This is the shorter of the two common routes to the summit of Kessler Peak. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, but it can be difficult to locate the point where the trail leaves the dirt road.
See the main page 'Getting There' section for directions on reaching the trailhead.
One-Way Hiking Distance: 2.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,940 ft.
Average Gain per Mile: 1,307 ft.
Trailhead Elevation: 7,463 ft.
Summit Elevation: 10,403 ft.
The trail leaves the westernmost dirt road from the Doughnut Falls trailhead approximately 0.5 mile from the trailhead parking area. GPS users can locate this point at 12T, 0444649E, 4498092N (UTM NAD 27).
The trail leaves the dirt road and heads west around the north slopes of Kessler Peak, where it crosses the huge avalanche path on the north face of the peak.
The trail then steeply ascends to the summit along the north-west ridge. No scrambling is involved on this route, but portions of the trail are very steep.
North-East Ridge Variation
A more difficult variation of the North Route follows the north-east ridge to the summit. This ridge involves enjoyable class 3 or 4 scrambling with some exposure.
To reach the north-east ridge, follow the standard North Route trail until it reaches the large avalanche path on the north face of the peak.
Upon reaching the avalanche path leave the trail and head directly up (south) the steep slope at the east edge of the open path, all the way to the north-east ridge.
Follow the ridge for several hundred yards as it curves south-west towards the summit. The ridge will eventually merge with the standard North Route trail prior to reaching the summit.
During the summer hiking season no special equipment is required on this route.
Portions of this trail are quite steep - consider carrying treking poles for the descent.