Idaho Summits Spring Outing, Rosencrance Peaks

Little Peaks, Big Views

I’ve been lurking on idahosummits.com for 2 years–since I arrived in Boise.  It’s a great site, with lots of trip reports, photos and beta for some of the best peaks in Idaho.  Even better, the message board is the place where the Idaho climbing community meets.  The people have always been fantastic whenever I had a question about a peak, gear, or even just a hike.

So last weekend Tory and I finally had the chance to go on the Spring Outing and meet everyone.  The trip was to Rosencrance and West Rosencrance peaks, two inconspicuous summits in the Pioneer Mountains.  We got to camp just after dark Friday night and met most of the people who’s names are so familiar from the message boards and other climbing blogs: Splattski, the Fadgens, and of course Dan, the owner of Idaho Summits.  Everyone was great, and it was a pleasure to get to know them and the rest of the bunch throughout the weekend.

A (full?) moon that kept us up at night.  Pretty nice looking here, though.
A (full?) moon that kept us up at night. Pretty nice looking here, though.
The group, parked at the head of Wild Horse Canyon.
The group, parked at the head of Wild Horse Canyon.

As if that wasn’t enough, the peaks were AWESOME.  I would’ve never guess from looking at the map, and indeed the climbing was pretty one-note: climb up a steep hill (sometimes snow covered, sometimes not) until you get to the top.  But the view from the top was among the best I’ve ever seen.  The Pioneer Mountains, including the Hyndman group and Devil’s Bedstead, dominated the view to the south; to the northeast we could see the entire length of the Lost River Range, highest in Idaho; and to the North and West was a mess of mountains from the Boulders to the Salmon River Mountains, of course with Castle Peak dominating.

Making our way up the first hill
Making our way up the first hill
DBE looked magnificent to the West
DBE looked magnificent to the West
Borah, lording over all.
Borah, lording over all.
The mighty Hyndmans
The mighty Hyndmans
Lots of interesting scree on this peak.
Lots of interesting scree on this peak.
More neat rocks
More neat rocks
Last rock picture, I promise.
Last rock picture, I promise.
John and Dylan on the slope of West Rosencrance
John and Dylan on the slope of West Rosencrance

The first peak (West Rosencrance) was my favorite.  It was hard to beat that view.  The hike over to the second peak had it’s moments as well, though, and has an equally stunning view.  Rotten snow made the hike down pretty rough but we all made it safely.

Not only do I recommend these peaks (but start descending before the snow gets too soft!) but I also recommend checking out idahosummits.com, especially the message board.  Also, go on a trip with Steve sometime and try his camp cooking.

Vuyo and I on the summit of West Rosencrance
Vuyo and I on the summit of West Rosencrance

Another great weekend in the mountains.  I’m taking this weekend off (maybe) from traveling but I’ll post info from my trip to Moab sometime next week.

– – – – Rosencrance Peak & West Rosencrance – – – – 

  • Difficulty: Moderate (Class 2)
  • Distance: 9.2 miles, 7.0 with shuttle
  • Elevation Gain: 3,860′
  • Prominence: 740′, 313′
  • Elevation: 10,380′, 10,273′
  • Highlights: Incredible view.

Driving Directions: From Boise, Take I-84 east to Mountain Home, then US-20 and ID-75 to Ketchum. From Ketchum take Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road over Trail Creek Pass.  In 22.5 miles (starting from the turn in ketchum), you will take a right turn onto Wild Horse Creek Road.  In 2.1 miles you will come to an intersection with a large parking are on the right.  Turn left, and in ~0.5 mile you’ll see a fence line leading straight up the peak on the right.  Park as close as you can, that fenceline is your starting point.

Hiking Directions: Start on the left (East) side of the aforementioned fence, and hike up, up and up.  It’s pretty straightforward and in my opinion, the closer you stay to the ridgeline, the better.  If there is snow, it is pretty easy in most places to be just on the north side of the ridge to avoid the deepest snow.  You will only have to dip down once before making it to the true summit.  Once on the top of the first peak (West Rosencrance), continue along the ridge to the next high point, Rosencrance Peak (crossing one sub-peak on the way).

To get back down, either go back the way you came or descend the obvious northwest ridge of Rosencrance.  Continue down the curving ridge to the dirt 4wd track at the bottom and follow it back out to the main road.  Take a left and hike back to the vehicle (unless you’ve arranged a shuttle like we did, which cuts off 2.2 miles of road hiking).

 Want More? While you’re in the area, check out WIld Cat Canyon, just across the River (the East Fork Big Lost River) from Rosencrance.  We didn’t climb any summits over there, but it’s a nice hike that eventually leads to a lookout tower.

Vuyo and Leo playing on the summit.  Only seconds before, they were passed out in the snow.
Vuyo and Leo playing on the summit. Only seconds before, they were passed out in the snow.

Featured Image: John F. on the slope of West Rosencrance, with Angel’s Perch in the background.

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