Mount Breitenbach

Mount Breitenbach is the 5th tallest mountain in Idaho at an elevation of 12,140 feet. This was one of the two mountains we climbed on a multiple day trip up into the Upper Pahsimeroi River. From our camp near the end of the road East Fork to the Pahsimeroi, Jason and I took an non standard route around Mount Breitenbach's impressive north face to its south side, then up a gully on its south side.


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Topo: Mount Breitenbach Route topo7-5

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Trip Report


Mount Breitenbach is the 5th tallest mountain in Idaho and was named after a mountain climber by the name of Jake Breitenbach, who died during the 1963 American Everest Expedition. The mountain is a part of the main crest of the Lost River Mountains which contain seven of the nine 12,000+ foot mountains in Idaho. Our climb to Breitenbach's summit will be from the back (East) side of the Lost River crest as opposed to the more common routes from the west side off of highway 93.


The Upper Pahsimeroi on the back side of the Lost Rivers is where we made base camp. There is an old four wheel drive road that goes up to the junction of the East and West fork of the river and then slightly up both forks to trail heads. We made base camp slightly up the East Fork in a nice clearing right under Mount Corruption.


This trip would be Jason, John, Archimedes and myself spending a few days in the Upper Pahsimeroi climbing around in the Lost River Mountains. Rhett was going to try to join us if he could find our camp, but as the story came to pass he got a very late start (he came in on the day we left) and got lost on the dirt roads between the Little Lost River and the Pahsimeroi River, so I only got to hear of his adventure later.


Our first climb of this trip was going to be Mount Brietenbach, the fifth tallest peak in Idaho. This rugged peak has an impressive north face at the head waters to the East Fork of the Pahsimeroi. Our climb is going to take us along a trail that goes up and over the south shoulder of Mount Brietenbach. From there we will circle around to the south face, climb up into a high bowl and work our way to the summit from there.


There is a nice trail that starts at the end of the road on the East Fork and follows it up and then over into Dry Creek. Following the trail up to the saddle between the East Fork and Dry Creek was a nice hike, but had a nice trail to follow all the way to the pass. On the way up to the pass we walked in front of and got an amazing view of Brietenbach's north face.


From the pass we started to circle around the southern end of Mount Brietenbach trying not to loose to much elevation (in hindsight it was discovered that dropping a bit more elevation would have been a lot easier). The other issue we had is I was trying to see how well Archimedes was going to climb these mountains. Due to the steepness, rugged rock it was a difficult for us and Archimedes to get around. After we corrected our path and dropped some elevation and decided that Archimedes was not able to make the climb, John took a slow route to get Archimedes back to camp while Jason and I headed for the summit.


After splitting up Jason and I work our way up a steep valley on Mount Brietenbach's south face and then follow a series of ledges we could work around to the ridge just north of the summit. From there we followed the ridge south and made it onto the summit at around 7pm. After sitting on the summit for a bit we try to make our way back to camp before it got to dark, but the route was far longer than we anticipated at the start of the day. We made it back to the saddle with the trail between the East Fork and Dry Creek at just about dark which was good timing. From there we used Jason's headlight (turned out I left mine at camp) to follow the trail back to camp where a fie and dinner was waiting for us.


We left the trail head at about 10am and made it back to camp at midnight, so after a 14 hour day of climbing around Mount Brietenbach we had successfully summited it and had good food and beer to replinish our bodies and soul. The previous days hike was very taxing on our bodies, so the next day we took a break and just spent the day in camp before we then headed off to climb Leatherman Peak.

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