Southwest Ridge - direct to western summ

Page Type
Montana, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hike / Scramble
Time Required:
Half a day
Class 3 - easy to moderate scrambling

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Southwest Ridge - direct to western summ
Created On: Feb 25, 2004
Last Edited On: Aug 31, 2005


To clarify for all those thinking that this is the technical "unclimbed" south ridge leading to the eastern summit of Imp - it is not. THIS south ridge is the easy ridge leading to the western summit or western horn of Imp.

Begin at Alp Lake.

Route Description

The initial goal is the West summit as opposed to the more prominent East summit which is of similar elevation. (See the note in the overview for a discussion related to which is loftier)

From Alp Lake (~9,720’) take an easy walk (marked in green on the accompanying map) to the Northwest through pleasant meadows and minor boulder and talus fields until you reach the South ridge (`10,600’). Then climb North (marked in blue) along the South ridge dipping West and below the ridge where necessary to avoid the obvious exposure on the East side of the ridge. If you so desire, stick to the ridge itself and expect a couple of easy 4th class moves in a few spots. In all, the South ridge isn’t more than 400’ vertical and a few hundred yards long. The rock along the ridge is solid and provides pleasant and quick movements. The rock below the ridge is expectedly looser and the climbing is basically in and out of few shallow gullies as you make your way to the top.

Continuing North, the South ridge flattens out into grass covered ledges and eventually a large sloping summit meadow. From the West summit, the path to the East summit gradually slopes down the meadow until you reach the base of a steep granite formation that tops out 100’-125’ above. We encountered weather during our climb in August of 2003 as was unable to attempt the East summit which appears to be a much more challenging climb.

In all, the climb from Alp Lake took us a couple of hours round-trip.

Essential Gear

No technical equiptment is needed for this climb. Keep in mind that you are in the Montana high alpine which can mean pretty much any kind of weather at any time of year. Dress and prepare accordingly

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.