West Ridge via Fish Lake

Page Type
Utah, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
One to two days
Class 2

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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West Ridge via Fish Lake
Created On: Jul 16, 2006
Last Edited On: Dec 12, 2006


This is a simple talus slog up the west side of the peak. From looking at the topo, it seems that it is steeper than the "West slopes" route put up by Scott Patterson. It is also a longer apporoach from Paradise Park. The only upside I can think of for this route is that it starts near Fish Lake, which is a gorgeous lake, with a good camp site, and as the name suggests, good fishing.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you obtain both the Paradise Park and Marsh. Peak USGS quads! The driving and hiking approaches will most likely require them and a compass.

Getting There

From U-121 in LaPoint, go north on a paved road for about seven miles to a fork, take the left fork. As the pavement ends and leaves the Uinta and Ouray Indian Reservation it enters the National Forest, becoming FS-104. Paradise Park Reservoir is about 16 miles into the National Forest. A few miles before reaching the reservoir, there will be a turnoff on the right side of the road labelled Blanchett Park. Take this rough road to the parking area, folowing signs to "Twin Lakes". There will be at least one sharp turn to the right at a sign for Blanchett Park parking, and another pointing to Twins. Eventually the road will end at a trailhead with several signs. There are a few parking spots.

I was alone in the back of a pickup truck being bounced around with about 12 packs, so I can't describe this part very well. I am confident that if you follow the road, and follow any signage leading to "Twin Lakes", you will make it.

Approach Hike

First. Look at your map (because you DID bring a map). Then go.

From the trailhead, simply go on the easily followed trail to Twin Lakes. Upon reaching Twin Lakes, you have a few options. The trail goes on the west side of the lake (contrary to what topo maps say), but you can easily travel cross country on the east side. And you had better get used to cross country travel. You want to make your way to the inlet on the east side of the North Twin that leads from a park to the east. Those in my party (who have much experience in this area) say that this is the best way, and any "cairned route" is miserable. Follow the stream for the most part, but some cross country travel is not discouraged. Keep an eye on the peaks above you. There are four distinct looking summits from here, the furthest to the right being Marsh. Fish Lake lies below the middle two.

Consult your map often, and (very suggested) bring a GPS. We used a GPS to find the bearing of the lake, then plugged it into a compass to direct us. Eventually we made it. There is a good camping site due north of the western tip of the lake with a fire ring and several spots.

Route Description

Down the west slopesDescending the west ridge

From the westernmost tip of Fish Lake, near the outlet, go on a trail that leads south. I do not believe it is the one marked on the map. It looked to me that it was often used by horses, and I can't imagine a horse trodding up the talus that awaits. Keep watching the slopes above and when it looks good, head up the talus to the bench. We did this at the western tip of the talus, which looked to be not as steep, although someone else that didn't attempt the peak with us went up directly from Fish Lake, picking around the cliff bands. Point is, you can probably do this from anywhere around there, just use your judgement. From the bench, go up the western slope. Just slog up the ramp to the summit, nothing too difficult by way of route finding. The summit is marked by a giant cairn and a USGS benchmark (listing the peak at 12,219).

Essential Gear

Nothing technical required for the peak just basic essentials.

Backpacking gear for a camp at Fish Lake. Doing this route in a day is pointless and difficult.

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