Range: Salmon River Mountains
Distance: 4.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 3200'
I had higher peaks planned but after noticing the Stanley/Ketchum area received some snow I decided to stick to the pavement and do Canyon Creek Peak off of SH 21. It was the last weekend I could park in avalanche alley for the season too. Canyon Creek Peak is home to many of the avalanche chutes that often close SH 21 in the winter. The parking restrictions are necessary to prevent human-triggered avalanches and to avoid stranding drivers who park before a highway closure.
The intial climb to the ridge gained about 500 or 600 feet and was very steep. I found a few game trails to avoid bushwhacking through the brush. I brought snowshoes but the first part of the hike had little to no snow. Once on the ridge I followed more game trails that mostly avoided brush but there was some bushwhacking involved. I had warmed up quickly so I put my gloves. in my pocket only to notice they were gone. I found the first one right away but dropped 150 to 200 feet to retriebe the second one. About halfway up the ridge I noticed some large animal tracks in the snow, likely wolf or bear tracks (or a large dog). The ridge steepened closer to the summit and I did a little bit of optional scrambling but nothing to difficult. Only the last couple hundred feet had knee-deep snow. The views were excellent of the Sawtooths and Salmon River Mountains. It looked like the Sawtooths had quite a bit more snow than the Boulders which I had visited the week before (must have not been too deep as Hyndman was practically snow-free a week later in the Pioneers). At the summit there is a weather station operated by the Idaho Transportation Department. Since it was cold I did not stay long and headed downhill. After grabbing lunch I descended quickly and soon reached my truck.
It was nice to squeeze in Canyon Creek Peak before the parking restrictions otherwise it would be a 12-mile trip from Banner Summit.
|View of the Sawtooths|
|Snow-covered rocks south of the summit|
|Weather Station from just below the summit.|
|Another view of the Weather Station|
|View to the south|
|View of the north summit|