Boulder Peak is the mountain adjacent to Trapper Peak to the south and its massive bulk is hidden from view from the valley for the most part by Trapper Pk. Another peak with many skiing opportunities, there are a few standard routes and ski descents. Access to the peak of Boulder is via the Nelson Lake trail reached via a forest service logging rd. off the Nez Perce Fork rd. Follow the trail up the ridge south of Nelson Creek until it contours west into the drainage. Follow the trail to the lake and then commence the vertical assault on the south face of the peak. There is a nice run back down to the lake. Another option for skiing is East Boulder Peak just a little bit lower and off to the east. Access is via Barn Draw and School Pt behind the West Fork Ranger District. Hike the old abandoned rd out to the ridge above school pt and then follow the trail up the ridge first to Boulder pt at 7000ft and then on up the east peak to well over 9000 ft. There are some gentle runs on the south and east sides here. Additionally there is a run off the north side down to Boulder falls that would command the attention and inspiration of any serious ski mountaineer with its 40-50 degree sustained pitch for 4000 feet right to the falls. The main chute descends through a series of rolls thatdo not require rappels. Finding a good conditions day to ski this run is difficult as in winter it is likely powder sluffing and in spring or transition somewhat icy and hard. This may be the most advanced run I have skied in all the Bitterroots. The return ski to Boulder Pt on the south side of the peak and then below to School Pt is a fun glade run with plenty of room for the most part to make turns down through the trees. From Boulder Pt there are a few more substantial north facing chutes down into Boulder Creek.
April 5, 2008- Despite the call for snow by midday and having missed thursdays perfect conditions for some parking lot climbing, we reascended to monday's ridge of East Boulder yesterday to ski another line to the falls. We found a challenging and steep line that went without cliffs from below the high point. The snow was fabulous old powder hidden in this cleft in the cliffs, and we alternated first tracks as there was not much room for all three of us to have freshies. The entrance had my attention with a slip below the cornice above the cliffs to enter on chalky hardpack. Waiting there for the others to enter safely afforded some good photos and we tag teamed each other the 4000 to the creek for lunch. Today we left it as the one run and found the trail out much less tiring! What a grand venue with plenty more to explore over the years.
February 18th- We made a half day of touring up Boulder Creek and skiing a technical line from the summit of East East Boulder at ~8250'. We skinned and bootpacked our way up from the bottom as we knew there was a cliff in the bottom that we were hoping to skirt west around. It was steep and difficult but we made the bypass and exited back into the gully to hike the final 2000' vertical to the top. Boot packing was extremely hard in the upper run where sugar, shallow snow and steep terrain conspired to try keeping us from the summit ridge. It took us a full 3.5 hours and we made the summit from the creek. Skiing back down was the fun part and we leapfrogged back down in decent powder conditions to the sneak left and plunged the final 1000 to the creek, with nothing but powder from Peak to creek!
February 13th- We made our way up Boulder Creek for another great day in very fortunate bluebird conditions. Parking was mandatory at the canoe launch on the West Fork of the Bitterroot making the approach longer than usual. We skinned up the skier broken trail until we were last and breaking new ground and headed south up the main bowl leading from Boulder Peak. The skinning on shallow powder made the approach different than most recent tours and we worked our way up through rocky and rolling terrain to the cliffband below the summit ridge. We found the vast basin inspiring with the good snow, blue sky and great views of of Trapper peak and the basins to the west. From the eastern tarn their were a few gullies that reached to the summit ridge, but the main peak is well guarded by an extensive cliff band. We skied the 4000 feet back down the moderate basin passed the falls for a fairly quick hour and a half return to the truck.