Monday, July 16, 2018

Rearing Stallion Peak

Summits :  Peak 11,300'
Date:  07/08/2018
Range: Pioneers
Elevation Hain :  3700'
Distance: 7.1 miles
Time: 7 hours

Rearing Stallion Peak is overshadowed by taller peaks but has been on my to-do list for a while.  After attempting Mt. Regan and Mt. Cramer and coming up short both times within the past week (wound up on Payette Peakthe day before), I decided to head to Wildhorse Canyon.

I was on my feet by 6:30 but really did not get started until 7:00 after several stream crossings and veering off course.  Eventually I got myself back on track and bushwhacked my way to the top of the ridge.  The deadfall slowed me down quite a bit.  After a slight downhill section, I stayed south of the creek and followed the creek to a nice lake around 9100'.  Rearing Stallion Peak came into view and after taking a look at the west ridge, I thought to myself "how the heck am I going to get up this thing ?" as the west ridge looked nearly vertical.  Despite doubting if I would reach the summit, I continued on and scrambled up a short cliff band section south of waterfall to reach the upper cirque.  Once at the upper cique, I walked through a snowfield east of a tarn before boulder hopping to the west ridge.  This ridge looked better than my first glimpse from the first lake but was still challenging.  A little over halfway up the ridge, I reached the crux which involved one class 3/4 move that was exposed.  After that the terrain was class 3 to the summit.  The views of Hyndman, Cobb, Goat, Abel, Big Basin, and Brocky Peaks were spectacular.  On the descent I avoided the exposed section by climbing a short but much less exposed class 4 wall.  After that I slowly made my way to the saddle.  The only other tricky section was the descent from the upper cirque to the lower cirque.  I found a slightly easier route on the way down.  Once back at the treeline, I veered south to avoid the bushwhack that I had on the ascent and for the most part it worked.  Although the stream was fast and high, there were plenty of logs and beaver dams to pick from.  The trail stays on the east side of Wildhorse Creek and I am glad no one built a trail in the basin below Goat Mountain and Rearing Stallion Peak to keep the crowds away.

I highly recommend Rearing Stallion Peak for those comfortable with class 4 terrain.  This little drainage is one of my favorites in the Pioneers.  The scramble is also my one of my favorites too.

Reariing Stallion Peak

The Crux

Lower Lake

View of the ridge

Goat Mountain

Hyndman, Omd Hydman, and Cobb

Waterfall between the two cirques

Summit Selfie

Summit Cairn
Rearing Stallion Peak from the upper cirque

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Horseshoe Peak and Mahogany Trident

Summits: Horseshoe Peak - 11,473' and Mahogany Trident - 11,189'
Date :  07/01/2018
Range:  Lost Rivers
Elevation Gain:  4200'

After doing Pegasus Peak in the Pioneers, I decided to a shorter hike the next day.  Horseshoe Peak had been on my to do list for a while so I drove to Doublesprings Pass.  At the last minute I decided to take the east ridge as the north ridge looked like it could be more difficult albeit shorter.

After bushwhacking through mahogany, I dropped down to the creek and found a decent route along the east ridge of Horseshoe Peak.  The morning was slightly cold and there was light rain during the morning.  Eventually I made my way up and over Point 11,189, which turned out to be a peak called Mahogany Trident.  From. there I dropped off the ridge to the south for 150' before regaining the ridge.  After navigating through the class 3 ridge, the terrrain was mostly class 2 until I reached a highoint just north of Horseshoe Peak.  The rest of the way I primarily stayed on the ridge top excepte for veering to the north a couple times.  The views from the top were pretty good except Borah was shrouded in clouds.  With the wind I did not stay long but soon the clouds cleared and Borah's summit came into view.  Instead of going back over Mahogant Trident, I descended down into the cirque to the north.  That route ended up working out well for the descent as I grabbed lunch at the lake.  There were some cliff bands but they were easy to avoid.  Down low I eventually regained the ridge for easier travel, adding about 200' in gain to avoid the deadfall.

