The western-most highpoint on the rim of the Chaffin Cirque, West Chaffin Peak (9,340’) is a picturesque mountain in the Bitterroot backcountry.
From the Chaffin Creek Trailhead, head west through the stately Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir along the well-used trail. The generally well-maintained trail stays just north of Chaffin Creek as it makes its way westward along the bottom of the drainage to Hart Lake.
Cross the lake’s outlet and follow the sometimes-maintained trail around the left (south) side of the lake before climbing west-southwest up the ridge which begins at the lake’s western end.
At 8,350’, traverse (Class 2+) west, staying just below obvious cliff-bands on talus and grass to the Chaffin High Lakes. From a spot just north of the first, and lowest, Chaffin High Lake, West Chaffin Peak can be seen on the ridge-crest by looking southwest.
Going upstream along the creaks connecting the several Chaffin High Lakes, then traversing up the east face of the peak to the summit is the simplest way to climb this mountain.—Michael Hoyt