The Four Lakes Route Over Camas Peak
Camas Peak – 8,905’
Elevation Gain – 4,218’ +
Ascent Date – 11aug06
Total Route Time – 9 hours 30 minutes
During a break in the extra hot weather, my wife, brother, and I did a partial circuit around all three Camas Lakes. Our plan was to stay high on the south ridge of the Camas Cirque until we reached the western end, then drop into the cirque below Point 8934 and pass each of the Camas Lakes as we returned to the trailhead.
We decided to call it the “Four Lakes Route” because it begins with a climb to Kidney Lake before gaining the ridge at Point 8766, hence 4 lakes visited during one outing.
9:15 am - The weather was cool enough to allow a kind-
of-late start and required the donning of long-sleeved
attire and gloves – something different for the summer of 2006.
10:45 am – We reach the Kidney Lake turnoff at the 3 mile point and left the “official” Camas Lakes Trail. Though the Kidney Lake trail has been abandoned by the Forest Service, it’s still in good shape and easy to follow. The only problem could be getting over the rushing stream (less than 100 yards from the turnoff) during the spring runoff.
11:15 am – We arrive at Kidney Lake for our first look at one of the nicest, amd mostly unknown, places in the Bitterroot Mountains. There are lots of perfect spots to camp if you’re looking for wilderness solitude.
11:30 am – We begin to climb the crest of the east ridge to Point 8766. Along the way we stop several time to take pictures.
12:50 pm – We reach the Point 8766 summit. Time for a snack and more pictures.
1:30 pm – As we approach the saddle southeast of Camas Peak, we stop for more picture taking and to study possible routes to the Camas Peak summit.
3:00 pm – We reach the summit of Camas Peak. We take another break for food, and, of course, more pictures.
4:00 pm – Having dropped off the ridge, we stop for, you guessed it, MORE PICTURES. This cirque would be a nice place to have a base camp for a several day assault on the nearby summits. There is even a small stream and a shallow pond hidden in the mountain heather lying under the open forest of larch and whitebark pine.
6:45 pm – We arrive back at the trailhead after 9 1/2 hours of hiking, scrambling, and taking pictures.
All in all, a very enjoyable day.