Ascent of Hyndman Peak on 2019-09-15

Climber: Dan Krueger

Others in Party:Kate Wrablik
Date:Sunday, September 15, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Hyndman Peak
    Elevation:12009 ft / 3660 m

Ascent Trip Report

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Hyndman Peak, our first Idaho 12er! Kate and I attempted this peak exactly 3 years ago, but didn't make it. It was one of our first "adventure dates" and our first attempt at anything even remotely long or high and we made ALL the noob mistakes. We took mountain bikes because we had heard the first 2.5 miles were easy, but not really being bikers we ended up just pushing them and wasting time and energy. We also started too late, dressed too warm, packed WAY too much in our packs, and didn't take enough water (or filter) - we were in WAY WAY over our heads and didn't have a good experience at all. Now 3 years later we decided it was time to go back and finish what we started... and finish we did! It's pretty amazing what you learn and how far you can progress in 3 years of climbing!

We camped at the trailhead, which has plenty of space for camping, and hit the trail just after 6:00am. Hiking in the cool morning air was great, and we made it up to about 9000ft by sunrise, which was beautiful as the sun peaked out around the face of Cobb. The trail all the way up to close to the Hyndman / Old Hyndman saddle is really nice and easy to follow. It fades out as you approach the saddle and you have to pick a line and head up. We followed some cairns that lead us too far to the right as we climbed to the saddle. The rock/footing was really good on this route, but it left us with more of the ridge to scramble. We saw another group of climbers take a more direct route that cut off a good bit of distance and a lot of scrambling, and as a result, they passed us.

From the saddle the ridge looks quite steep and intimidating, but as you head up you find out that it's not that bad. I see it as a choice of two types of terrain. If you stay right on top of the ridge there are sections of easy class 3, you WILL have to do a little climbing. If you move off the ridge you can make your way to the summit on class 2 terrain, but it's definitely not easy class 2 (more on that in a bit). We chose to stay near the ridge on our ascent route and therefore our route was class 3 (but quite easy class 3 and not exposed). After what seemed like quite a long scramble we reached the summit, 12,009ft!

The views from the summit are nothing short of amazing. ALL the major mountain ranges in Idaho can be seen, and from the summit of Hyndman you feel like you are higher than ALL of them! I can see why it was once believed that Hyndman was the tallest. We took the usual photos and had a snack. Kate was sitting right on the summit and I took a small rock out of my pocket (well diamond ring that I had carried up with me), knelt next to her, and asked her to be my wife! She said yes! This was the perfect place to propose - It's the highest summit (yet) for both of us, our first 12er, site of one of our first adventures, and a very successful ascent after failing miserably 3 years ago! Everything came together to make it a very special day for us (and hence the "10" rating I'm giving this)!

Heading back down, we decided to try descending the class 2 boulder field. This turned out to be a mistake. At first its fine, but then the farther you go the looser it gets. There were some very large boulders that were shifting around and I found it very unnerving. A boulder shifting onto your leg or ankle would be very bad up there. If you are comfortable with boulders, then this might be the way to go. We are far more comfortable with easy class 3 scrambling and tried to make our way back to the ridge by angling our way down and to the left. After a while we were out of the worst of it. If I do it again, I'm (1) taking a more direct route to the saddle on ascent and (2) sticking to the ridge going up and down. Doing so would have saved us a large amount of time and cut some distance off the hike.

Once getting down into the basin (a huge relief), things went smoothly. I left the truck with 4.5 liters of water and ran out just as we passed "Sundance" lake on the way down. I don't like stagnant water, so we continued about 1/2 mile to a small stream and filtered a couple liters before heading back down the trail to the truck. As we got back down into the aspen forest we heard some noise on the hills to the right. I looked over and spotted a HUGE herd of sheep - like 100s of them! Kate likes to make predictions before starting our hikes - this time she correctly predicted the number of cars camping at the trailhead, that we would in fact summit, and that we'd see a herd of sheep and no mountain goats... pretty impressive, but she didn't predict (or expect) the ring! :)
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Hyndman Peak ridge scramble from the Hyndman / Old Hyndman saddle (2019-09-15). Photo by Dan Krueger.
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Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5029 ft / 1532 m
    Extra Gain:25 ft / 7 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.7 mi / 23.7 km
    Trailhead:7030 ft / 2142 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Very Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 30 Minutes

Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Looking down at Johnstone Peak from the summit of Hyndman Peak (2019-09-15). Photo by Dan Krueger.
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