Koch Mountain (9,072’) is a craggy mountain located west-northwest of Lake Como and a good distance from any trailhead. Though it can be ascended directly from the south and the Rock Creek Trail, the best routes use the gentler slopes of the east ridge.
Eller Koch was a forester for forty years (1903-1943). His team built the first Forest Service telephone line in Montana (20 miles up the West Fork to Alta) in 1907. After being assigned to the Bitterroot Forest, his first major trail project was building a trail along the summit of the Bitterroot Mountains which forms the divide between Idaho and Montana.
The mostly off-trail route begins from the unofficial Koch Mountain Trailhead at the end of FR-5623 north of Lake Como. From the parking area, follow the abandoned roadbed as it heads first northwest before beginning a slow curve to the southwest.
At approximately .3 miles from the trailhead, head uphill to the east on a trail following an old firebreak. Meander north-northwest along the ridge-crest until you reach 8,570’ then traverse along the south side on a series of small ledges to the summit.