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Top of Harrison Peak Hike #416

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Top of Harrison Peak Hike #416

Trail #217


Aug 22, 2011…Top of Harrison Peak…Tr #217 To #6…hike # 416

We’ve been to the top of this peak a couple of times before…Oct 2006 on snowshoes at 34°, and July 2007 at 85°. It is always a struggle to get there. Today Jim needed to get a bit further up to the tip than last time despite my protestations.  HA!

People come from all over to climb the sheer sides of this very distinctive peak. Not being technical rock climbers, we did discover though that there is a more vegetative route around the backside so of course we had to try for it. The first time we climbed it in 2006, on snowshoes, when the brush was still mostly under snow, we got close. Just 20’ from the top, but the ice was too dangerous to proceed any further, and the second time in 2007, we made it. Today is the 3rd time.

Nice blue sky day was predicted, with some light wind. 65°. There was one rig at the trailhead. From trail #217, we picked up trail #6, the trail in from Bonners Ferry. We met a couple coming in looking for the lake. About a mile down this trail we cut into the thick alder and rhododendron and began to bush whack and pick our way to the top. It took two hours.

The views from 7250’ are amazing and once we got to the top, took lots of pics. We had to squeeze our way thru a few boulders and I tried not to look down. Even now when I look at the pics and where I was standing, I get butterflies in my stomach. Jim headed up the craggy edge to the top and I couldn’t watch. When I heard him yell down to me, I knew it was time to take pictures of him up there. Once he got back down, I began to relax. No way would I go up where he was. We could see Harrison Lake, Two Mouth Lakes, Priest Lake, Lake Pend Oreille and one unnamed but very pretty lake. Wow. Sat down and while enjoying the views of our ‘playground’ while we ate our lunch. These gorgeous views are so worth the trip to get up there.

Now for the trip down. I knew it was going to a challenge, because Jim kept changing his mind as to which way we should go. Been there, done that before. The GPS was no help, possibly because the leader didn’t know how to use this 4th GPS that he has owned. We got lost and disoriented. He says the manual is so difficult to figure out. Thrashing and crashing thru the brush again was no fun and I was ready to get back to the trail. My knees were hurting and I was running out of steam and patience. We changed direction several times and finally, there it was! Prayer works! It was now 3:45 and took almost two hours to get back down to the trail, and from there is was another two hours to get down to the truck. Saw one grouse today and huckleberries still tiny and green. My knees were screaming by now, especially the right one. I took my water bag which still had some cool water and held it on my knee for most of the way home. The ice, unfortunately, was gone by now.

Left home                    8:15

Got to T.H.                  9:15

Started up                   9:30

Top of peak                 1:30

Junction                      4:15                

Got to truck                 5:15  (1 hour from junction) 

Total miles hiked          9 miles  

Total hiking time           7 hours, 45 minutes


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Author info

Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

Tagged as:

Lake Pend Oreille, hiking, Priest Lake, rock climbing, Bonners Ferry, Harrison lake, Trail #217, grouse, Harrison Peak, Trail #6, Two Mouth Lakes, asters

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