OverviewA one day climb of Octoberfest and Hidden Peak. 4,700 elevation gain over 8 miles. Recommend that either one does just Octoberfest, Octoberfest and Hidden Peak together, or commit to the full circle: Octoberfest, Hidden Peak, Wet Creek Peak and South Wet Creek Peak, as the IdahoSummits group did. Once you are at Wet Creek Peak, it's easier to continue around than to back track.
A longer but different approach to the basin can be made via Bear Lake and the approach is described in the South Wet Creek Peak page and the Bear Lake route description in IdahoKid's Southwest face variation page.
Once you are in the basin, you can summit any of, or combinations of, the four peaks. However, if you are going to do Octoberfest, then the approach presented here will take less time (and energy).
Octoberfest LegThis trip was inspired by the IdahoSummits 2006 outing. I was looking for something to solo, because I never have soloed a peak before. Guys solo all the time don't think twice about it, but I get lost in town so it was a big deal.
On Dan's (IdahoSummits) recommendation I went after Octoberfest. I also used IdahoKid's beta. It was a beautiful fall day and the weather promised to hold. With gps and trip reports in hand, I left Pocatello at 5:30 a.m. and reached the trail head and was hiking by 8:30 a.m. The trail is well maintained and takes you in and out of trees and through a meadow.
While on the trail, you watch for an obvious ridge to a high point south of the summit that is the start of the saddle traverse to the summit. As you begin to see the ridge, you can either take the trail all the way to the ridge and go up, or do what I did and look for thinner pass through the trees and bushwack the forest, catching the ridge on the other side. Just make sure you continue to climb.
After you get to the saddle point, the route mellows, but still ascends steadily to the summit. During this traverse I had plenty of time to see and evaluate moving to the second leg of this route, Hidden Peak. I summitted Octoberfest at 11:15. Here is Wet Creek Peak from Octoberfest's summit.
Hidden Peak Leg
Here is Hidden Peak from Octoberfest's summit. I had mapped Hidden Peak in case Octoberfest went well. I spent 15 minutes on Octoberfest summit and grabbed a snack...the weather was suppose to hold all day and even if it took the whole rest of the day to do it, i had a headlamp if it got dark. So, I went for it.
The easiest approach is to descend, aiming toward Hidden Peak, the 800 ft backside of Octoberfest to the basin, cross the basin and hike over to the base of Hidden Peak and then ascend Hidden Peak staying near the eastern ridge. This is the steepest section of the mountain, but not nearly as steep as it looks from Octoberfest. You keep going in this direction until you better see the main ridge that goes to the summit. Continue on solid talus and trend toward the main ridge staying well right of, and away from, the cliff walls.
You will reach the main ridge and head upward on it toward the summit the rest of your approach. As you continue on the main ridge you will reach of section of small, steppable ledges that you will work around, always returning near/next to/on the ridge. There might be a time or two in the ledges where you'll need/want to put a hand down.
At the end of the ledges you will see the false summit.
Continue on and you will be rewarded by the true summit: a block you can walk up or make an easy climbing move or two to obtain. I summitted around 1:05.
There are great views of McCaleb, Diamond, Big Southern Butte, and Bell Mountain possible on even a slightly hazy day.
Getting DownFrom the summit of Hidden Peak you get an excellent view of Octoberfest. You'll notice that you can't directly traverse to the saddle point you need to reach to descend the backside ridge to the main trail, as there is a deep, long shoot in the way.
You'll basically retrace your route from Hidden Peak summit to the basin, re-ascend Octoberfest near where you came down, but going straight up almost the entire 800 ft before you are high enough to traverse above the shoot.
Instead of summiting the saddle point, contour around its face on a small trail that is easy to find (I hit this spot at 3:15), and then descend the ridge, go back through the woods, and connect with the main trail. I got a little hung up in the woods because I entered at a different point than I had exited in the morning. If you get twisted around on your route, it will probably be in here. Keep bushwacking in a downhill direction and you'll make it back out. You should be moving perpendicular to the main trail, so keep you eye out for it after you leave the woods. You should cross it at worst. Return via the trail to the trail head and your post-mountaineering refreshments (takes about 1.25 hr).
Getting ThereFrom Arco: Take US Highway 93 north of Arco to the Pass Creek Road. Turn right on the Pass Creek Road. Follow this road 12 miles to the Pass Creek Summit. At Pass Creek Summit turn left onto the Loristica Road. Follow this road 1.7 miles to the fork in the road (there is a sign). Stay to the left passing the Loristica campground area and continue to a second campground where a gate and the Wet Creek Peak/Bear Lake trail head begins. I made it with a low clearance vehicle.
Essential GearSunscreen, if you are out on a sunny day, there is little shade after leaving the Wet Creek/Bear Lake trail. The same goes for water.
Red TapeNone. Idaho is wild and free.
External LinksIdahoSummits 2006 outing description.
South Wet Creek Peak approach via Bear Lake Gully approach.
Octoberfest Peak and Hidden Peak