nov 29 11:19:14 2022
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