Hike North Idaho

Ball Peak

May 8, 2015

Elevation: 7,265’
Rank: 18
Coordinates: 48.791N, 116.625W
Trailhead: Pyramid Pass, No. 13 (connecting with Pyramid/Ball Lakes No. 43)
Trailhead Elevation: 5,410’ (not sure)
Estimated Time: 2.5 - 3 hours

If you are looking for a quick trip to the Selkirk Crest Ball Peak fits the bill. The trail (No. 43) takes off south about a half mile after starting from trail 13. The trail starts easy and gives plenty of time to warm up before getting into the higher and steeper sections above Pyramid Lake (5,910’). The trail to Upper Ball Lake (6,708’) is well established the entire way. Once you reach Pyramid Lake follow the trail to the south (left side) of the lake. It winds around and up the east side until it tops out on a small ridge and drops into the upper lake. Ball Peak is immediately in front of you and above the lake on the southwest side.

Northeast Ridge
Class 1
From Pyramid-Ball Lakes Trailhead 7.0 miles RT – 1,855’ gain

If your goal is just to reach Ball Peak, there are three immediate ways to do it once you reach Upper Ball Lake. Since Ball is above the cirque which holds the lake, your goal is to get to the other side of the lake and ascend either Northeast Ridge (to the right as you face the lake), continue to the southeast side of the lake until you see Lower Ball Lake and ascend the couloir or venture out onto the grassy but relatively gentle east face.

The drawback to the Northeast Ridge route is the large boulders on the right side of the lake. There is no way around these. Once you manage to get past this spot it’s an easy and gentle ridge that goes directly to the summit. It is not the most direct route but it is impossible to miss the distinctive ridge (Crest) that goes to the summit of Ball.

East Coulior
Class 2
From Pyramid-Ball Lake Trailhead 6.75 mile RT – 1,855’ gain

The trail reaches the lake and stops about in the middle on the east side. You will see many social trails and campsite spots. Your aim is the south (left) side of the lake. Cross the outlet from the lake right where it dumps off south toward Lower Ball Lake. Work your way to a prominent chute on the left side of the summit. From here you are only about 600’ vertical below the summit but this is where the fun begins. The couloir is not difficult but it takes some class 2 work to get up the center of it. Stay in the middle until it chokes off. The easiest way to surmount this section is to step out onto the solid granite slabs to your right. In the early season, this coulior will be filled with snow.

The top of the chute reaches the crest. The summit is directly along the crest to the north (south) about 200 yards. The easiest way is to cross over to the west side. Some people prefer to stay on the east side above the lake. To the north you will see the crooked crest which connects to Pyramid Peak.

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