- Date Hiked: August 17, 2003
- Miles Hiked: 7.0
- Elevation Gain: 5,065'
- Hiking Partner(s): Dan
- There are 9 peaks in Idaho over 12,000'. Mount Idaho is number
seven on the 12er list at 12,065'.
Nine down, zero to go.
After celebrating with a beer (I was told 10:00 am
isnít too early in eastern Idaho), I headed into Mackay to restock the
water and ice supplies. When
I got back to the Breitenbach trailhead, another vehicle was present
which turned out to be Richard (aka Summit Dawg).
I was finally able to contact Dan on the radio and he informed me
that they were just coming off the summit of Breitenbach; it was
approximately 11:00 am. I had a couple of hours to relax as Dan and Dawg descended
After the Breitenbach team returned to the
trailhead, we visited a while before Richard took off and Dan and I
decided to find the Mount Idaho trailhead.
The conditions of this road were very similar to that of
Leatherman. High clearance
is required with 4WD recommended. Anyway,
camping conditions at this trailhead were less than acceptable, so we
decided to head over to the Borah Peak trailhead for the evening and
night. We realized this
would require a 30 minute drive in the morning, but the improved camping
location was worth it.
Throughout the evening we grilled some meat,
hydrated, and talked with a few people as they finished Mount Borah.
It was decided that we needed more sleep rather than an alpine
start, so we set the alarm for 5:15 am and went to bed around 9:30 or
We awoke as scheduled, and although we didnít
feel too bad, the enthusiasm level had deteriorated from the previous
day. Our interaction during
the drive to the Mount Idaho trailhead was extremely abbreviated and
less than exhilarating. By
the time we were ready to hit the trail, it was light out and the
headlamps remained in the Trooper.
It didnít take too long to warm up, and I actually thought Dan
had set a fairly rapid pace to begin with.
We hit a steep pitch about three quarters of a mile in which
slowed us back down.
The hike starts out on a relatively well defined
trail and crosses the dry creek on a couple occasions before remaining
on the south side. The
initial section of the trail lulls you to sleep because of the easy
grade, but as mentioned above, it didnít take long for things to
become steeper. We quickly
gained some elevation and then took our first break.
Surprisingly, we were required to put on our jackets and fleece
during our first several breaks because of the cool morning.
The creek curves northeast and soon the trail
becomes faint and disappears. Route
finding was not too difficult, but nonetheless some route finding was
required. We worked our way
up the creek until we came to the base of the rib that leads to Point
11,060. The next section of the trip from the base of the rib to
Point 10,400 was steep. However,
the rock was relatively solid and the only alternative was a scree
filled gully to the east. We
opted for the rib and after climbing to 10,400í; we got our first
clear views of the west ridge of Mount Idaho.
From this point, we traversed below Point 11,060 to
the saddle between this point and Mount Idaho.
We reread the route descriptions from our guidebooks and analyzed
the route before making the last big push to our final 12er.
With approximately 1,000í to go, the first section stays close
to the ridge as you maneuver up and around several towers and blocks.
There were a couple of tricky sections, but nothing too dramatic.
Approximately half way up the ridge, we encountered
a couple of ledges which deposited us onto the west face of Idaho.
From here, it became sustained class three climbing as we worked
our way up the face on solid rock able to avoid any loose scree or
talus. We reached the
summit and briefly celebrated our accomplishment.
After reading the summit register, it became apparent that many
people have left Idaho for their last 12er.
In addition, many climbers utilize the north couloir for winter
We snapped a few photos and started the descent.
There were two longer sections on the west face where we were
able to glissade down on the scree.
We maneuvered back under the ledges to the ridge and made our way
to the saddle between Mount Idaho and Point 11060.
At this point, rather than descending the rib we climbed, Dan
suggested we try and speed things up a bit by going down the gully to
the east of the rib. We
both took off running and dropped 1,000í in a matter of minutes.
It was a lot of fun and the few times I looked back at Dan, all I
could see was a huge plume of dust.
The loose scree gave way to tighter rock, and we slowed down as
we approached the basin below Idaho.
The rest of the trip out was uneventful, although
we didnít pick up the trail until we were about a mile away from the
trailhead. In conclusion, I
have to say that I would agree with many who state that Mount Idaho is a
classic Lost River hike. The
climb has many characteristics including a trail, route finding, a
ridge, class three scrambling, great views, loose scree (if you want),
and of course a descent amount of elevation gain.
I would have a hard time believing that anyone would be
disappointed climbing Mount Idaho.
- Time Statistics (6:10 am to 3:00 pm)
- Trailhead - Summit 5:25
- Summit Time 0:35
- Summit - Trailhead 2:50
- Total Trail Time 8:50
- Click here to view a 2D map of
the area where this hike is located.