"The peak's name came from a Mazama [Mazama being another peak in the Rubies] trip back in the 1960's. The locals (including my family) didn't much care for their re-naming peaks that had gone by local names for a lot of years, but a couple of the Mazama names stuck and Full House was one of them. I guess one of their members had some luck in the local casinos. Locals referred to that peak as Island Peak previously. It ain't all that in the summer, but in the winter that peak offers excellent skiing if the avalanche danger is conducive."
From Elko, turn onto SR 227 and drive about 20 miles to the turnoff for Lamoille Canyon. If you drive into the little town of Lamoille, you have gone about a mile too far. There is good signage in town and along the way.
The road through Lamoille Canyon is paved and winds and climbs for 12 miles to Roads End, at 8800'. This is the trailhead for the northern end of the Ruby Crest National Scenic Trail.
The most direct route from the TH is to head northwest for the peak's southeastern slopes. Although I have not gone this way, it appears
that this is no worse than Class 3 here and there as long as you stay north of the long granite cliffs and slabs.
Another option is to head for the saddle between Snow Lake Peak and Full House Peak. This way, too, I have not gone, but it looks
no harder than Class 3 as well. While up on the ridges and watching increasingly threatening skies, I spied what looked like some viable routes down that way had I needed to bail.
The way I went was via a traverse from Liberty Peak
, bypassing Snow Lake Peak on the east side (it is supposed to be exposed, loose, and verging on Class 5, and I was unfamiliar with the route and already had been out longer than I told my wife I'd be) and then going over Full House, on to Thomas Peak, and then down to Island Lake. Hike south from the parking area for three miles to Liberty Pass and then head northwest to Liberty Peak (Class 2). From Liberty to the saddle between it and Snow Lake Peak, there is some Class 3, and then you go over Point 10,655 before beginning the bypass of Snow Lake Peak. Expect some more Class 3 here and there as you work from the Liberty-Snow Lake saddle to the Snow Lake-Full House saddle.
Snow Lake Peak, Thomas Peak (center), and Full House Peak
The ridge between Liberty Peak and Snow Lake Peak
Once you are at the saddle, the best part of the route, sadly too short, is before you. It is the narrow, rotten-looking piece of ridge to the north. Expect some exposure, loose rock, and some Class 3/4 terrain. Once past that section, you have an easy walk to the top.
South ridge of Full House
The route from Full House Peak to Thomas Peak is also interesting. After an easy descent to a saddle, you face a menacing-looking ridge full of cliffs and gendarmes. Instead of trying to find a way up that, stay to the east and head up a ramp. When the terrain on your west side gets a little friendlier, you can hike northeast to a broad ridge east of Thomas or opt for a more direct scrambling approach by working up and north. That second way is fun Class 3 (harder if you want it-- I found a nice little Class 4 chimney that had a small overhang to deal with as well) and takes you to some interesting subsidiary summits before getting you to the true summit of Thomas. Those subsidiary summits are smaller and more challenging to climb than the main summit, so they are definitely worth the visit.
| |Thomas from Full House | |The "ramp"
Follow the ridge east from Thomas Peak for nearly a mile until you can get into a rocky gully and then descend boulders and scree to gentler terrain and then to Island Lake, from which a trail leads for two miles back to the TH.
Full House Peak and Island Lake
In all, the traverse route as described above is about 12 miles with around 3300' of elevation gain.
No red tape aside from reading and abiding by wilderness regulations posted at the trailhead.
Without needing a permit, you can camp off the trails out here. If you're doing a day climb, consider camping at Thomas Canyon Campground, which is about 3 miles down the road from Roads End. You can make summer camping reservations at recreation.gov.
Liberty Peak and Snow Lake Peak