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Mount Morrison

 
Mount Morrison

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Idaho, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 44.10128°N / 113.8009°W

Object Title: Mount Morrison

County: Custer

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 11367 ft / 3465 m

 

Page By: splattski

Created/Edited: Feb 7, 2011 / Jun 26, 2014

Object ID: 697052

Hits: 2102 

Page Score: 90.48%  - 32 Votes 

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Overview

 
Looking west
Mt. Morrison's east ridge from high on Mt. Idaho

Mount Morrison is not officially named, but it appears in Idaho, A Climbing Guide, and thus has become common vernacular. On the topo, it is Peak 11367, which shares the Elkhorn cirque with Mt.Idaho and Peak 11967. It also sits above upper Cedar Creek, and shares a ridge line with Peak 11308.
According to the author, the name was suggested by Rick Baugher to memorialize the surveyor, Lee Morrison, who determined that Mt. Borah is Idaho's high point.
 
BoiseDoc with Mt. Morrison
Looking at Mt. Morrison across the cirque from Peak 11967

This peak is quite rugged. The easiest route is Class 3 with 4500' of gain required. Generally, all routes are off-trail. It is very unlikely that you would see another climber on the peak, although you might see someone on the Elkhorn Creek approach because Morrison's neighbor, Mt. Idaho, is one of Idaho's nine "12'ers."
There are two common routes. See the Routes section below.
 
Mt. Morrison from Borah Peak
Mt. Morrison from Borah Peak, east ridge on the left

 
West Bowl route
West Bowl route from the parking area

Getting There

 
Mt. Morrison routes
Map of routes

The access for Mount Morrison depends on the route you choose: East ridge or West bowl (also refer to map).

East ridge
For the standard route, head up Elkhorn Creek, which is signed on the highway. This is the same access as for Mount Idaho.
From downtown Mackay, drive approximately 15.5 miles north on Highway 93. Look for the sign on the right.
From Ketchum/Sun valley, drive the Trail Creek road to Highway 93, then turn right (south). Elkhorn Creek is about 0.3 miles on your left.
When you locate the turnoff for Elkhorn Creek, open the wire gate (and close it after yourself!) and drive up the very rocky road. The first section, about a mile, is driveable in a high-clearance 2WD vehicle. The upper 1/2 mile requires 4WD, but you can walk, right? Just leave your rig where the road gets bad. At the end of the 4WD road, a slight tread leads you up the Elkhorn Creek canyon. Keep your eyes open, as the trail is a little vague in places. It also crosses the creek twice.

West bowl
AS you drive north, pass the Elkhorn Creek sign mentioned above. In a short distance after, look for a dirt way exiting the pavement on the outside of a slight left-hand bend. Follow the way until you see another way heading straight up hill. After about 400 yards, that way connects with the powerline road. Park here. The way continues up hill, but do not drive further; you are entering a wilderness study area, so should only be on foot.

Routes

There are lots of possibilities, but here are two basic routes:



East Ridge
This is the standard route, and the one recommended for climbing in dry conditions.
Route stats
Round trip distance: 7.8 miles
Vertical gain: 4500'
Difficulty: Class 3
Expected time: 8-12 hours
 
Saddle
Saddle between Mt.s Morrison (left) and Idaho (right)
West bowl
This gully is best done as a snow climb. The very steep upper bowl could be a true bowling alley in dry conditions. Also note that the entire route follows a potential avalanche path, so only attempt this in stable snow conditions.
Route stats
Round trip distance: 7.0 miles
Vertical gain: 5000'
Difficulty: Class 3, with a bit of Class 4 depending on how much snow is covering the rocky section.
Expected time: 8-12 hours
 
Upper bowl
Upper bowl of the West route

Red Tape

None.
Just make sure you close the gate at the highway each time you pass. Please.

Camping

Once you leave the highway on the Elkhorn Creek road, there aren't many flat spots. But there is one if you bear left. Look for an abandoned irrigation dam just before the road reaches the creek. The top of the dam is flat and just big enough for a tent.
Alternately, you can camp at Mackay Reservoir, which has lots of camp spots and real toilets!
Or if you're looking for something softer, try the Wagon Wheel motel in Mackay. Very reasonable.

External Links

 
Webcam view
Gib's cam view

Mackay info
Splattski trip report
Lost River Ranger District, Salmon-Challis National Forest
Willow Creek cam, looking south from about 20 miles north
Gib's Borah cam, looking just north and through a support beam on Gib's porch

For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide.

Images