My hiking friend Randy Hickman and I successfully summited Hyndman Peak on Wednesday, August 20. Hyndman was our 7th “12er” (12,000 foot peak) leaving us only two summits left to complete from Idaho’s 12,000 foot mountains. The hike and climb to the top of Hyndman is very straight forward. The distance to the top and back is a 13.5 miles with an elevation gain of 5,009 feet. Tuesday afternoon we drove from Blackfoot to the trailhead south of Sun Valley turning east about five miles south of Ketchum on the road to Triumph, Idaho. One mile past Triumph, we turned left to the north. There is no sign on this road at the intersection so take the first obvious major road one mile to the east of Triumph. This road will pass some extraordinary summer cabins for those who can afford such luxuries. At the end of the road there is a parking area at the trailhead with a very clean forest service outhouse. There are several campsites just down the trail but we chose to sleep in Randy’s pickup due to the lingering chance of rain throughout the night. Wednesday morning we started out on the trail at 6:30 A.M. The first three miles of the trail has a very gentle grade towards the southwest face of Cobb Peak. At this point, the trail turns to the north and begins to gain elevation. But we were very pleased as the trail into Hyndman Basin is very forgiving as after each steep section, the trail would level out giving our legs a chance to recharge before tackling the next steep section. We made the saddle between Hyndman and Old Hyndman at 10:00 A.M. where the hike turns into a taxing class 2 scramble of boulder hopping to the summit with a steep cliff dropping off the east/northeast side of the ridge. One major difference compared to Idaho’s other big mountains in the Lost River Range was the fact that the undefined path up to the summit of Hyndman was over mostly stable rock instead of loose talus where a hiker takes two steps forward and slides one step back. We made the summit at 11:00 in the morning and after staying on the summit for 40 minutes we headed down due to the prospect of some difficult weather heading our way. We chose to down climb a long steep gully that dropped straight “south” into the upper basin rather than follow the ridge line back down to the saddle. Our choice was wise as not long after beginning our descent, lightning and thunder starting popping overhead. The gully was the quickest way down off the summit and by the time we reached the base of the gully, the thunderstorm had passed. In hindsight, I would recommend following the ridge from the saddle to Hyndman’s summit and then even given good weather would descend “ south” down the gully from the summit into upper Hyndman Basin. In the upper basin we found a rock outcrop full of amazing slickensides and rocks with very impressive micro-folds (anticlines and synclines). We each loaded up ten pounds or so of rock samples into our back packs and both found an 8-10 pound sample that we held in our left hand as we hiked out. We packed those rocks for five very long miles making our way back to the trailhead at 4:00 P.M. Hyndman is described as the easiest of Idaho’s big mountains and compared to Idaho’s other 12,000 foot peak, is a relatively easy hike and scramble with a virtual highway to the top. Hikers Note: both Randy and I are 51 and in pretty good shape, but nonetheless our muscles and joints were pretty stiff and sore for several days following the hike.
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