click to enlarge Canyon Peak over Wyant Lake.

Michael Hoyt

Canyon Peak over Wyant Lake.

Epitomizing the very meaning of the word, this wonder of nature requires nothing more to identify it that the simple word: Canyon. During the spring and early summer one of the highlights of this high mountain cirque is the thundering Canyon Falls, so large it can be seen from the floor of the Bitterroot Valley.

The east face of Canyon Peak (9,155’), sitting high above Hamilton, MT, is easily recognizable and, of the highpoints near the city, is one of the most sought after by the area’s most adventurous climbers. Of all the Bitterroot Mountains with elevations above 9,000’, reaching this summit probably requires the most advanced climbing skills.

People have ascended to this summit on every face and ridge, but the most-used route follows the mountain’s north ridge. Though many have free-climbed this peak, all routes to the summit require Class 5 skills.

The most popular approach to Canyon Peak begins at the Canyon Creek Trailhead and follows the established trail to Canyon Lake before bushwhacking through trees, underbrush, and over slab-granite to the obvious saddle on the summit’s north ridge. From the saddle it’s a very exposed Class 5 climb to the small summit.

—Michael Hoyt

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