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Peak 11,272, DO Lee Peak, WCP-9 Traverse  

DO Lee Peak

The hike into OCaulkens Lake

WCP-6 and OCaulkens Lake

WCP-7, Bighorn Basin, and OCaulkens Lake

Bighorn Basin from the DO Lee - WCP-9 saddle

DO Lee

DO Lee's north ridge

DO Lee at sunrise from Sapphire Lake

DO Lee, WCP-9, and Caulkens from Peak 11,272

on the summit of DO Lee with Peak 11,272 in the background

on the summit with WCP-9 and Caulkens in the background

Big Boulder Lakes

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.

Peak 11,272

Sapphire Lake at sunrise

Peak 11,272 and Cove Lake

Caulkens, WCP-10, and Sapphire Lake

Big Boulder Lakes

Peak 11,272's summit block

Peak 11,272 and Granite Peak
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