Once back at the truck I had a long drive home ahead of me, and it took me about 15 minutes to open the gate (even used my ice ax to loosen the barbed wire) as someone wound it quite tight.  Apparently I need to build up my upper body strength.  As with any public gate, always leave it as you found it but maybe not so tight so that people can easily get in and out.

It turned out to be another great day in the Lost Rivers and the weather finally cleared and warmed up.  Sometime I would like to try Horseshoe Peak from the northwest.

Borah's North Face

Summit Cairn on Horseshoe Peak

Horseshoe Peak

Mountaineer Peak

Small lake north of Mahogany Trident

The impressive Mount Corruption which I just did in May.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Pegasus Peak

Summits:  Pegasus Peak - 11,736'
Date:  06/30/2018
Range: Pioneers
Elevation Gain:  4,910'
Distance: 12.4 miles
Time:  9 hours

Pegasus Peak has been on my to-do list for a a while and is one of the higher peaks in Idaho I have not done yet.  With the long hike I probably should have camped the night before but I headed up Saturday morning.

I reached the Fall Creek Trailhead just before nine and soon hit the trail.  Pegasus Peak can be approached via the Left Fork of Fall Creek or Surprise Valley.  Since the Surprise Valley route was shorter, so decided on that route.  After going up some steep switchbacks and following the faint trail, I found a gully that was described on a TR.  The gully was steep and after encountering an impassable section, I headed south of the gully.  From there I boulder hopped and navigated through many cliff that involved class 3+ climbing.  After 2,000' of climbing, I reached the summit.  The views were excellent of the surrounding Pioneer Peaks including Standhope and Altair.  After grabbing lunch, I knew I had a long way down.  The east ridge would make for an easier descent but longer in distance.  I decided to return the way I came but in the end the Left Fork of Fall Creek may have taken less time.  On the way down I had to backtrack a couple of times to avoid treacherous terrain and eventually I reached the trail a couple hours later.  By tje time I reached my car it was 6:00 pm, a nine hour hike.

As a day hike, Pegasus Peak is a long hike from either direction but is certainly worth the effort.  The views are awesome and the Surprise Valley is quite scenic, the same case is likely for the Left Fork of Fall Creek.  Maybe I will take that route for nearby Andromeda Peak.

Looking back towards the summit.

Standhope Peak

Route I used to reach the summit

Pegasus Peak on the descent

Summit Selfie

The Devils Bedstead East from the trailhead

Monday, July 2, 2018

Last Lost Peak

Summits: Last Lost Peak - 11,280'
Date: 06/24/2018
Range:  Lost Rivers
Distance: 7.1 miles
Elevation Gain:  4,150'

After summiting Far Away Mountain, I was set on going for Cleft Peak but my truck stalled in the middle of Dry Creek, which it should of easily crossed.  Luckily it started up at 4:40 am butI decided to head closer to Mackay.  With no stream crossings and a decent road, Last Lost Peak seemed like a good choice.

After starting and shutting off my truck about tenn times, I hit the Wet Creek Trail but only followed it a short ways before heading west.  I stayed south of Wet Creek and climbed uphill along game trails before dropping back to the creek.  Originally I planned on hiking to the saddle of Ross and Last Lost Peak but the east ridge looked doable and was more direct.  As I soon found out, it was very steep with some bushwhacking.  Soon the bushwhacking was minimal and the crux of the hike was the steep scree slog..  My legs felt like lead after doing Far Away Mountain, but I eventually reached the summit without any obstacles.  There was a small water damaged register in a film canister with no pen.  Even with a pen, signing the register would have ripped the paper.  While some clouds obscured the views, the view was decent.  If I were not so tired I would have done Ross Peak too to extend the hike (did Ross this past August too).  The rest of the way down was uneventful although I followed a game trail uphill for a little too long.

