Baker Lake from an upper ridge of Backdrop Peak (Peak 10099).
Trip Report (8/3/2002):
Here is my trip report for Baker Peak and Backdrop Peak in the Smoky Mountains of south-central Idaho.
For my wife's first backpacking trip, I decided I would take her to Baker Lake north of Ketchum. The hike in is only 2 miles, so if things didn't go well, we could bail relatively harmlessly.
Things did go well, and we spent 3 days and 2 nights at the lake. On Saturday, I climbed Baker Peak and on Sunday I did Backdrop Peak, which sits directly west of Baker Lake.
The climb of Baker Peak was very pleasant. I crossed over a ridge south of Baker Lake and then angled southwest towards the saddle north of Baker Peak. Supposedly there used to be a trail in this area, but I saw none until just below the saddle. Once at the saddle, I followed the ridge south to the top. On top is a great view, a large cairn, and a register in a mason jar.
On Sunday, I climbed up Backdrop Peak. Backdrop Peak is the very menancing looking mountain that dominates Baker Lake. I got that name for it from several locals I spoke with... seems to make sense too. For this peak, I worked my way up the southeast ridge that starts just south of Baker Lake. In a few spots, this ridge gets a little narrow, but is manageable, with the option of class 2 climbing if you drop off the ridge a little ways. Just follow the ridge up to the point where it meets the summit ridge, then head due west. On this summit is a cairn, but no register. Like Baker Peak, an excellent 360 degree view is available. I spoke with my father on a cell phone for quite awhile before descending the northeast ridge (much less steep and better terrain than the southeast ridge) down to the lake.
Getting There: From Ketchum, drive north for 16 miles on ID-75. Turn left at the signed Baker Creek Road. Follow the road to its end at the Baker Lake trailhead. Plenty of parking is available at the trailhead.
Pictures: Click on the pictures below to see the full-size version.