Peak 11,272 is class 3, DO Lee Peak sits at 11, 342 feet and is
class 3 on its north and south ridges, and WCP-9 sits at 11,263
and is class 2 on its south ridge.
Topo of the route
Photos by Tad Schafer
Peak 11,272, DO Lee, WCP-9 Traverse
Access is either by way of the Big Boulder Lakes or O Caulkens
Lake via Slate Creek Rd. We chose Slate Creek for the shortest access.
See a topo of the route.
Follow ID-75 north out of Stanley for 20 miles. Turn south onto
Slate Creek Rd (FS-666) and follow the road for 8 miles until the
road dead ends. Follow the trail past the hot springs, an old cinder
block building, and past the mine. At the old mine look for a left-hand
junction that crosses Hoodoo creek. This section of the trail, known
as the Slate Creek/Iron Basin trail, is no longer signed nor maintained
due to protecting the Bighorn sheep in Bighorn Basin that surrounds
OCaulkens Lake. Once across the creek follow the well-worn trail,
past old mining artifacts to a clearing. Look for a trail on the
right that takes off up the hillside. Follow the well-worn trail
as it meanders up and down the hillside above Slate Creek. Watch
for a waterfall in a mile. The terrain begins to level off and the
trail crosses Slate Creek and then a muddy bog. Beyond this point
the trail is blocked by downed trees. Hikers have rerouted the trail
around the obstacles. In a few hundred yards you will come to a
hill that overlooks OCaulkens Lake.
Leave the trail and follow the shoreline of the lake on the east
side. Beyond the lake, climb the gully and leave the trees angling
for the saddle between WCP-9 and DO Lee. At the saddle we contemplated
summiting the 2 peaks but were persuaded to the contrary by the
fast moving storm clouds. We descended to Cirque Lake and then Sapphire
Lake arriving just as hail started to downpour furiously and visibility
diminished to 20 feet. We threw up our tarp and jumped into our
sleeping bags and called it a night. The next morning we awoke to
a brilliant sunrise and a bluebird day.
Leave Sapphire Lake and find your way to Cove Lake, staying on
the east side of the lakes. Make your way to the base of Peak 11,272
and climb the 1400 foot north ridge starting in class 2 and culminating
in class 3 granite blocks and boulders, staying to the west side
of the ridge. The summit accommodates no more than 2 climbers.
On top, Castle and Lonesome Lake (Peak 11,332) are to the south.
To traverse the ridge to DO Lee and WCP-9, descend the connecting
ridge to the obvious saddle. We chose to descend below the rock
towers on the northern side, but the southern side may be also passable.
Below the towers, on the northern side of the ridge, some elevation
will have to be regained to access the saddle. At the saddle we
crossed over to the easier southern side of the ridge and followed
it toward the southern summit of DO Lee topping out on the ridge
occasionally. The traverse from the southern summit to the northern
summit is tricky as it crosses loose white limestone. We chose to
descend in a few places and then regained our elevation.
After summiting DO Lee, take the connecting ridge to the saddle
of DO Lee and WCP-9. The first few hundred few from the summit is
class 3 downclimbing. At the saddle, WCP-9 is only 10 minutes away
on easy class 2 hiking.
On top of WCP-9, Caulkens Peak looms to the north. Returning to
the saddle and having come full circle, retrace your route down
to Caulkens Lake. Keep an eye out for Bighorn. We saw 20 ewes and
lambs as we approached the lake.