Approach and hike
First of all, thanks to biglost
for the excellent route information. I had no trouble finding my way and his suggestions were very helpful.
Left Twin Falls about 5:30 AM and as is my "microvacation" habit, stopped in Sun Valley at The Kneadery for breakfast. Headed on up over Trail Creek. The road was in good shape, no problems. This is a beautiful drive. Once over the summit, I watched for that DBE view and sign along the road. I was a bit surpised and concerned regarding the amount of snow still on the north face as that was my planned route.
Traveled up the Wildhorse/Copper Basin road past the guard station and a couple of campgrounds and easily located the trailhead, clearly marked as Boulder Lake Creek. Since is was July 4 weekend, there wasn't much space to park.
I put on some sandals for the creek crossing (thanks to biglost
). The trail entry is apparent through the willows on the opposite side. The current was very strong; take your time. I was glad I threw in a small hand towel to dry my feet on the opposite side, before putting my boots back on. I took off up the trail about 8:45 AM.
The hike in is wonderful with a variety of steep and flat. I had difficulty finding the departure from the main trail because an avalanche and all the debris had wiped out part of the trail (amazing devastation here). I was surprised to find that there is a trail that leaves the Boulder Lake Creek trail up to the right that switchbacks up and cuts across high above towards the lake at 9800; I assumed I'd be bushwhacking through this part. Very nice hiking and the lake and views are magnificent. My camera was broken and I'm regretting that, because this is some of the most memorable scenery I've seen in the Pioneers. The trail provides a superb view of the Lost River Range, with Borah emerging first and very clearly.
The climb out of the lake
I hope someone posts a better route up and out from lake 9800. There are three fingers of rock that stand up to right and behind the lake. I decided to follow the gully on the far right, which was fairly easy, but loose. (Pictures from other trips seem to follow a more westerly route.) When I hit the top of the gully, I found that I had a poor view of the route to the saddle between DBE and point 10,942. I angled up in the general direction of DBE across some of the worst, loosest scree I've ever encountered. Keep gaining a bit of elevation as you work your way across this slope. Or better yet, try another route, possibly further to the west. This pitch was miserable.
From the saddle, I scanned the possible routes and determined I wasn't going to summit. I was alone (I know, bad idea) and had no snow gear. I couldn't locate a clear route to the top. I worked my way out onto the north face and up as far as I could, but finally turned back quite disheartened at 11,200 or thereabouts.
On the descent I was again frustrated by the slippery scree, though in a few places it speeded things along. Uneventful and beautiful hike out. Back at the trailhead (and being eaten by mosquitoes) at 4:30 PM.