Gypsy Peak (7,320+ ft) Date: July 26, 2003
Authors: Dean Molen
Bob Bolton and I met in Metaline Falls in the very early morning so we could enjoy a decent breakfast at a little cafe on main street. I had stayed in Colville the previous night after climbing both Copper Butte and Abercrombie Peak the day before. The temps were HOT, over 100 degrees the day before and today promised to be more of the same. But first we needed some good food and the little cafe delivered.
Bob had driven up all the way from Vancouver Washington and had camped in his vehicle at a nearby town after a very long drive to be in position to join with me on this effort. From Metaline Falls, we drove north on SR 31 about 2 miles past the Pend Oreille River Bridge where we then turned East on the Sullivan Lake road. Turn left on Forest Service road 22 and drive on it 6 miles until you take a left onto Forest Service 2220. (Forest Service road 22 goes to the right.) After several miles watch for Forest Service road 2212 (the road marker isn't easy to read so watch for it) as it forks uphill to the left and continue several more winding miles until you come to a spur road that goes to the right which is marked as #200. This road is gated after August 15th for grizzly bear and caribou habitat protection. Yes, you read that right, this is grizzly bear country. This rougher road takes you another 6+ miles to the trailhead and I would recommend a high clearance vehicle for the last three miles of this road.
When you hit the trailhead, you immediately see where the trail starts. Take this for about a mile until you hit a switchback near the ridge line and then strike off cross country for Gypsy Peak. I recommend having a GPS along with a map and compass to help guide you as you don't see Gypsy Peak until you've done several ups and downs along the ridge, a ridge route that is probably two or three miles depending on what variations you take. There is no trail to follow so follow the logical line. One interesting event occurred as we were sidehilling one of the ridges, we bumped into Roberta (the plugger) and her husband Jay who were expecting to join up with back at the TH but had gotten a head start to avoid the heat We had a nice visit with them and they elected to go back down so we continued on. We went up and over bumps and side-hilled one major hill in the heat of the day, spelled from time to time with a breeze from the west. When you get to the overlook of Watch Lake, you'll see Gypsy peak northeast across the way. Unfortunately, you have to drop about 400 feet in elevation to a saddle and then regain it plus an additional 400 feet to reach the rocky summit of Gyspy.
Gypsy is an interesting peak and there is a witness rod (?), about ten feet down from the summit and neither a benchmark nor a register at the summit. There is a sheer drop off on the east side and the views are expansive in all directions. We reversed our effort and made it back to the trailhead, although we took a cross country route through some brushy stuff to hit the trail again on the way down. Fortunately we ran into no grizzly bears nor did we see any bear sign at any point. Gypsy Peak can claim being the highest peak in eastern Washington by only one foot over Abercrombie Peak across the valley to the west. A great area.
Time was 3 hours up, 2 1/2 hours down.
GPS-derived coordinates (NAD27 datum):
Trailhead (48.91739° N, 117.13789° W) Nad27
Gypsy Peak (48.94651° N, 117.15040° W) Nad 27