Guardian of Goat Lake
Peak 11887’ is located within central Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains
, and is ranked number 19 amongst Idaho’s Highest Peaks
. The Pioneers as a whole are packed with rugged beauty and are generally considered to be one of Idaho’s finest mountain ranges. It is safe to say that this particular unnamed giant typifies many of the aesthetic qualities that make the Pioneers so appealing to those who pass through the range.
This glorious rampart’s summit ridge, which is a rooster comb of granite towers and blocks, is one of Idaho’s most impregnable mountains. … The peak’s east face offers several potential solid lines for technical routes, but no technical climbing has been reported to date. Tom Lopez, Idaho A Climbing Guide.
The peak forms a very impressive backdrop to Goat Lake. The lake boasts an elevation of 10438’, and is the highest mapped lake in all of Idaho. Many hikers take advantage of a well-maintained trail system to visit Goat Lake and nearby Betty Lake, but very few consider making an ascent of Peak 11887’. The peak generally sees no more than a couple visitors or less during most years. People are dissuaded by the imposing profile of Peak 11887’, and will generally choose nearby Standhope Peak
or Altair Peak
to satisfy their scrambling needs.
What’s In a Name?
In a sparsely populated state like Idaho, it is not uncommon for many peaks to go without official names. But most of the tallest and/or significant peaks at least have a widely accepted unofficial name. Not so for Peak 11887’, which ranks as the third highest unnamed peak in the state.
There are few different names that have been used to label the peak. It is most commonly referred to by a number designation, and “11887” is definitely one of the most well known in Idaho when it comes to “numeric only” titles. Others refer to the peak as “The Fin
”. And indeed the peak is very fin-like in appearance when viewed from Standhope Peak to the north. But many never get this perspective on the peak, which could be why the name hasn’t gained wider acceptance. Idaho mountaineering legend Rick Baugher
proposed the name “Hope To Stand Peak
” in this
thread on the Idaho Outdoors forum. The name is kind of a spin-off of nearby Standhope Peak, and helps illustrate that reaching an upright stance on top of on the peak’s pointy summit is unlikely. I personally think it should be named “Rampart Peak
” (inspired by the Lopez description). That name has a nice ring to it, and the peak does indeed appear to be an impenetrable barrier (or rampart) when viewed from Goat Lake. I’m sure many others have applied their own nicknames as well. In the end, the peak will likely continue to be referred simply by its elevation value.
On the Summit
The summit is marked with a small cairn that sits atop a pointed rock formation. There is a film canister within the cairn and a couple signatures, but no writing utensil so it’s hard to say for sure how often the summit is visited. One interesting artifact nearby is an old weathered ram’s horn from a bighorn sheep located about 15 feet south of the summit.
Of course the best things found on the summit are the views. Peak 11887’ is tallest mountain in the area, with spectacular scenery surrounding it in all directions. The first thing features to catch your eye are the towering “Pioneer Triumvirate” of Cobb
, Old Hyndman
, and Hyndman
peaks standing starkly in the distance to the southwest. The distinctive Devil’s Bedstead
can be seen farther off to the west. Also impressive is the nearby Angel’s Perch
standing above the lofty Angel Lake to the northwest, directly across the deep Fall Creek drainage. Continue turning your head clockwise and the south side of Standhope Peak
stares you in the face, with Altair Peak
a bit further away to the northeast. Look down at this point for an awesome view of Goat Lake and the other surrounding lakes and ponds, 1400’ vertical feet below. Finally, Broad Canyon drops away to the east, with the White Mountains standing vividly in the background.
Pioneer Triumvirate |
Fall Creek |
The most direct and commonly used approach to reach Peak 11887’ is to follow one of the well maintained trails from the east that climb Broad Canyon up to Goat Lake. There are other approach options including Surprise Valley or Fall Creek, but the directions below give details on the Broad Canyon route.
Driving directions to access the trailhead approaches from the Broad Canyon “Recreation Site”
are as follows. From downtown Ketchum Idaho, follow Trail Creek Road through Sun Valley, over Trail Creek Summit, to the signed turnoff for Copper Basin and Wildhorse Canyon. The turnoff is about 22 miles northeast from Ketchum, or about 19 miles southwest from US-93 if coming from Challis or Mackay. Once at the turnoff, go right (east) and follow the road for about 12 miles then turn right again (south) on Copper Basin Loop Road. Continue for another 8 miles to the side road for Broad Canyon. Follow this road for about a half mile to the trailhead, home to several picnic tables and an outhouse.
There are two trailheads at the Broad Canyon “Recreation Center”. The first one you see is the “Jarvis Trailhead”. This is the start of a well-maintained trail that climbs steadily up to Betty Lake. From Betty Lake, follow a climber’s trail up and over the saddle to the southwest leading to Goat Lake. The second “Broad Canyon Trailhead” is down the road about a quarter mile south from the campground. This trail starts off flat then climbs more steeply when you get closer to the Baptie Lake, just below Goat Lake. Going up one of the trails then down the other is a good option since it’s basically a loop. Both trailhead options require about 5 miles of hiking on good trail to reach Goat Lake.
North Ridge Scramble
There is the potential for technical climbing on the peak’s granite east face, but all known ascents to date have been via the north ridge. Once at Goat Lake, head up the trail that switchbacks up the slope towards the saddle between Goat Lake and Betty Lake. From the highest switchback prior to the saddle, leave the trail and begin traversing west along the base of Standhope Peak’s southern slopes. The rock here is pretty loose in places with the best option being to stay up higher on the slope to where it is a bit more stable. Continue gradually upwards until you reach the saddle between Standhope and Peak 11887’. Once at the saddle, the climbing gets significantly more technical. Careful route finding may keep you in Class 3+ terrain, but plan on being comfortable with Class 4. From the saddle on, stick to the top of the ridge where possible, dropping down to the east a bit as needed. Once at the base of the main summit block, there is an obvious notch to pass through to the west side of the ridge. Drop down a short distance, then “climb the stairs” up to the summit. Additional details would just be plagiarizing the guidebook
, so check there for more specifics.
It is roughly 6 miles and 4100’ of elevation gain from the Broad Canyon trailhead to reach the summit of Peak 11887’.
Baptie Lake View
Camping opportunities are plentiful in the area around Peak 11887’. The main options are the lakes that lay below the peak. Both Betty and Goat Lakes are above tree line and therefore a little exposed. There are also other smaller lakes down lower as well as several good campsites at various points along the trail.
If you prefer to go lighter and make camp closer to your vehicle instead, there are campsites available at the Broad Canyon trailhead
. But this option would make for a pretty long day-hike, and you’d likely not be taking the time to enjoy the immense beauty of the area.
No red tape, just tread lightly and dress for the lively Idaho weather.
When To Climb
The Pioneers receive quite a bit of snow, so the summer climbing season starts a bit later than the rest of the state. A snow free climb can be done most years from late July until the snow flies in late September or early October. The timing of this can vary of course.
Mountain ConditionsBelow are some good staring points for finding current conditions in the area: