Cold Peak (Mission Mtns) April 29-30, 2023

Date: April 29-30, 2023

Leader: Forest Dean

Participants: Elizabeth Moore, Sarah Kilbourne

This 8522’ peak, with its seldom glimpsed striking west couloir, is perhaps the most remote of the
8500’+ summits in the Missions. The closest trail leads to Terrace Lake but then from there still requires
an 1100’ scramble up and over a col to just get into the Crow Creek Lakes basin. The mountain itself is
guarded on all sides by steep cliffs and the usual crappy Missions rock. The one weakness is the
aforementioned steep west facing couloir. With a little beta (thanks Brian Story) and one previous view
of the peak from neighboring Peak 8650’, the three of us set out to attempt it on this last weekend of

We decided to break the trip into two days so we could attempt the climb in the earlier morning hours
when the mountains weren’t falling apart (nothing but sunshine and way above average temps this
weekend). So, on Saturday morning we drove as far as we felt we could on the awful road to the
Terrace Lakes trailhead. We made it to a small pullout about 1.25 miles shy of the trailhead then began
hiking about 11:30am. Hiked up the road and then up the pretty good trail to about 5300’ where we put
the skis on. We mostly followed the trail as it switchbacked up the mostly open hillside to about 7200’.
The goal had been to contour across the southfacing slopes and drop into Terrace Lake, but due to the
temps and the fact there were wet slides happening everywhere, we instead skied down thru trees to
the valley bottom about ½ mile below Terrace Falls. We then had to ascend about 600’ up the valley to
the lake, arriving about 6:00pm. Set up camp along the shore of the total ice and snow covered lake, ate
dinner and watched slide after slide until the sun went down and ended the show.

We awoke at 4:30 on Sunday morning and were moving across the lake towards the col at 5:15. The
climb up to the col was pretty straightforward- cut switchbacks for about half of it, then kicked steps up
the rest of it. The south side is more open and we quickly descended down into the Crow Creek Lakes
basin while getting our first views of Cold Peak. We then beelined for the bottom of the face then
started switchbacking up to the bottom of the narrow couloir. Here we converted to crampons and
began kickstepping up the couloir. Near the top we veered up to the NE and climbed snow and a few
talus bands for another 160’ to the summit, arriving a little after 9:00am. Glorious views and pictures
ensued. On a personal note, this was the final peak on the TRM list of 8500’ Missions summits for me so
it felt good to accomplish that. The descent was pretty easy back to our skis, as we just plunge stepped.
(None of us felt like skiing the couloir as the ski conditions were pretty poor in it). We skied back to the
Terrace/Crow Creek Lakes col, reclimbed it, then back down to our camp. Got here at noon.

We took our time packing up and started the exit at a little after 1:00. Tried some sidehilling on the way
out rather than climbing all the way back to the 7200’- it kind of worked, kind of didn’t. Skiing back
down the trail was actually really good. Got back to our shoes, converted, then hiked out the rest of the
trail and road back to the vehicle at 5:30. Trailhead beers!

I believe the only reasonable time of year to climb this peak (at least via this route) is in the spring. The
steep couloir is surely a loose bunch of talus when it’s dry and would probably be miserable. On the
other hand, the Terrace Lake and Crow Creek Lakes basin are probably spectacular places to visit and
camp in the summer. Highly recommend this peak to any adventurous climber!

Fun weekend with a couple great partners! We had a lot of route finding on the approach and descent
and it was fun working as a team to keep it safe. Forest Dean

A look at the couloir on the approach
Climbing up the couloir
Summit photo!
Wolverine tracks!

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