Little Fall Creek Peaks

Date of trip: 06/28/2015

Mileage: 8.32 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3283 Feet

Time: 6:45 Hours

Class: 3

Partners: John F., Tom

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Little Autumn Peak10340360BoulderSun Valley, IdahoNoNo43.8709, -114.2818
Little Fall Peak10356496BoulderSun Valley, IdahoNoNo43.8783, -114.2787
Big Fall Peak10350330BoulderSun Valley, IdahoNoNo43.8805, -114.2685

Trip Report

About a month prior to the end of June, I had let John and Tom know that I had an open weekend at the end of June. They put it on their calendars, and as luck would have it, plans stuck and we were able to all make the trip.

As the date got closer, the weather forecast for Idaho was for record breaking heat. We backed off our original plans a bit, but stuck with a fairly aggressive day to nab the 4 10,000 foot peaks that rim the Little Fall Creek drainage.

We left Boise on Saturday afternoon and had a leisurely drive over followed by dinner in Sun Valley before heading up and over Trail Creek Road. Mosquitoes chased us from our proposed campsite at Park Creek and we settled on Phi Kappa Campground a bit further down the road.

I'm not big on getting up early, but with the heat planned for the Sunday, I gave in and agreed to a 5am wake-up.

In the morning, we drove up Little Fall Creek Road to around 7800'. We only stopped here because it offered a nice spot to park in the shade and I felt I'd pushed my Traverse far enough. In hindsight, this was the last turnout before a creek crossing and the road became exceptionally rough anyway.

We started hiking at 6:10am... not bad at all. The initial hike to 9200' was following an old mining road that worked up the canyon. It was shaded, cool and pleasant. We reached the cabin and end of the road. John explored the cabin a bit and Tom and I readied to cross the creek and start up the slopes to attain the east ridge of Little Autumn Peak (10340'). This was a grunt until we reached the ridge, where the slope angle lessened. During this "grunt", we also were now in the full sun... not bad at 8am, but sure to get hotter as we went.

Soon we stood upon our first peak of the day and could see the other 3 before us. I ate a quick bite and then started heading toward the next goal, Little Fall Peak (10356'). While dropping to the saddle connecting Little Fall Peak to the one we'd just climbed, I could see into a green meadow just below us. It was filled with elk grazing and lying around. It was a really neat scene. I backtracked a little to not spook the animals so John and Tom could get a look. As we continued to the saddle, the elk eventually spotted us and moved into the trees. The cow calling was neat to listen to, but I did feel a bit bad that we interrupted the herd on such a fine morning.

The route from the saddle to the top of Little Fall Peak was fairly mellow and soon we were standing on our second summit of the day at just 9:30am. After a few photos and locating Rick Baugher's summit register, it was off to the next peak.

The next peak was Big Fall Peak (10350'). This peak had the looks of a big challenge. It had a huge cliff on it's west face (directly in front of us) and what looked to be a challenging set of cliffs between us and the summit.

As we approached the base of the peak, John stared up at the monolith of cliffs and decided it was worth an attempt. Tom followed me along the base of the cliffs, as we followed ledges and gullies to the south face. John's route worked and as soon as we reached the south face proper, I could see him above us. He was higher, on better terrain, and feeling a breeze. Tom and I were on steep, loose terrain with no wind and in the direct sun. Oh well, you can't win them all.

We eventually joined John atop of our 3rd peak of the day. I was hot, tired, moving slow, and out of water... so when Tom mentioned not going over to the 4th peak, I was quick to agree. The gain over to the peak really wasn't an issue, but the extra mile and questionable steep descent were.

So Tom and I dropped down easy slopes and caught a nice trail angling towards the cabin and road out of the canyon. Meanwhile, John headed over to his 4th peak of the day.

As we hiked out, Tom and I noticed John a few hundred feet above us on a nasty looking slope... well, he made good time! We plowed on, eventually making it back to the vehicle with shade and cold beers awaiting us! John joined us within a few minutes.

Good day to be in the mountains with great friends. These peaks offer exceptional views of Idaho's big mountain ranges.


Getting There

Make your way up Trail Creek Road from either Sun Valley or Mackay. This road is well-graded and open to all vehicles. Little Fall Creek Road is found between Phi Kappa and Park Creek campgrounds. It is signed. This road is fairly rough and narrow, but a high clearance vehicle should easily get you to 7800'. Beyond 7800', the road is more challenging with a few sections with large rocks to navigate (primarily between 8000' and 8200').


Hiking Directions

Follow the jeep road in Little Fall Creek to 9200' (it ends at an cabin). Cross Little Fall Creek and make a beeline for the east ridge of Little Autumn Peak. Once on Little Autumn Peak, drop to the 9860' saddle between it and Little Fall Peak. After Little Fall Peak, drop east into the 9800' saddle between it and Big Fall Peak. After that, drop back down into the Little Fall Creek drainage or continue onto Peak 10300.


Photos

View Slideshow

Hiking up the old mining road
Hiking up the old mining road
Beautiful morning
Beautiful morning
John and Tom near an old cabin at 9200'.
John and Tom near an old cabin at 9200'.
Ascending Little Autumn Peak (Tom Lopez photo)
Ascending Little Autumn Peak (Tom Lopez photo)
Little Fall Peak
Little Fall Peak
Tom and John on Little Autumn Peak
Tom and John on Little Autumn Peak
Elk in the basin below us
Elk in the basin below us
Looking back toward Little Autumn Peak
Looking back toward Little Autumn Peak
John nearing the top of Little Fall Peak
John nearing the top of Little Fall Peak
Register on Little Fall Peak
Register on Little Fall Peak
Group shot on Little Fall Peak
Group shot on Little Fall Peak
Kent and Ryan from Little Fall Peak
Kent and Ryan from Little Fall Peak
Big Fall Peak (bad lighting, sorry)
Big Fall Peak (bad lighting, sorry)
Scouting a route on Big Fall Peak  (Tom Lopez photo)
Scouting a route on Big Fall Peak (Tom Lopez photo)
Tom nearing the top of Big Fall Peak
Tom nearing the top of Big Fall Peak
Mystery Peak from Big Fall Peak
Mystery Peak from Big Fall Peak
Tom hiking down the road... it's hot!
Tom hiking down the road... it's hot!




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