Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 43.99183°N / 114.98652°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 19, 2009
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer

Reconnecting with an Old Friend

Payette Peak TopoImogene Lake Topo

I had been frequenting Facebook for a few months now and a couple weeks ago I was revisited by an old friend I haven't seen in about 14 years. When seeing the friend request and who it was, my mind was flooded with old memories and good times we used to have back in our 'wild' days'. Cruising the town of Boise, partying, mischievous pranks on each other, etc. was usually the norm for a couple summers of my life before becoming a parent, therefore when seeing Matt's friend request I HAD to accept and catch up on old times. In a message from him, he had stated how he was a huge outdoor fanatic and would absolutely love to go out on a hike with me.
'Oh really ', I thought….
Did Matt know what he was getting himself into? Conversing further revealed he had been working for the Forest Service fighting fires for the past 13 years and he felt he was up to the challenge. Nice! I had a perfect trip for us to attempt. I figured we would revisit Imogene Lake for an easy 9.1 mile hike, 1500 ft elevation gain that I'd done a couple weeks prior. (See Imogene Deathmarch Trip Report) There were two peaks I'd been eyeballing in this area, Mt. Cramer (10,716) and Payette Peak (10,211) with a couple of nice 9,500+ peaks scattered about. We decided we would take Friday off to allow for travel time and enough daylight to make the hike up to Imogene, yet let us sleep in a tad. Our departure time from Nampa would be 9:00 a.m., putting us at the trailhead at 12:00 on the dot. No other cars were on the trailhead so I believed we would be able to camp on the island at Imogene. We needed to set a good pace to ensure we got there before anyone else. Our journey now began…



Hiking up the switchbacks above Hell Roaring Lake, we decided to take a small breather. It was starting to get warm since it was now a little after 2:00 p.m., so fatigue was starting to set in. While sitting there, we could hear someone coming up the trail. Looking back it was an older couple on some pack horses which were loaded up with camp gear.
Matt and I threw our packs on and started hoofing it as fast as we could. I really wanted to get to the island at Imogene to camp. Not only was it a prime location, but rumor also had it there was a crapper located out there.
Crapper!The Shatter

Can you imagine?
Being out in the wilderness with the luxury of a crapper?!?! And to think a toilet to be our motivating factor to beat a horse team up a mountain, lol! 30 minutes from Imogene we needed to rest again. We had pulled away to give us a 5-10 minute lead over the horses, but the burning in my legs was getting pretty uncomfortable, making a break necessary. As the couple caught up to us we started the usual chit chat. Ended up they were heading for the island as well, but once finding out we were heading there they decided we could have it. That was way cool of them. They seemed impressed with the pace we were setting since they stated they must've started at the trailhead shortly after we did. The conversation soon led to whether we were carrying any firearms, which we weren't. The couple then started talking about how they had been running into alot of wolves when they camped out. In fact a couple weekends before the wolves were circling camp after dark and scared them bad enough where they actually had the barrel of a shotgun hanging out from the saddle. I spose they were plum serious about killing something, regardless of what or who it was. We let them pass once we had claim to the infamous camp site, so we slowed our pace a little. After the horses were out of site, Matt and I were chuckling a little, wondering how much of their problem was sourced around their pack horses. If I were a wolf, pack horse = yummm.

Getting to Imogene, it ended up taking us another hour to traverse around to the island. An interesting logjam at the outlet made for some nice log hopping while the trail meandered through the forest along the lakeside. What a sweet little area! Surrounded on all sides by water with a small section of rock hopping to reach the island. We even had a fire pit and logs to sit on… awesome! The campground was sheltered pretty well too with nice granite windbreaks on 2 of the 4 sides.

While searching for firewood, I was shocked. The rumors were true?!?! A closer inspection really validated the rumors as truth! Of course, I had to take a picture so you all would believe me when I say there's a crapper on that island… so read it a weep!

Looking up to Payette PeakLooking Towards Payette Peak

After a dinner of FRESH chicken and noodles in marinara sauce (yes, I made from scratch!), Matt and I found a nice area lakeside and continued to hang out there for well over an hour. There was so much to look at… and as a matter of fact our horse team was directly across the lake.
Imogene PeakImogene Peak
The horses were grazing on some fresh, tall grass while the man and wife were fishing along the bank. While sitting there, we noticed a hungry hawk flying around scoping the lake surface. Suddenly, it dove into the lake and came flying back up with a fish flopping in its' grasp. Holy cow! That was amazing. Our evening quickly descended into conversation of old times, people we knew and what they were doing with themselves. As the sun set we set our gaze above, seeing an occasional satellite float by and a meteor streak pass. It always amazes me how beautiful the night sky can be 10 miles from the nearest road. Soon my thoughts turned to home and how much more enjoyable this could be if my g-friend was by my side. Oh well, you can't have everything, right???

