Lake Peak Overview
Tucked away in the Tushar Range is a mountain known as Lake Peak. At 11,310 feet, this peak is deceptively steep, rugged (on one side) and is dwarfed in comparison by its neibor Mount Holly. Considering that it is only 1.5 miles to its summit, some would designate Lake Peak as one of the most accessible mountains in the Tushar Range. Much like the rest of the Tushar Range, you can count on wind scoured ridges that lead to snow covered slopes almost 10 months out of the year. This mountain has it all, a short/gentle approach, several steep couloirs, and views of the surrounding Tushar Mountain Range that can take your breath away.
Lake Peak Troy skinning up to Lake Peak
From the very bald summit of Lake Peak, one can clearly see how this peak received its name. On a clear day from the top there are great views of the nearby Puffer Lake, Piute Resivor and Little Resivor. Also from the top one can see the nearby Mount Holly, City Creek Peak, Chokecherry Peak as well as several other unnamed mountains that make up the Tushars.
Troy at the summit of Lake Peak The Lake Peak summit view of Piute Resivor Mount Holly as seen from the summit of Lake Peak
The easiest route to Lake Peak (in winter) is by starting at Puffer Lake. You will start off by climbing around or across the flats of Puffer Lake to the opposite shore. From here keep heading up this unnamed drainage past several open meadows. From the last meadow you will have two choices on how to summit. The easiest way is to go up/across the left drainage. You should continue hiking underneath and past the steep Southwest Couloir. Just after passing the couloir the pass will appear on your right. From the pass make another right up to the summit. It is said that this route is only 1.5 miles but to us it felt a lot longer.
Troy setting up at Puffer Lake, the starting point for Lake Peak. Troy skinning up to the pass that leads to Lake Peak Troy skinning up to Lake Peak with City Creek Peak in the distance.
If heading south down I-15, drive all the way to Beaver Utah (a one horse town where everyone hugs at the store and they can all easily spot an "out of towner"). Get off at the first Beaver exit and make a left (east) off of the off ramp. Drive down their version of a main street until you see SR 153. Make another left (east) and head up this paved, steep, narrow and winding 22+ mile highway until you reach Puffer Lake. During the winter time the highway ends at Puffer Lake and is only plowed up to there in the daytime. If it is snowing it is recommended that you have either a 4x4 or chains. In the spring time you can count on black ice as well as several icy patches at night and during the early morning hours.
Troy setting up at Puffer Lake, the starting point for Lake Peak.
Red TapeDespite what several books and the main Tushar page here on summit post have said there is Red Tape in the Tushar Mountain Range.
Eagle Point (previously known as Elk Meadows) (1,100+ acers) is considered a NO TRESPASSING area.
Three Creeks drainage (located just after Big John Flat and before Puffer Lake) is well marked as a PRIVATE PROPERTY/NO TRESPASSING now.
NO camping is allowed in the Merchant Valley as well as several other locations along SR-153.
This is the start of the Three Creeks Drainage which is considered PRIVATE PROPERTY/NO TRESPASSING area.
The closest camping can be found right at Puffer Lake itself. It should be mentioned that camping at Puffer is completely primative (no water, no toilets and no fire rings). There are several well developed campgrouds along SR-153 which are Cottonwood Creek, Mohogany Cove ($5 a night) and Little Resivor ($7 a night and full of people and bugs). When we went in early May only Mohogany Cove and Little Resivor where open. Cottonwood Creek as well as several other developed campgrouds were still closed for the season. All campgrounds and campsites are first come first serve so plan accordingly on major holidays.
Little Resivor Campgound is a great place to camp if you don't mind the people and bugs The well hidden Mohogany Cove Campground
As far as backcountry skiing the Tushars goes, Lake Peak is the prime-o place. Quick year round access, steep couloirs, gentle chutes and rolling hills make this peak the most popular for backcountry skiing. The Tushars are famous for wind and 400 inches of snowfall a year. This combination makes for a snowpack that resembles that of the Uinta Range. The best and most stable time of year, avalanche wise, is the months of April and May. Remember that the Tushars have no such thing as an avalanche forecast center so you will need to be your own forecaster out there. Dig snowpits, look for signs of recent avalanche activity and always carry a beacon, probe, shovel, avalung, common sense as well as a skilled partner with you during your winter and spring outings. As with any mountain in the Tushar Range, be prepared for self resque.
Troy skiing the Southwest Couloir on Lake Peak Troy skiing Lake Peak Troy skiing near Lake Peak Troy skiing down a nearby cirque with Lake Peak in the background