Trip Report    

Middle & North Slide Mountain Loop

A gorgeous loop in a seldom visited part of MRNP. A great day in the mountains with lots of wildlife (ravens/elk), all the non-snow scrambling skills, and a good workout at ~15 miles/5300’ gain.

  • Sat, Jul 3, 2021
  • South Slide Mountain
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Essentially zero snow (thanks to recent record breaking temperatures ;).  Good watering opportunities at the “unnamed” Buck Lake (elevation 5580’) and the stream draining from it:


    We brought ice axes but did not need them (other than as a walking sticks).

Due to COVID carefulness (plus an interest in getting a great workout) we skipped the normal traverse from Sunrise and went with an out and back from the Ranger Creek Airstrip trailhead (famous for world class potholes ;).  This meant traversing the ridge between the North and Middle Slide summits twice, but we took our time and used a few ‘one at a time’ sections to mitigate rockfall hazards.  The key navigation tip (starting from North Slide) is to descend goat trails on the West side of the ridge to ~6000’ (to stay below cliffs), then traverse south until you reach a clearly impassable/nasty rock gulley/cliffs.  At this point you ascend more goat trails east to rejoin the ridge crest at ~6300’ for the final ~300’ (and the ‘one at a time’ sections) that lead to the summit of Middle Slide:


For some variety (plus even more ridge running) we used a slightly different route back to the cars.  Instead of descending to Buck Lake we continued on the ridge crest north until just east of Point 5585:


We then descended east through steep/heavy timber to rejoin the Sun Top Trail just north of where it crosses the stream draining from Buck Lake (a great ‘one last chance’ to pump water and soak shirts/hats in cold water).

A wonderful day with a total trip time of ~10 hours and ~5 hours up.  The North Slide to Middle Slide segment took an hour, with 45 minutes for the same section on the descent.  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.