Scout your next climb in Idaho
Down Pat Rick Baugher

View SE to Expat Peak on 8/5/08.. Rick Baugher photo.

Here are three obscure peaks on and around the Patterson Divide of the central Lemhi Range. Perhaps more time was spent fussing about how to get to them than actual hiking time involved to reach them. All of the four lines of approach from the Pahsimeroi side would require the logistics of a backpack or a bivy. I was set on wanting to try these three peaks as a day hike. For this I chose the unorthodox approach of starting on the Lemhi Valley side. From the mosquito infested Mill Lakes I scampered up and over the Lemhi crest, then headed down the long dry Patterson Divide.

How sad to see that most of the enchanting whitebark pine groves had been destroyed by a combination of blister rust, climate stress, and the 2005 Falls Creek wildfire.

First up, down Patterson Divide was Expat Peak el 10042' (prominence 342'). No sign of previous summit occupation was found. This mountain rises 2500' out of Patterson Creek. When you stand on this summit you will feel like an expatriate, for you are very far from your homeland. These young treeline whitebark give hope that the dead forest will regenerate.

Fallshead Peak. Rick Baugher photo.

The Patterson Divide offers a good lesson on how rocks of different
hardness erode over geologic time. The slates weather to slabs and
shelves. Quartzite gets frost wedged into boulder fields. The shales
have already eroded into scree slopes and ridgetop soils. View S to the north ridge of Fallshead Peak el 10383' (prominence 403'). This peak heads the farthest reach of Falls Creek. A climber's cairn was found in place, but no register.

Foolscap Peak.. Rick Baugher photo.

Foolscap Peak el 10316' (prominence 498') is positioned in the Falls
Creek drainage, one mile NW of Fallshead. The 1956 Patterson 15 minute quad shows a 10316' spot elevation, while the current 7.5' map of 1989 shows no summit elevation. The bighorn sheep in this section are very reclusive, suggesting they are transplants and not native.

View NW to Foolscap Peak from the Patterson Divide. Whoever built the cairn on 10383' also placed an identical one on 10316'.

Tweedy's Snowlover. Rick Baugher photo.

Tweedy's Snowlover (Chionophila tweedyi) is not a common plant. It can be found in snow beds in the alpine of central Idaho and SW Montana. Its one-sided inflorescence make identification easy. The plant is named for Frank Tweedy (1854-1937), a USGS Topographical Engineer and another one of those early unsung heroes of American mountaineering. He surveyed mountains for 51 years! Tweedy was also an accomplished amateur botanist, having authored the eclectic booklet "Flora of the Yellowstone National Park" in 1886. A thistle is also named for him; yet more beautiful, in my opinion, is Tweedy Mountain el 11151' in Montana's Pioneer Mountains.
Oh, before I forget, this trailless 12 mile out and back trek took me
9.5 hours. This included 3 summit inspections, 18 photo stops, lunch,
water and shade breaks. I drank all the water I carried-2.5 quarts, and spent $50 on gas. The six mile ride to the 8800' Mill Lake trailhead was as rocky as ever- something the Austrian ski instructors of Sun Valley would have called 'knochensammler' (a bone collector).

All photos 8/5/08
by Rick Baugher 8/9/08

Photos and information by Rick Baugher

Email me your route descriptions and pictures to

© 2008
Email the webmaster