Monument Peak - 8060', Flatiron Mountain - 7809', Trapper Peak - 7892'
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation gain: 2200'
Class (difficulty): 2
Time: 5 hours
Range: Goose Creek
I finally got some time on weekends to spend in the mountains in late May and early June, but it was ruined by a rare early summer rainy season in Idaho. So after scratching plans back-to-back weeks, I was sticking with them even with a “showers and thunderstorms likely” forecast from the weather service. I was looking for a snow climb and had found one in the Pioneers and John Platt was willing to come with.
I had a long day on Saturday, as my daughter’s softball team won a tournament in Twin Falls and we were at the fields over 12 hours. So when John called and said the forecast had worsened and that we should just do a hike in the South Hills near Twin Falls (where I was) and later in the morning, I was relieved. I was also surprised that John was willing to do something so unexciting after returning from Denali.
We met at my brother-in-law’s store. From there, we drove an hour south into the Goose Creek Range (aka South Hills). I had figured out a loop hike that would get us 3 peaks, including the range highpoint. Navigating with a map showing a narrow section of the area we were in, we didn’t get to where I wanted to get driving. Nevertheless, we parked in a spot where we could start a different loop. Since the vegatation was still wet, we decided to start the road hiking portion of the loop first.
Within an hour, we had tagged the first objectives of the day… Monument BM (the highest point in the range) and Monument Peak. From Monument Peak, we headed cross-country and re-intersected the road heading toward Flatiron Peak. The road was blocked by a large drift here, which we crossed en route to the west base of Flatiron. We then crossed through an aspen thicket, then an open hillside to the top of Flatiron. The foggy weather opened up at this point and we got good views of the surrounding terrain. The mountains were incredibly green. From the top we spotted a neat ridge walk and then bushwhack to get us down to the base of Trapper Peak. Our break atop of Flatiron was our longest of the day and the most sunny it got all day.
On Trapper we avoided any thickets and just walked through grass and under trees until the ridge opened up. After a short hike, we were on top of our 3rd summit of the day. Also on top, we were met with our first rain of the day. Nothing too bad, but enough to warrant rain jackets. We debated the way down a bit and decided on a plan. While heading down, we found a ATV trail and followed it. At some point after we had reached the bottom of the basin on the ATV track, we decided to head up a ridge thinking it would lead to the road and the saddle where we parked. Once on top, we realized we were only on a spur ridge, with another drainage between us and the ridge we wanted to be on. Some navigation on an ATV track, a bit of cross-country travel, and eventually walking on the improved road got us back to the vehicle.
It was a fun day in the mountains. I saw terrain I had only saw during the winter before that. It was all new to John. The rain held off for the most part and I was only slightly wet upon return to the truck. Twin Falls was far wetter on return as a huge thunderstorm hit the city right before we returned. We got lucky!
Take Rock Creek Canyon Road heading south out of Hansen, Idaho. Follow the road for about 30 miles. A few miles beyond the ski area the road becomes dirt. Reset your odometer and drive 4.7 miles, staying right at a fork in the road (a sign here points to Monument Peak).