From the same point of view, Payette Peak was to my right. Here's a shot of the ravine we would hike up the next day to reach the peak. Payette Peak is right from center and in the background. (Yes, the pic is sposed' to be B&W). While sitting here, we decided we would forego the Mt. Cramer attempt for another day. This was due to Cramer being back the way we had come and quite frankly we didn't feel like backtracking downhill just to have to come back. That left a great opportunity to attempt a lower peak as well as Payette Peak (which I would be happy with!)

Climbing to Peak 9,777

Imogene Lake Sunrise

Matt isn't one who wakes up and cooks breakfast, and neither am I. We had discussed the previous night about our game plan for summit day which was to wake up as early as possible, get dressed, and go. Unbelievably, this 'plan' actually panned out and we were on the trail by 7:30 a.m. We were on the go, and I was even eating while trying to keep a brisk pace. Hell, the sun hadn't even come up yet, but the morning colors were really starting to shine. In fact, one of my favorite pictures from this trip was this sunrise shot overlooking Imogene that very morning as we departed.
Payette Peak Saddle Payette Peak Saddle From Below

We decided to hike to the unnamed lakes above Imogene so we could access the bowl below Payette Peak. This was pretty fun since I had never been up to any part of this area, so everything from Imogene forward was a new experience. We did some serious bushwhacking/route finding through this area until we got out of the tree line. As we started inching closer to the basin, we were starting to think of our plan of attack. After remembering Splattski's trip report and SP page of Payette Peak, I proposed we hit the highpoint on the right of the ridgeline (Peak 9,777) and follow the ridgeline to the saddle which leads up to Payette Peak. Shortly before breaking out of the tree line, we stumbled across a nice flat area with a small lake. What a nice little area for a campground/base camp! Payette Peak is on the left, Peak 9,777 is out of view on the right:

The SaddleGood View of the Saddle

View From Peak 9,777View from Peak 9,777

Climbing up towards Peak 9,777 the boulders were extremely large, the terrain was getting steep, but this was sure fun! We would climb for about 5 minutes, take a break to catch our breath, then start going hard again. Here's a look again across the basin to Payette Peak, but kind of gives a perspective of how steep things are getting:

Before we knew it, we were soon running out of rocks and boulders to climb. Wow, we were at the top already??? Oh yea! What a view! Here's a shot looking down towards the Stanley side of Peak 9,777. The feeling at this point was sheer liberation!

The Push for 10,000 ft

Nice Drop Off!Drop Off

Now the climb got interesting. We needed to follow the ridgeline to the saddle we were scoping from the basin. However, looking towards that direction revealed a mean ole' drop-off that I really wanted absolutely NO part of.
Looking Down the SpineThe Spine
I have a fear of heights and didn't feel like dying today, so I erred on the side of caution and avoided the notch. Maybe more experience in this 'Peak Bagging' would lend more courage to make the route easier, but I'll let that come another day. Here’s what it looked like from where we were sitting on Peak 9,777:

We down climbed below this section to avoid the notch, then started picking our way along the long ridgeline towards the saddle. We knew once we reached the saddle that the chances of bagging the peak was pretty good, but the terrain along this whole cirque was pretty knarly. Sliding down boulders, rock hopping, crawling, and climbing we finally made it to the saddle. Riding along the spine, our route was pretty straight-forward.

We stayed below it for a short section before Matt shot up to get a peek over the other side of the spine. Wow, what a view! Here you could see down to Hidden Lake and over to Elk Peak. From the same vantage point, I took another picture looking down to Imogene where we had just come from. Remember, we are the island on the furthest lake, with Peak 9,777 being left from center. You can also see the drop-off we were faced with. Unfortunately pictures cannot give you the perspective of how high we really were, but we were at 10,000 ft at this section. Sweet, eh?

