Bonneville Peak from Pebble Creek ski areaI was on an extended hiking vacation in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming in August 2006. I partnered up with SPer Dean and we co-completed the County Highpoints of Utah on August 22nd on Gilbert Peak in Summit County. After that highlight we turned for home and headed west. We still had some hiking to do, so we headed to southeast Idaho and Bannock County.
Fortunately, Dean has a good friend who lives at the base of Bonneville Peak near the town of Inkom. We drove into his driveway at dusk on August 23rd and spent the next few hours socializing before I headed to bed. I needed some sleep because I intended to climb Bonneville Peak early the next morning. Dean climbed it a couple of years earlier, so he was going to sleep in and get some home cooking for breakfast.
Early the next morning, I drove up the access road to the Pebble Creek ski area on Bonneville Peak. Elevation here is about 6,680 ft. There was no activity at the ski area early in the morning, so I parked, put on my pack and boots and headed up hill.
I didn’t follow the gravel road that zig zags up beneath the ski lifts. Instead, I just headed straight up between the two lifts. It looked kind of woodsy to the left and more open to the right, so I traversed to my right as I climbed and soon I passed under the right hand short ski lift and moved even further to my right. The walking was easy through mostly tall grass. I was making great progress up the hill. There was an out-of-bounds fence to my right and I followed that up. I crossed over the gravel road a couple of times, but I continued cross country.
At about 7,800ft I reached the top of the short ski lift and stumbled on the gravel road again. This time I stayed on the road and followed it up to the top of the taller upper ski lift. Elevation here is about 8,300 ft. I made incredible time for me in climbing this far, because it took just over an hour to get this far.
At the upper ski lift terminus there is a ski patrol shack. I went around behind this shack and climbed the ridge right there. It is pretty wooded and brushy around here and I was looking for a climber’s use trail. I found it behind this shack. The path is steep, but easy to follow as it made good progress up towards the summit ridge. The path led easily through a small rock band at about 8,800 ft and then reached the summit ridge at about 9,100 ft. I was still about ½ mile from the summit because I came up the ridge way to the north of the highpoint.
It was easy to walk along the ridge to the summit and I reached it just over 1 ½ hours after I started. The climb has about 2,600 ft of elevation gain and is about 5 miles round trip. If you follow the road the entire distance, it will be a considerably longer hike. I went down the same way I came up and surprised Dean by arriving back at his friend’s home much earlier than we planned.