- Date Hiked: September 26, 2003
- Miles Hiked: 7.7
- Elevation Gain: 5,375'
- Hiking Partner(s): None
- I hadn’t been out hiking since the middle of August when I finished
the 12ers, so I decided it was time to try and get back out.
I didn’t want to drive far, but I still wanted to attempt a
relatively big peak, so I returned to the Pioneers northeast of Hailey
(ID). Old Hyndman Peak and
Cobb Peak make up the second and third legs of what is commonly referred
to as the “Trifecta” of the Pioneers.
Obviously Hyndman Peak completes the group of three peaks.
- I left Boise on Thursday evening after work and made it to the Hyndman
Peak trailhead shortly after 8:00 pm. After organizing my gear, I had a bite to eat, read for a
while, and went to sleep in the back of my Trooper.
I felt I needed daylight for the entire trip since I was biking
part of the trail, so I did not get up very early.
Although the 2.4 miles I biked only gained 800’ of elevation, I
anticipated it being difficult since I am not an avid biker.
In fact, my bike had not been ridden all summer and I had to
inflate the tires the night before.
The primary reason to bike at all was simply to speed up the
exit; I did not expect to gain much time on the way in.
- The morning was cool, but I stayed warm peddling away.
I cached my bike where the trail splits.
To the left is the main trail up Hyndman Basin to Hyndman Peak,
and to the right you ford Hyndman Creek and make your way into Big
Basin. I wouldn’t
consider the fork to be obvious, but there is some old fence posts and
wire that I kept an eye out for to help me determine its location.
My goal for the day was to start up Hyndman Basin, leave the
trail around 9,400’ and climb Cobb’s west ridge to the summit.
At that point, I would determine whether I was up to descending
the east face to attempt Old Hyndman and finally exit by way of Big
- The hike in to Hyndman Basin was uneventful, and actually, most of the
west ridge of Cobb was too. The initial section (see picture #3 below) was steeper than
the west ridge from 10,000’ to 11,000’.
As you near the summit, the ridgeline narrows and the route
finding and climbing increase in difficulty.
The guidebook I used recommended staying well below the ridgeline
which I attempted to do.
- Feeling as though I was only 100’ away from the top of Cobb, I
picked a line up a gully and gained the ridge on large slabs of rock.
It was fairly steep, but there were plenty of cracks and holds
for climbing. Unfortunately
when I came to the crest, the north face dropped off precipitously and I
was not as close as I originally thought.
In addition, the ridgeline still looked technical.
I should have traversed further east over a couple of ribs down
below and then climbed the final chute that leads directly to the
- Rather than dropping back down, I decided to try and continue up high.
I completed a difficult move on the north side of the ridge that
required me to expose myself more than I was comfortable with.
If I encountered a similar pitch, I was going to down climb and
use the class 3 route. Although
I did run into another section like the one previously described, it was
on the south side so the exposure was considerably less.
After a bit more class 3 climbing, I was on top.
A combination of the bike ride in and the final section to the
summit made me feel somewhat weak and nervous.
I was glad to have made it.
I signed the crude summit register, took several photos, and had
something to eat. It
didn’t take long to start feeling better.
- Tom Lopez’s “Idaho: A Climbing Guide” designates the east face
of Cobb as “Class 3-4”. With
the exception of the Lost River Peak and Mount Hood, both of which I
consider class 3/grade II snow climbs, I have only done class 3
scrambling. In addition to
my lack of technical climbing experience, I was also solo.
These factors made me reassess my original plans and think twice
before dropping off the summit.
- After regaining some strength, considering the route I took up Cobb,
and bearing in mind that I was going down, I finally decided to give it
a shot. When facing east on
Cobb’s summit and looking down, you essentially have three options.
You can go left and take the gully next to the ridge between Old
Hyndman and Cobb, you can go right and take the larger gully that is
apparent on the topographic map, or you can go down the middle gully.
I didn’t like the looks to the left, and Lopez defers to the
north side of the east face, so I went down the middle gully.
In addition, it appeared the most stable and seemed to provide
the best protection from my initial perspective.
- I dropped several hundred feet and was feeling very comfortable.
Although there were several sections where I had to down climb
face in, I never ran into any serious problems that couldn’t be solved
or worked around. I
continued down the chute on relatively solid rock with ample holds.
The steepness of the mountain may actually have assisted with the
climbing by eliminating any location where loose rock could build up and
cause greater obstacles. Although
this is a viable route that I did not encounter any troubles with, keep
in mind that I only went down, which in my opinion is a lot easier than
climbing up. With that
being said, anyone looking for a challenging route with over 1,000’ of
sustained class 3-4 climbing, this is it.
- Once the gully began to run-out, I found myself above a dark band of
rock that was leading me to the southeast. This band appeared to cliff-out southwest of Lake 10241, but
this didn’t concern me because I was trying to traverse back north
towards Old Hyndman anyway. Now
at the lake, I had to change gears again and start heading up to the
east ridge of Old Hyndman. Compared
to the east face of Cobb, this section of the hike was tame.
- After making it to the saddle between Old Hyndman and Point 11442, I
dropped all of my gear with the exception of a long sleeve shirt, my
camera, and some water. Although,
I only had 750’ to go, I knew it was going to be difficult as I was
pretty spent. It really
wasn’t a “bonk” where I could eat something a perk up, it was more
like “stick a fork in me I’m done”.
The ridge up to black rock dike contains stable footing on
relatively tight rock. Climbing in the dike is fun and well protected.
At the top of the dike, you are almost to paydirt with only
approximately 25’ to the summit.
- I thought the views from the top of Old Hyndman were great.
Hyndman’s east ridge looked very steep, Cobb looked impressive,
and both Hyndman and Big Basin were enjoyable.
I signed the summit register (which contained a groovy Grateful
Dead logo drawing), took some photos, and began the long journey back to
my bike. By the time I had
gotten to Lake 9758, I wanted the day to be over.
- The fatigue, bushwhacking, and route finding had taken their toll.
Getting out of Big Basin proved to be more difficult that
anticipated. My legs got
cut up on the way down, it took me longer than expected to find the old
jeep road to lead me back to my bike, and I fell down in the creek on
the way back too. On top of
that, I almost ditched my bike a couple of times on the ride out. Needless to say, I was happy to get back to the Trooper and
on my way home. Despite the
troubled exit, this was a great and challenging hike that I enjoyed
- Time Statistics (8:20 am to 5:35 pm)
- Trailhead - Cobb Peak 3:15
- Via Hyndman Basin & West Ridge
- Elevation Gain 3,850'
- Cobb Peak Summit Time 0:35
- Cobb Peak - Lake 10241 1:00
- Via East Face
- Elevation Loss (1,400')
- Lake 10241 - Old Hyndman Peak 1:30
- Via East Ridge
- Elevation Gain 1,525'
- Old Hyndman Peak Summit Time 0:15
- Old Hyndman - Trailhead 2:40
- Via East Ridge & Big Basin
- Elevation Loss (3,975')
- Total Trail Time 9:15
- (*Times and statistics utilize 7,800' as the trailhead where I
cached my bike. Otherwise add 4.8 miles, 800', and 1:20.)
- Click here to view a 2D map of
the area where this hike is located.