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Ascent of Lees Peak on 2015-08-12

Climber: Steve Fountain

Date:Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Lees Peak
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:8626 ft / 2629 m

Ascent Trip Report

Started from the Hoffer Lakes TH (from the road, not from Anthony Lake) to give a better option if I completed the traverse over to Lakes Lookout. Having scoped this out almost exactly 2 years ago but not having time to do it them, I returned with this as my primary goal for the day. A few observations: you can take Gunsight more directly on the ridgeline much farther than looks likely from below. Strangely could hear people talking down on Anthony Lake when the wind was just right. A fun peak with a memorial plaque opposite the summit rock. Just enough room to sit and be swarmed by flying ants.

The down & across to Angell is simple enough, and the views of the Elkhorns from either would probably be spectacular without so much smoke. (Almost all of eastern Oregon seemed to be on fire and the closest one definitely flared up over the course of the day.) Here the ladybugs were less numerous and more pleasant than the bugs on Gunsight.

Across to Lees is also pretty straightforward, but I wondered about the summit all the way over. There is a small saddle between the two potential high points - the south "square" one and the north "pencil." From that saddle, it is 15 feet of easy but exposed climbing up a wide crack to the large, flat "square" summit with several boulders scattered about. Eyeballing the highest boulder here looked to be the high point. Descending back down and crossing over to the pencil was trickier, and some more difficult crack climbing brought me head-high with that summit. From that angle, it still looked like the south summit blocks here slightly higher, and satisfied, I descended back to the saddle. Out of curiosity, I worked down through boulders and brush to the lower saddle just to the west. The long chute I could see from below continued to look both steep and too difficult to tackle solo - maybe someday from the bottom. Having topped the Lakes Lookout on my previous trip here - and seeing that I wanted nothing to do with a top-down descent of the steep rock off of Lees - I rounded the north slope of Lees, descended back down to Hoffer Lakes cross-country, and called it a day. total time, at a moderate pace including lunch & photos along the way: 4 1/2 hrs
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:484 ft / 146 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1515 ft / 461 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
Descent (To Destination) Statistics
    Gain on way in:341 ft / 103 m
    Loss on way in:361 ft / 110 m
    Start Trailhead:Angell Peak  8646 ft / 2635 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1154 ft / 351 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1011 ft / 308 m; Extra: 143 ft / 43m
    Gain on way out:143 ft / 43 m
    Route:via Angell Basin
    End Trailhead:Hoffer Lakes TH  7615 ft / 2321 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Gunsight-Angell-Lees

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Gunsight Mountain2015-08-12870 ft / 265 m
2Angell Peak2015-08-12596 ft / 182 m
3Lees Peak2015-08-12484 ft / 148 m
Total Trip Gain: 1950 ft / 595 m    Total Trip Loss: 1950 ft / 595 m



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