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Harrison Peak - Twin Flakes (II 5.8)

Nick Sweeney

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I had an incredible backpacking trip in the Selkirks earlier this month. Among other things, we climbed Twin Flakes on Harrison Peak.  The South Face Standard and Keystone routes get all the attention on this peak, but the locals agree that Twin Flakes is the best route up there. Check it out!

Full trip report with photos: https://spokalpine.com/2023/07/25/harrison-peak-twin-flakes-ii-5-8/



TR text:

I had my first “vacation alpinism” trip of the season recently when Larissa and I backpacked up to Harrison Lake to climb some of that delicious Selkirks granite. Our first day was spent swimming, eating bread rolls, and questing up a few routes just above the lake. On July 2nd, we trekked over to Harrison Peak for Larissa’s first mountain climb: Twin Flakes!

After a quick approach, I racked up and quested off onto the first pitch of Twin Flakes. Among hardcore Selkirks aficionados, this route has a reputation as the best route on Harrison Peak and I was excited to try it out! The typical Selkirks first pitch experience was in full effect: somewhat run out, ambiguous climbing is often required here to gain significant features. I found a comfortable belay and brought Larissa up.

The second pitch is among the better alpine rock pitches that I’ve climbed in Idaho. Full commitment laybacking and stemming brought me up a perfect corner to a stance, before another interlude of attention-grabbing climbing. Excellent protection allowed me to enjoy the climbing and sunshine, despite some lichen-covered rock. This ain’t the Cascades… this route might only get climbed a time or two per year.

The final pitch had some sweet face climbing before I found myself below the “rock cornice” mentioned in the Laird guidebook. Feeling the exposure, I traversed slightly right, placed two good cams under the overhang (safety first), and made a committing throw out right that allowed me to snag a secret hold and mantle onto a ledge. A few more meters of climbing brought me to the summit ridge.

The walk off descent went quickly and brought us back to camp at the lake in time for a big dinner on the lake shore. The next day, we returned to Harrison Peak to repeat the South Face standard route [ Harrison Peak – South Face (II 5.7+) ]. The final pitch of the South Face is just as good as I remembered!


Gear Notes:

We brought doubles of .3-3, a single .2, and a set of nuts along with a single rope.

Strategy Notes

Harrison Peak is easily climbed car-to-car, but camping in this area is worth seeking out. The Beehive Five Traverse [ Beehive Five Traverse (III 5.4) ] is right in the neighborhood as well! We climbed one route per day on Harrison, but experienced teams could easily climb two or three in a day on this wall, stashing gear at the base of the Standard Route.

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