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Johnstone Peak - 9949 Feet


Early morning sun on Johnstone Peak. This was taken from an area near the start of the hike.

Trip Report (12/19/2004):
Kevin D. was interested in getting out and I did not want to pass up on the clear December weather the mountains were seeing, so we planned a snowshoe up Johnstone Peak near Sun Valley. Tyler from Jerome had emailed me asking to join me on a trip sometime, so I invited him along and he met us near the start of our snowshoe.

My department's Christmas party was the night before the trip, so I only ended up getting a couple of hours of sleep before our 5 AM departure from Boise. That lack of sleep (or excess of partying) from the night before would haunt me the whole day. While I was able to pull off the 3,500-foot ascent, I was in no condition to break trail for the group too often and did not feel so swell at times. Luckily, Kevin was having a good day and Tyler is a college track runner (enough said!), so they were able to break a fine trail.

We utilized the south ridge, which is accessible from the Hyndman Creek Road. See the "Drive" section for details on the road's condition. Follow the initial steep slopes up to a gentler ridge that leads you to Point 8004. You will then drop to a saddle. From the saddle, follow a narrower ridge, with some rock towers on it up to Point 8823. From that point, we headed northeasterly, to a small saddle at around 9,200 feet. We then headed up a treeless, rounded ridge, topping out southeast of the true summit. We followed a tree covered ridge, which led us to the base of the summit. Here a open, low-angled slope led us to the summit.

The entire ridge provides incredible views of Cobb, Old Hyndman, and Hyndman peaks. When you reach the top, views open to the north and west. Ryan Peak in the Boulders was particularly impressive.

Note that when you are looking up at the peak from the starting point and when it is visible a bit higher up the route, the highpoint is on the far left, not the round knob that appears to be the highest from those angles.

Trip stats:
Time: 6.5 hours
Length: 6.5 miles
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 3500 feet
Class (difficulty): 2

Map:
Topozone or topo with the route drawn on it.

Drive:
Turn east onto the East Fork Wood River Road from Highway 75. The turnoff is about 5.5 miles south of the town of Ketchum. Reset your odometer. You will reach the small village of Triumph at 5.8 miles, just keep heading east on the road. Shortly after Triumph the road becomes dirt. Continue east on the road when you see the turn-off for the Hyndman Creek trailhead at 7.2 miles. Take a left onto Forest Service road 203 at the fork. The road is plowed until you reach a fork where a branch heads off to a public residence and FS 203 drops down a small steep stretch and crosses Hyndman Creek. If you have a car, stopping here will only add 1/2 a mile each way. If you have a 4x4 and the snow is not too deep, you can continue on 1/2 a mile until you reach Bear Gulch coming in from the north. Park here and head up the steep start of the south ridge.

Route:
Routes come in from all directions and trails pass on the east and west sides of the peak.

We snowshoed the peak in winter and used the south ridge. Follow the initial steep slopes up to a gentler ridge that leads you to Point 8004. You will then drop to a saddle. From the saddle, follow a narrower ridge, with some rock towers on it up to Point 8823. From that point, head northeasterly to a small saddle at around 9,200 feet. Follow a treeless, rounded ridge, topping out southeast of the true summit. Briefly follow a tree covered ridge to the base of the summit, where you will reach an open, low-angled slope that can easily be followed to the top.

Pictures: Click on the pictures below to see the full-size version.
Hyndman Peak
Hyndman Creek.
Hyndman Peak.
Johnstone Peak from a little higher.
topping out on Johnstone Peak
Rocky Ridge around 8500 feet.
Elk carcass near the summit.
Kevin and Tyler topping out.
our route on Johnstone Peak
Magic Valley in fog.
The 3 of us on top.
Looking down at our route on Johnstone Peak.
Grays Peak
Ryan Peak
Grays Peak to the south.
Hyndman, Old Hyndman, and Cobb.
Ryan Peak in the Boulder Mountains.




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