OverviewFitsum Peak sits in the backcountry northeast of McCall, Idaho. It is not easily seen from any road, and but can be reached from nearby trails for those willing to do some walking and a little bushwacking/navigation.
On topo maps, Fitsum Peak is mislabelled. The maps show a lower portion of the Fitsum complex. However, that lower ridge is quite dramatic and includes several gnarly spires of unknown climbing content. Give it a try and report back here!
Once on top of Fitsum Peak, the views are significant, as Fitsum is several miles from any peak of similar height.
Getting ThereFirst, get to McCall. Either take Highway 55 north for about 100 miles from Boise, or come south from Riggns and New Meadows. From downtown McCall, take the Lick Creek road, also signed as the turn for Ponderosa State Park. Turn right after the golf course, then take another right off the pavement (signed) in about three miles. From Lick Creek Road, there are several options for routes. See that section below.
The road can be rough, but it's generally passable for any vehicle.
The McCall area gets lots of winter snow, so the roads to access this peak are closed from roughly late November until late May.
However, in the off season you should check hunting regulations or avalanche conditions.
CampingThe closest official campground is the Lake Fork Creek campground, at the trailhead. The campground is quite nice (although primitive), but also quite popular. Normal Forest Service fees etc. apply.
However, there are numerous unofficial campsites along Lake Fork Creek.
Or you can stay in McCall at either one of the many hotels, or try Ponderosa State Park (usually requires reservations).
External LinksPayette national Forest
City of McCall
Brundage Mountain web cams (including McCall)
Idaho road conditions
For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide
RoutesNote that trail conditions in this area vary from wonderful to undiscoverable, sometimes in the space of a few hundred yards. Basically, the Payette National Forest doesn't expend a lot of energy toward people who aren't using motor vehicles.
East Fork of Lake Fork Creek
This is the best approach. From the Lake Fork campground, cross the creek and follow the trail to your right/uphill. From the trailhead, it's about 9 miles and 2200' gain to North Fitsum Summit. From the summit, head south and follow the ridgeline or the east face to the top in about another 1.5 miles and 1200'. Mountain bikes are allowed on this trail, and it is possible to ride to the Idler Creek junction.
This is a shorter route, but almost all cross-country bushwacking. Start at the Lake Thirtythree "traihead," a wide spot in the road at a switchback about 1 mile short of Lick Creek Summit. There's a trail here if you can find it. Get to Lake Thirtythree, then go to the far end. From near the outlet, head due south while you attempt to maintain a constant altitude. After the small unnamed lake, head up over the ridge, then descend to North Fitsum Summit, where you will join the previous route.
North Fork Fitsum Creek
The map shows a trail going up this drainage, but the trail has not been maintained for years. Expect some of the worst alder hiking you've ever seen. But solitude...
Ridge Walk + Loop
Start the East Fork approach, but climb Idler Creek to Fitsum Summit. From there, you can walk north on the ridge all the way to Fitsum Peak. From the summit, reverse the East Fork route to complete a great loop.