Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wind Lakes/Grave Peak, Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho Aug 3-5, 2019
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RichP
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 9:33 pm 
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Wind Lakes lie west of the Bitterroot Divide at the base of an isolated summit called Grave Peak 8282,' the highest point for many miles around.

https://www.idahoaclimbingguide.com/bookupdates/grave-peak-by-dan-saxton/

One of the access areas is called Tom Beal Park which is driveable from highway 12 on a good gravel road up to 7000' from near The Lochsa Lodge.

We had attempted to start the hike a day earlier but massive lightning storms forced us to camp along the river at Powell. The morning was calm so we drove the 11-mile Rd 362 to the Trailhead.

Tom Beal trail drops about 1000' in two miles to the junction with Wind Lakes trail.
Tom Beal trail drops about 1000' in two miles to the junction with Wind Lakes trail.
Tom Beal Park.
Tom Beal Park.
There were many giant mushrooms along the trail.
There were many giant mushrooms along the trail.
Tom Beal Creek.
Tom Beal Creek.

From The Tom Beal Trail we arrived to the junction with The Wind Lakes Trail after losing 1100' in three miles. The next two miles regains that elevation and brought us to Lower Wind Lake at 6800.'

At the junction with The Wind Lakes Trail. This is our low point. We must now gain about 1100' in two miles to reach lower Wind Lake.
At the junction with The Wind Lakes Trail. This is our low point. We must now gain about 1100' in two miles to reach lower Wind Lake.
First views of Grave Peak.
First views of Grave Peak.
Lower Wind Lake at 6800.'
Lower Wind Lake at 6800.'
Grave Peak rises about 1500' above Lower Wind Lake.
Grave Peak rises about 1500' above Lower Wind Lake.
The bugs weren't terrible but they were vicious.
The bugs weren't terrible but they were vicious.

After setting up camp we watched a group of otters frolicking and feeding in the lake.

Otters at Lower Wind.
Otters at Lower Wind.
These guys have no lack of fish to eat in Lower Wind Lake.
These guys have no lack of fish to eat in Lower Wind Lake.
I believe there was a mom and three babies. They were more curious than shy as we watched them fish with the utmost of ease.
I believe there was a mom and three babies. They were more curious than shy as we watched them fish with the utmost of ease.
Splash!
Splash!
Cruising Lower Wind Lake and grabbing some fish.
Cruising Lower Wind Lake and grabbing some fish.

The following morning we started off for Grave Peak some 2.5 miles away which has an historic lookout built in 1924. It served until 1967 and has seen some recent restoration work including a new roof and flooring.

Zoom of Grave peak Lookout.
Zoom of Grave peak Lookout.
Upper Wind Lake, 7100' and Grave Peak. We will be hiking to the summit.
Upper Wind Lake, 7100' and Grave Peak. We will be hiking to the summit.
Grave Peak and Upper Wind Lake from The Friday Pass Trail.
Grave Peak and Upper Wind Lake from The Friday Pass Trail.
Some subalpine (Lyalls) larches grow near Grave Peak.
Some subalpine (Lyalls) larches grow near Grave Peak.
Upper Wind Lake.
Upper Wind Lake.
Friday Ridge ahead.
Friday Ridge ahead.
Friday Pass, 7900' and the crest of The Bitterroot Range.
Friday Pass, 7900' and the crest of The Bitterroot Range.
Grave Peak from near Friday Pass. The trail loses a few hundred feet here to traverse through the forest below.
Grave Peak from near Friday Pass. The trail loses a few hundred feet here to traverse through the forest below.
On the trail...
On the trail...
Nearing the top with Lake 7367 below and Friday Ridge behind.
Nearing the top with Lake 7367 below and Friday Ridge behind.
Colt Lake to the north of Grave Peak.
Colt Lake to the north of Grave Peak.
Last bit to the top.
Last bit to the top.
A cupula style lookout built in 1924.
A cupula style lookout built in 1924.
Wind Lakes below.
Wind Lakes below.
Colt Lake, 6978' below.
Colt Lake, 6978' below.
Benchmark.
Benchmark.
Some recent restoration work took place in July. A new roof and floor was installed by volunteers.
Some recent restoration work took place in July. A new roof and floor was installed by volunteers.
New flooring.
New flooring.
Far off views from Grave Peak, 8282.' An unnamed 7367' lake on the southeast flank of Grave Peak below. Looks like a nice area to visit.
Far off views from Grave Peak, 8282.' An unnamed 7367' lake on the southeast flank of Grave Peak below. Looks like a nice area to visit.
Friday Ridge, 8118.'
Friday Ridge, 8118.'
Unnamed lake 7426' below Grave Peak.
Unnamed lake 7426' below Grave Peak.

On the way down we took a spur trail at an obvious junction near the summit that dropped us down to a small, unnamed lake on the southwest flank of Grave Peak. This was likely used by the lookout as it's the nearest water source. It eventually brought us back to the main trail after passing by the unnamed lake and saved us from several hundred feet of climbing back up to Friday Pass.

In spite of this being a summer weekend and a relatively short hike, we only saw two people and a trail crew from The Selway-Bitterroot/Frank Church Foundation.

http://www.selwaybitterroot.org

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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Bootpathguy
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 9:56 pm 
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Otters @ nearly 7000' elevation!? Go figure. That's impressive. I've seen them @ 5,500' elevation and thought that was a oddity.

Cool sighting

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Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 11:41 pm 
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Yeah, really cool encounter with the otters.  Such a treat.
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tmatlack
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 2:37 am 
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Great report, cool otters, and wonderful pics "off piste" for most of us NWHikers.

Also, thanks for the heads up/reference to the The Selway-Bitterroot/Frank Church Foundation.

http://www.selwaybitterroot.org.  I am friends with one of the board members and they do good

work.
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RichP
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 5:53 am 
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tmatlack wrote:
http://www.selwaybitterroot.org.  I am friends with one of the board members and they do good

work.

I'm a member and think their program for wilderness interns is an excellent idea. It's like graduate school for aspiring wilderness rangers. An excellent opportunity for college students and military veterans. I'm surprised The WTA doesn't do something like this.

http://www.selwaybitterroot.org/internship

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