I was delighted to get a hike in and not be running for help.  My truck had no issues getting home either.  While not rugged by any means, Last Lost Peak is a nice hike with great views.  It can be combined with Ross and Limestone Peaks.

Octoberfest Peak

Summit Cairn

USGS Peak

Water damaged summit register

Last Lost Peak

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Far Away Mountain

Summits: Far Away Mountain
Date: 06/23/2018
Range: Lost Rivers
Distance: 11.2 miles
Elevation Gain: Roughly 5800'

Far Away Mountain has been on my to-do list for a while since it was the highest peak in Idaho I have not done.  Last year I thought about attempting Far Away but after a late start, I decided it was simply too far away (pun intended) and attempted Paragon Peak which ended up being a miserable bushwhack and scree slog with no summit.  This time I had the advantage of camping the night before as I was in Pocatello on Friday for business.

I got up early the next morning and was on my feet by 6:00 am as I knew the hike would be a long one from Super Dave's TR.  It did not take long until I ran into my first obstacle, Upper Cedar Creek.  Luckily the stream crossing was not too fast but waist-deep so I crossed it.  About 100-feet later was the second stream crossing and the water was flowing much faster.  I stepped in the stream and quickly made the decision to turn around and find another route.  After going through the first stream crossing, I eventually found a detour adding about 200+ feet in gain.  From there I followed a quasi-trail that led me to a fork on Upper Cedar Creek.  I ended up bushwhacking my way uphill before dropping back to the south side of the stream.  After nearly 3 hours, I reached the base of the drainage I would use to climb Far Away Mountain.  At first the scree was quite stable and the going was easy.  Eventually the scree became more tedious as I made it to the base of the cliff bands.  After trying a route through the cliff bands, I opted for the safer but more tiring scree route.  About ten to noon I reached the summit.  The views were pretty good and would have been even better without clouds.  To the south the skies were darkening so I did not stay long before heading down.  There was a register and only a few people have been to Far Away Mountain, and I was the only one this year to sign the register.  The hike down was tedious as I could not scree ski and it took about 1.5 hours to get back to Upper Cedar Creek including a short lunch break.  None of clouds to the south amounted to anything but some graupel and a little hail came down but it was light.  Once at the creek I stayed on the south side of the stream and followed game trails with some sidehilling and bushwhacking.  The worst bushwhacking occurred a couple miles from the trailhead after I missed the stream crossing I took earlier.  Luckily I found a nice log to reach the game trail on the north side of the stream.  Just over 10 hours after I started hiking, I reached my truck.

It felt great to get Far Away Mountain out of the way and the next highest peak I have left in Idaho is the formidable Brocky Peak in the Pioneers which is class 4.  Nearby Paragon Peak, just west of Far Away is the next highest peak after Brocky that I have not done, but going over Lost River Peak first without snow will likely not happen.  My day turned out to be very long as I managed to get my truck stuck in Dry Creek which had two feet of water.  Luckily my truck started up the next morning just after 4:30 or I would have had to run down Dry Creek and Pass Creek Roads back to Mackay.  I don't think I could Uber a ride back to the Treasure Valley either.  Needless to say I need a more reliable vehicle as that stream crossing was not difficult and it did just fine in that stream crossing ten minutes before getting stuck.  Perhaps I should fix a few things and sell it to some unsuspecting person.

Summit Cairn
Far Away Mountain

Mt. McCaleb and Little Mac

Fast flowing Upper Cedar Creek

The impressive USGS Peak (on my to-do list as storms cut my summit stay short)
View to the north

Summit Selfie

View towards the cliff bands on the descent

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Straight Shot Peak

Summits: Straight Shot Peak - 10,730'
Date: 06/17/2018
Range: Lost Rivers
Distance: 4.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 3400'
Time: 5 hours

After attempting Decker Peak (turned back because of potential storms) in the Sawtooths, I decided to head east in hopes of better weather as the forecast was worse near Stanley and Ketchum.  I would have been fine as the only thing the clouds brought was graupel.  Once in the Lost Rivers I noticed there was fresh snow so I decided on attempting Corner Shot Peak, an impressive peak just north of Dickey Peak.

