Diamond Ridge


Tom indulges me on an explore of the four peaks of Diamond Ridge.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Tom said he was interested in visiting McCall, so I sent him a menu of outings. He chose Diamond Ridge and its four summits. I sent him the little bit of beta I had, and he declined to decline. So after an evening on the porch, we were off the next morning. Civilized, 7:15am from the house and 8:15 on our feet. Surprisingly (and pleasantly) cool at just a tad under 40°.

I had never been up the Trail Creek road, so wasn't sure what we were looking at or where exactly we would find Deep Lake, our first destination for the day.


But lo and behold, the trail described in Marchant's book was pretty much as it read; one mile of fairly easy walking. Only a couple of downed trees over the trail.


Deep Lake was very pretty.

But that's when it started. We wandered about trying to cross the outlet and stay dry simultaneously.


Then up and over a ridge with downfall (downfall is the theme on these wanderings, thanks to the burn in 1993) to gorgeous Trail Lake.

Our path would lead us up the hillside at the far end of the lake.


Getting around the lake wasn't bad, just a little juicy. Then it was up through thinner deadfall.

The one issue with this view is that we were intending on climbing the peak behind Tom, Diadem Peak. Well, we'll see....


More downfall, a steep hillside, and soon we found some of the upper end of the Victor Creek trail. I had penned in a round-a-bout ridge, but we instead opted for following the trail to its saddle, then an out-and-back on the NE ridge of Solitaire Peak.


This is looking up the ridge to our first peak of the day, Solitaire. It sits about in the middle, but is hard to see here. The ridge was really fun- a little non-exposed Class 3 scrambling on good granite, mixed in with some grassy slopes and a boulder pile on top.

It was a gorgeous morning and we already had one peak under our belts. And it was only 10am. Excellent!


We spent about 20 minutes on top basking and naming peaks. You can see a whole lot of country from this summit. This is looking south into the Twenty Mile Lakes basin, with Storm Peak on the left. Dark-colored Peak 8808 n the center. Sawtooth Peak, etc. off in the distance to the right.


This is looking back at Solitaire from part way up Diadem. You can see the ridge we followed going from the right to the summit just right of center.

Reversing our tracks back to the saddle under Solitaire was easy.


Then it was time to go after Diadem Peak. We had to do a bit of up and down to get around some rock towers, and then we got a good view of the real towers. Fortunately, this view gave us a pretty good idea which was the tallest. Hmmmm. We're hiking, right?

Then it was a matter of going up through a notch, dropping down on the other side, then traversing as far around the high-point tower as we could (the Trail Lake side is a cliff).


At the very last, we found something that at least looked possible. These two are pretty close to the same, but Tom felt that the left tower is the high point.

It's definitely rock climbing, and you wouldn't want to fall, but it really wasn't that bad. But we had left our packs below, and I my camera.

I found the precarious appearance of the summit blocks a little spooky.


So after we clambered down off Diadem, this was our view of Diamond Ridge Peak, so named because it is the high point of the ridge. From here it looked like a cruise, but in these mountains, ya never know.

But before we got to the intervening saddle, we ran into a cliff and had to drop off the side of the ridge.


Then as we started up, we had to skirt several towers. This peak also had some extremely steep talus fields to climb, the scary type where you wonder if the whole thing is going to end up in your lap.

Above that we finally got to solid blocks, but that ended up in an exposed knife-edge. Again, drop and detour. But the last bit was really fun.

This was shot from the summit. Click to get a better view of Tom.

And there's peak number three for the day. Tired, but still smiling. Trailhead

One to go.

Diamond Rock is the bald peak behind the forested 'bump'. Although it looks to be a long way off (it is), it looked like it was going to be an easy cruise from here.


It started out walking on a long, snow-covered ridge. The snow had by now softened up (the snow we traversed above Trail Lake was like a rock), making it slippery, but still really easy going.

But once again, the get-off involved cliffs, exposure, and some backtracking to get around the obstacles. Off to the right here is a drop of several hundred feet. Trailhead

After that, it WAS a cruise. Well, at least compared to our earlier ridges. But by now we were slowing down and feeling a little wobbly.

And once again, it was a bit hard to tell exactly where the summit was. This isn't it, but you can see it from here.

This was all a little surprising because I had taken this photo from Summit Lake in 2012. Click the photo for the trip report. Trailhead

And from the actual summit, across the outlet of Summit Lake, and then to the forested patch slightly lower on the further ridge, and then 1000 feet down the other side, you can see where we were headed, or at least what we were headed in to. The GPS said it was exactly two miles to the truck.

We started with a pretty easy descent to Summit Lake.

This photo also shows Diamond Ridge Peak. Note the dark cliffs, the source of the exposure we had when descending toward Diamond Rock.


Two miles doesn't sound bad, except that much of it was through spilled pick-up sticks.

That's Diamond Rock again in the background.


We navigated across the ridges and gullies, finally getting to the swath of live trees. Inside the forest, we descended the steep ridge in bear grass instead of deadfall. Much better.

But our forest vanished about 200 feet above the trail, where we were confronted with the worst deadfall of the trip. At times, we were walking 6" logs 4 or 5' off the ground. Here Tom is through the worst of it. Note the log right behind Tom at shoulder height, one of many.

Meanwhile, I'm standing on the trail back to the truck. A trail! Wow!

10 minutes later we were in the truck and on our way home.




Tom's trip report


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