Homer Youngs Panorama photo by Don Lange
Homer Youngs Peak: In the southern Bitterroot Mountains in the Beaverhead range separating the Lemhi river from the Big Hole River, along the continental divide is a series of ski peaks with Homer Youngs dominating the skyline as the tallest peak and most obvious ski destination. The peak is the culmination of a long east west ridge that gradually ascends to 10600 feet. The ridge has many options for skiing and encompasses three distinct drainages on the north side: Kelly Creek, Heart Lake Basin, and the North Bowl. On the south all faces, gullies, and slide paths descend to Miner Creek. Access to Homer Youngs Peak is typically via the Miner Lakes Rd. In winter the end of the plowed rd is sometimes two miles from the trees in the prairie and sometimes at the edge of the trees. In spring melting allows access well passed the Miner Lakes. To reach Homer Youngs either use the Kelly Creek trail to access the upper Kelly creek basin or use the Gravelle Park two track that is located north of Miner creek. Either way it can be a long tour into this country. This is non wilderness with a fair bit of snowmobile traffic in the area. Once in the Kelly Lake Basin either ascend ridge immediately west for good north facing ski runs the or continue along the ridge to the next basin above Heart Lake to the final summit ridge. Alternately, follow Kelly Basin to the ridge dividing Heart Lake and ascend ridge to summit ridge. The descents to Heart Lake from the summit ridge are commiting and steep, until passing a spur ridge that forms a more moderate angled slope to the bench above the west side of the lake. There are a few moderate faces off the summit that have a tendency to be windblown especially directly off the summit. The alternate summit run drops due north with a couple of committing entrances into 40 degree plus slopes that continue for more than a thousand feet of vertical. From the bottom of this run returning to the vehicle in Miner or Kelly requires climbing out and into Heart Lake basin and then climbing out and into Kelly Lake basin. Exceptional high mountain tour generally reserved for springtime.