After an adventurous drive up the very rough last two miles of Forest Service road, we got off to a pleasant start on the Louise Lake National Recreation Trail. After 3.5 miles, we arrived at the lake and followed the fishing trail along the west side of the lake. From the head, we scrambled up the to the saddle to the east of Middle Mountain, and then ascended the ridge to the summit, traversing to the left (south) to bypass the two false summits. The summit is aptly named, being roughly in the center of the Tobacco Roots and offering views of other 10,000 foot peaks all around us. We also had great views of the Spanish Peaks, Ruby Mountains, and the Elkhorns. Descending from the summit to the north, we had a mile ridge walk and scramble through krummholz and small cliffs. Once we hit the open spot on the ridge above Lost Cabin Lake, we scrambled down, mostly following a game trail. After an easy crossing of the outlet, we got onto the Lost Cabin Lake National Recreation Trail to head back out 4.5 miles to our starting point. A great loop in the middle of the Tobacco Root Mountains.
10.2 miles, 3,000+’ gain, 9 hours
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