House Mountain - 7700'
Distance: 8.5 miles
Elevation gain: 4000' (cumulative)
Class (difficulty): 2
Time: 6.75 hours
House Mountain is a fairly prominent mountain located just east of Prairie, Idaho and above Anderson Reservoir. The peak was prominent enough to "house" an lookout in the past. The lookout is gone, but the concrete base remains.
Zach and I took advantage of good weather to climb House Mountain. We really had no idea what to expect for snow conditions or route. So we kind of were winging it when we hit the start of the climb (a gravel pit off the road to Prairie).
The initial hike was up a creek bed and through trees and bushes. It was miserable! After 1/2 a mile, Zach suggested we just make our way up a ridge and get out of the mess. I looked at that route and it seemed viable.
The ridge we followed was steep, but clear of snow and other obstacles. We stopped at 5700' for our first break, with a view of the rest of the route ahead. We continued north on our ridge to a point 6466'. Here we turned east and hit snow for the first time on the saddle between 6466' and 7225'. The snow was deep and hard as a rock, so we continued without snowshoes to the top of 7225'. Here the route turns north again and we followed snow fields and occassional sagebrush slopes to the summit of House Mountain.
The top had great views. One can see Danskin Peak, Bennett Mountain, the Soldier mountains, the Trinities, and Boise Mountains. In addition, the view of Anderson Ranch Reservoir is very nice.
The lookout atop House Mountain is gone, but steps and several concrete slabs remain. We could not find a benchmark or summit register, but they could have been covered by snow.
The descent off the peak went really quick and I was even able to get in a few couple hundred feet glissades.
Head toward Prairie from via the road along the South Fork of the Boise River. When the road leaves the canyon, it immediately starts to switchback. At the end of the 2nd long switchback (near where Pierce Creek and Little Pierce Creek meet), park at the gravel pit.
We tried following Pierce Creek, but it was too brushy. Staying on the north side of Pierce Creek avoids the bushwacking. We headed north up the south ridge of Point 6466' to get out of the canyon.