Peering Over the SpineLooking Towards Elk Peak
View Down to Imogene LakeLooking Back Towards Imogene

After taking the pictures, there was only a short section of straight uphill to go. It wasn't too difficult, and the adrenaline really helped for the final push. Once to the top, we searched for a summit register, but could not find one. LOL, we sat there for a good 30 minutes soaking in the views from all directions. The wind was blowing out of the West pretty good, making it a good idea we brought our windbreakers. It was truly amazing and a totally memorable time of my 1st trip up to 10,000 ft.

Looking West, we could see a storm brewing. We decided we would get off the mountain and pack up camp. It was a good thing because the night we left got pretty cold. Overall… I'd say it was a SWEET trip to end my year in the Sawtooth Mountains. I've had a good one!


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-15 of 15

Deltaoperator17 - Sep 22, 2009 11:29 am - Voted 10/10

Great Read

Nicely done Kris!



Smoove910 - Sep 22, 2009 11:38 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Read

Thank you!

I appreciate the feedback. It's hard for me to put my feelings on paper, but I really sat and tried on this go around since this trip meant so much to me. I've had better trips, but finally making it over 10,000 ft was my goal once I started training in January. Hopefully I can add a couple more before the year is out.

Warmest regards,


climber555 - Sep 27, 2009 4:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Nice Report

Sounds like you guys had a blast. Sure is a good feeling when you reach your goals in the mountains. Nice report and good luck on your next attempt.


Smoove910 - Sep 27, 2009 5:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice Report

Thank you for the encouraging words. Hoping to go for another dayhike in a week, so maybe I can do up another nice report.



Smoove910 - Sep 28, 2009 8:54 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks for sharing

Yea, it was a blast! I'm trying to get another trip planned before the weather turns on us and starts snowing. Hopefully another TR to come as well.

Thanks Alec,


albanberg - Sep 28, 2009 4:12 pm - Hasn't voted


Sounds like you guys had a good trip! Nice pics too...


Smoove910 - Sep 28, 2009 4:17 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Cool

Indeed we had a most excellent adventure. It's always a great feeling to get into some unseen territory and accomplish a 'larger than normal' task of climbing a couple nearby peaks. Being a 'newbie' to peak-bagging, I'm finding it to be a great challenge above the normal hike-in, hike-out scenario. Hopefully more to come! Thank you for the feedback,

Happy climbing,

Pack Addict

Pack Addict - Sep 28, 2009 8:42 pm - Voted 10/10

Great trek

Nice TR and really nice bunch of pixs.


Smoove910 - Sep 28, 2009 9:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great trek

Thanks for the feedback! That's a real compliment considering the quality of your own pics.



Judd97 - Sep 30, 2009 6:32 pm - Voted 10/10


photographs and a very well written trip report! What kind of camera do you use? Funny how facebook connects old friends like that, huh? Very useful for that, and for uploading photos, in my opinion.


Smoove910 - Sep 30, 2009 7:09 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Beautiful

Why thank you! I use a Fuji S7000 which I hope to retire someday for something along the lines of a D40 or D5000. I've been surprised with who I've been able to connect with from my past. But that's a good thing now that I've acquired a new hiking buddy (Matt) for future excursions. I truly appreciate feedback of pictures and TR's and it motivates me to submit more.

Happy Climbing,


ktnbs - Mar 26, 2010 9:46 pm - Hasn't voted

most excellent

report and photos


Smoove910 - Apr 2, 2010 1:59 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: most excellent

Thank you much, I'm glad you enjoyed! Keep posted within the next couple months for a plethora of other trip reports.

Happy climbing,

LIBluefish - Aug 4, 2011 10:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Very nice...

Great pix/report. I'm researching for a similar trip this September. Of the lakes above Imogene, which would you say is the best for setting up a basecamp for a couple of days of serious fishing and not-so-serious peak-bagging? Lake 8700? Better to stay down at Imogene? Thanks again for a great report.


Smoove910 - Aug 4, 2011 10:38 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Very nice...

Hey, thanks alot! September is a great time since most of the bugs are gone and the colors start to pop. As for lake 8700... I cannot recall a place to set a camp up. Maybe at the outlet on the other side. I believe there may be some potential areas between Lake 8700 and Lake 8556. Especially in Sept once a lot of the water has left the basin. However, if you prefer to take your #2's comfortably it's hard to beat the shatter on the island at Imogene. Good luck!

Viewing: 1-15 of 15



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