When I woke up it was raining and I could see even more fresh snow and with the description of an airy traverse on Corner Shot I decided on Straight Shot Peak.  I thought it was just a straight shot uphill to the summit.  Well for a ways it was a steep slog uphill but I made decent time.  The wind picked up and it started to snow but I reached the base of the west ridge at 8:30.  After attempting to stay on top of the ridge I quickly realized with snow that was not a good idea.  It would have been class 4+ or class 5.  After dropping off to the south side of the ridge, I tried several gullies which were class 4+ so I eventually continued east.  I almost decided to turn around but after turning back on until I found a nice route just below the summit.  Once at the summit I was greeted by breathtaking views of the fog.  Since it was cold and windy I did not linger.  On the way down I followed my tracks but in the fog I ended up staying closer to the ridge.  After trying several routes, I made my way downhill until I reached a class 4 downclimb.  I threw down my pack to only watch it roll 50 feet downhill.  After navigating through a loose handhold I was back to solid ground but I knocked some more rocks downhill that hit my pack that sent my pack tumbling another 50 feet.  Luckily there was no cliff so I knew I would be able to get to it at some point.  After downclimbing to the right of my pack I finally reached it.  Luckily my phone was still in one piece and I climbed back uphill to reach the ridge.  The rest of the way down went quickly.

Straight Shot Peak was not really the steep straight shot up the mountain I had in mind but it ended up working out and being an exciting scramble.  Eventually I would like to do this one again on a clear day and Corner Shot Peak.  Straight Shot Peak is low peak by Lost River standards but is definitely worth a visit for its class 3 scramble.

Summit

View towards the summit but not much else

My best view of Straight Shot Peak

Summit Selfie

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Smiley Mountain

Summits: Smiley Mountain - 11,510'
Date: 06/10/2018
Range: Pioneers
Distance: 8.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,300'

After doing Mt. McCaleb I decided to take Antelope Creek Road into the Pioneers as I had not been in that area before.  With a cold day in store with snow forecasted, the class 2 Smiley Mountain seemed like a good choice.

I parked before the first stream crossing on the road past Iron Bog Campground.  I probably would have made it but since the road was nasty anyways it seemed like a good idea to park.  After wading through the thigh-deep stream, I followed the road for a few miles and eventually left it at the base of Smiley's south ridge.  I was expecting the road to end earlier according to my directions but it kept going.  Gaining the ridge was steep but involved minimal bushwhacking.  Once on the ridge, the clouds moved but other than a few flurries or sleet, it was pretty dry.  The only obstacle was just a brief class 2+/3 section.  Eventually I made my way to the base of the scree-filled summit block.  Just below the false south summit, I spotted a mountain goat above me, the first one I have seen in Idaho.  It went uphill a ways before going down.  I reached the summit and had decent views of the White Knobs and Pioneers.  There was a benchmark and antlers at the summit.  I did not linger at the summit with the cold, snowy, and windy conditions.  Instead of heading directly down the south ridge, I headed southeast.  On my way down I saw a four mountain goats, two adults and two calves.  As I descended, they ran off the other side of the ridge and quickly made their way uphill, much faster than I can.  Once at the treeline I grabbed lunch and scree-skied my downhill on one section.  The last 400' were a little bit of a bushwhack but not too bad.  Once at the road it was an easy walk back to my truck.  Although cold, the stream crossing felt much warmer than in the morning.

The Smiley Lobe of the Pioneers is a beautiful area and I will definitely be back.  Although chilly, the weather remained dry for the most part and my views were not shrouded in fog so I had no complaints.

Summit Cairn

Smiley Mountain

Summit Selfie

Summit Block

Waterfall

View to the west on the south ridge