Scout your next climb in Idaho
A Trail Tail Rick Baugher

Upper Trail Creek drainage to West Trail Tail. Photo by Rick Baugher.

A Trail Tail

Of the 12 nine thousand footers in Idaho's Pioneer Mountains, West Trail Tail el 9364' is the most remote. It's 7 miles in from the nearest road. From the Antelope Road (FSR 137) a little used pack trail heads up Antelope/ Trail Creek, here the Butte-Custer County line, followed by a trailless  3 mile ridge ramble to the summit. 

From the uncairned summit of East Trail Tail el 8739' this view on 5/27/09 looks west across the upper Trail Creek drainage to West Trail Tail. From Fish Creek Summit, East Trail Tail is a highly scenic ridge walk of the half day variety.

West Trail Tail. Photo by Rick Baugher.

On the other hand, plan on a full day's march to get to West Trail Tail, one of the last peaks to be climbed on the Great Lost Divide. With a prominence of only 380'~, still, there are no higher southern Pioneer peaks downrange of here. On this 6/24/09 visit, no evidence was found to suggest any previous visitors had been here. Wildlife observed: deer, antelope, elk, kestrel, cony. The yellow ridgetop bloom is draba. The rock is andesite. Snake River Plain is hazy blue in the background.

Photo by Rick Baugher.

End of the road.... International's 6 banger lorry could take punishment, but even so, how did it ever get this far up Antelope Creek? The hike in involved 3 "criver" crossings (criver= creek that flows like a wild river).

Big Lost River. Photo by Rick Baugher.

And, where does all that water go? Combine a big snowmelt with near record June rains and here's what you get. Big Lost River gushes down its normal dry bed into the desert. From the US 20/26 rest area a robust flow like this occurs maybe only once or twice a decade. At the sinks, near the south point of Lemhi Range, an ephemeral playa lake will form. Photo 6/24/09.


Rick Baugher
June 24, 2009
Peak #1371


Photos and information by Rick Baugher

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