From Vienna Peak
seldom-visited peak sits on the southern edge of the Sawtooth mountain range of Idaho. It is outside of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, but still within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). Because it is relatively tall (~#29 in terms of the tallest Sawtooth Peaks) it offers an outstanding view of the Sawtooths.
The peak sits above Eureka Gulch and Beaver Creek. Both these drainages are part of the Atlanta Claim, which is considered to be part of the Wood River mining district. This district was opened up in 1878, but like many mining areas was abandoned soon after. There are the remnants of ghost towns at the nearby Sawtooth City and Vienna sites. Reportedly the old Eureka Gulch mining camp site is still in evidence.
If you climb this peak by the Eureka Gulch route, you will walk by the Ruby Mine, one of the mines of the Atlanta Claim. According to mindat.org
, the Ruby Mine yielded ruby silver, also known as pyrargyrite
(apparently these two minerals are hard to distinguish and often found together). However, there are not a lot of tailings, so the mine must not have been worked much.
Besides the tapped-out mines, Eureka Gulch has another value: it is home to mountain goats and wolverines. As such, it has been identified as a fragile alpine environment. Eureka Gulch was formed by glaciers in the Pleistocene, and the Eureka moraine is still visible. A student at Idaho State University (ISU) wrote a thorough master's thesis
on the glaciation of the area and the location of the moraines.
The [img:675441:alignright:small:From the Alpine Lakes Creek trail]author accessed this peak from the Alturas Lake trailhead.
To get to the trailhead, drive approximately 30 miles south of Stanley (or 35 miles north of Ketchum) on Highway 75. Take the well-marked Alturas Lake turnoff and drive to the lake. At the lake, turn right and follow the (still paved) road past the lake, where it turns into a rough dirt road that is passable by passenger cars. The trailhead is at the road's end, where you will find a large parking lot and concrete toilet.
Note that the Alturas Lake Creek trail is open to motorcycles.[img:675440:alignright:small:From Vienna Peak]
Alternately, you can climb this peak from Beaver Creek (see the routes section).
You can probably climb this peak from just about any direction, but one of the two known routes up this peak will provide the easiest access and climb:
From the trailhead (7100'), [img:675439:alignright:small:Eureka Gulch route map]walk west about 1/2 mile up the Alturas Creek trail. After you cross the creek (on a big steel bridge), look for an old road or way to the left (south). This turns into a more positive trail as it traverses back to the east. Eventually it crosses the creek coming out of Eureka Gulch and starts to head uphill as a real road. This route follows Trail #90 of the SNRA
, which is open to motorized vehicles. The road was cleared in 2010
by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. Follow the road to the mines, then pick a rib to climb steeply uphill and access the summit ridge.
About 4 miles one way and 2980' gain. Class 2.
The book Idaho: A Climbing Guide
shows this as the primary (only) route. Drive up Beaver Creek past the old Sawtooth City site and climb from the south. The condition of the road and the aesthetics of the route are unknown to this author.
This peak is just outside of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area.
This is snow country, so check ahead for road conditions. If climbing in snow season, also check the avalanche report.
Alturas Lake has several really nice Forest Service campgrounds. There is also dispersed camping along the dirt road on the way to the trailhead.[img:675444:alignright:medium:Summit ridge]
External LinksSplattski trip report
Sawtooth National Forest
Smiley Creek web cam (choose View 2)
Stanley cam and current weather
Sawtooth national Forest Avalanche Center
For additional information on this climb and other peaks in the area, please see Tom Lopez's excellent book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide