Mount Idaho

2012-07-28
Mount Idaho is the seventh tallest mountain in Idaho at an elevation of 12,065 feet. This was the second to last of the 12,000 foot mountains I needed to climb in Idaho and so on a nice August weekend I climbed Mount Idaho and then Lost River Mountain to complete the Idaho 12ers achievement.

Maps


Map NameLink
Topo: Mount Idaho Route topo7-5

Trip Report

Mount Idaho was the second to last Idaho 12,000 foot peak I had to climb. At an elevation of 12,065 feet, Mount Idaho is the sixth tallest peak in the state. In an attempt to finish off the Idaho 12ers I took a weekend to drive out to the Lost River Mountains and climb the remaining two peaks I had. The first of the two was Mount Idaho.

I headed out of Boise in the late afternoon and made it into the Big Lost River valley about dark. I then drove up the valley and found the Elkhorn Creek Road, drove up it a bit and found a flat place I could park my truck and went to bed. The next morning I woke up slightly after dawn and prepared to climb the mountain.

I drove my truck the rest of the way up Elkhorn Creek to the end of the 4x4 road. From there I started up Elkhorn Creek. The climb itself is fairly straight forward at the start. You head up Elkhorn Creek until you get the last fork of the creek right below Mount Idaho. From there you follow the stream to the north and climb up to the west ridge of Mount Idaho. You then follow the ridge to the mountains face, according to Lopez, "Three towers block this ridge. Climb over the first on very broken rock. Pass the second on the north and the third on the south."

Following the ridge to the face was fairly straight forward, but I ended up not realizing I already climbed over the first tower and also went over the second. On the way back I took the trails on the north side as is the better suggestion. Once near the face you follow for the most part an obvious trail with some cairns side hill you easily to the middle of the face.

The climb up the face isn't too difficult and there are goat, mountain climber trails and cairns to help guide your way. There are a few places where there have been multiple paths taken and clear trails in both. But route finding up the face was straight forward and I soon found myself atop of Mount Idaho with a grand view of the area. After finishing the climb, it was a nice fair class 3 climb and fairly direct, yet got you on the face of Mount Idaho. Because of all of that I can see why I read a few comments about it being one of the better of the 12ers climbs.

I arrived at the top of the summit a bit before 11am which was a rarity for me (as that is when I'm usually hitting the trail). The day was nice and sunny and it was calm weather so I spent a few hours just sitting atop the summit looking around. I had a grand view of Mount Borah and the whole route up to Chicken Out Ridge, across the ridge and up to the summit. With my binoculars I was able to scout the whole route and see the days group of people climbing the summit. The mountain wasn't covered with people like it was the last time I climbed it, but there was a group or two at the top and another few on chicken out that I spotted.

After enjoying my time at the summit I made my way back down the same route in which I ascended. I located where I put a really nice 6 point elk antler I had found on Elkhorn creek (about a half mile up from the trail head) on the way up. Picked it up and carried it back to the truck, then drove over to find camp near Lost River Mountain to climb it tomorrow.

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