Here was the plan… I had just pulled into town from working in Birmingham, Alabama and Omaha, Nebraska during the summer. Ready to get back to the mountains, I had been looking at some obscure Idaho Eleveners. However, I remembered that there were still many higher peaks that I hadn’t visited yet. I decided to go back to the things that really got me excited about being in the mountains not too many years ago… the Twelvers. The best forecast was for Monday, and I doubt I could have found a partner. I decided on Mount Breitenbach, with a straightforward class 2 route to the summit. I wouldn’t have to worry about being alone unless something extraordinary happened.
My first experience with Mount Breitenbach was back in August of 2001. I received a call from a friend from my home town that was interested in climbing the peaks in Idaho that were over 12,000 feet. Back then I thought that was a strange goal. He mentioned Breitenbach, which I also thought was a strange name. Strange goal, strange name, but I had climbed Borah and the Grand Teton with him, so I was obviously interested. The morning we went up, we parked at the wrong canyon entrance, known as the “drainage just north of Jones Creek.” We didn’t realize it until it was too late, and decided to keep going, summiting Donaldson and Church.
Years later, the Twelver bug caught up to me. Twelver ascent records were being set, and websites about Idaho mountains had tempting pictures. I decided to set that same strange goal. I have been sidetracked by all kinds of other mountains, but remembered to keep climbing the Twelvers just as I was planning for Monday. I changed peak plans the day before, deciding on Breitenbach.
It ended up being an awesome day in the Lost River Range. I’ll let the pictures tell the story…
Still low in Pete Creek Canyon. Cliffs line the route, which is nothing more than rock hopping in the creek bed.
Further along the route up Pete Creek. It looks like the wisps of clouds are flowing right into the rock strata.
Lost River Peak looms to the south of the route.
Approaching the higher end of the cirque. Lots of scree, but stable.
Snowmelt from the sunny day before, frozen on a cliff side.
Reaching the 11,400 saddle, this view greets you. The summit ridge is to the left.
Point 11,467, impressive from the valley, is also impressive on the route up Breitenbach.
From the first false summit, the rest of the route is visible. There were a couple of slightly exposed spots, but overall a pleasant hike.
Still nothing more than a Nalgene bottle on a prominent peak like this. I found some entries back to 1972.
Great views of the Lost River Range from the summit. Looking North.
Looking south. It is amazing how many of these peaks don't have names.
Looking down the Breitenbach North Face.
The East Face of Donaldson Peak. Definitely an underrated peak. Mount Church popping up behind.
Peak 11,909, Leatherman's North Peak, from the summit of Breitenbach.
The southeast face of Leatherman Peak.
Triple Peak, Peak 11,509, and other Lost River 11ers.
Point 9,499 towers over the East Fork of the Pahsimeroi.
Lost River Peak towers over the town of Mackay, located at 5800 feet.
Ross Peak, 11,724. Perhaps the most gentle of Idaho's high peaks. It is still remote, however.
Point 12,000+ is the centerpiece of the traverse to Lost River Peak. Class 4, exposure, and loose rock make this a difficult route. I was considering doing the traverse before I saw it. I changed my mind.