The Fin


The Fin is an amazing peak in the Pioneer range, and an amazing climb.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Big Tom from New Hampshire was vacationing with his wife's family in Salt Lake City, so he called me up to get together. He couldn't make it up for our climb the previous day of the Chockstone Couloir, so we arranged to meet in Ketchum when I got done.

Our plan was to duplicate a climb detailed in one of Super Dave's trip reports. I planned to take it easy on Grand Mogul, and it seemed feasible.

But Tom didn't get to Ketchum until 10PM, and I was absolutely shot after the Grand Mogul. Instead of camping at the trailhead, we crashed on the side of the road just outside of Ketchum. This wasn't looking like an alpine start.

We were finally on our feet at about 8:30 the next morning. It was a beautiful, crisp morning and we immensely enjoyed the trail and the company.

Broad Canyon trail

After about an hour and a half, we got our first view of the first objective, the Fin. AKA Peak 11887, Hope-to-Stand, and now Vivian's Peak.

I like the Fin.

First view of the summit

There is a good trail all the way to Goat Lake at 10,400'. The route called for gaining the saddle on the right, then traversing the ridgeline to the summit. No problem!

Goat Lake and the Fin

Well, the "scree" was a problem. Tom is off to the right. This is the sort of stuff where entire sections of the hillside slide at once. And the blocks are big enough to cause serious injury.


But we were still moving reasonably well, despite my fatigue from the previous day. When we got to the saddle, the view of the ridge took our breath away.

Click on the picture to see it better.

Ridge view

The climbing was never very hard, but the loose rock and exposure was enough to keep the tension fairly high. Then, just as we thought we had the summit, we found both side of the pinnacle wrapped in snow. Fortunately, we only had to traverse about 10 feet, because right behind Tom is a very steep plunge that rolled out of sight over a cliff.

Traversing the snow

We got over the last obstacle, and hit the top at about 1.

But we knew we still had some work getting back.

Tom and John

It had taken us about an hour to get from the saddle to the summit, and it wasn't going to be a lot faster going back down.


Descending the ridge
The rock had lots of good edges. But it was always suspect, and the potential fall was substantial. Descending the ridge

And then our bluebird day was looking a little less so. We could see precip falling over in Mackay, and the clouds were stacking up from the west... time to get down.

I was shot anyway. Out of juice. Burned all my matches.



Looking down Broad Canyon

So instead of emulating Super Dave's remarkable climb of the Fin, Standhope, and Altair, we just cruised back to the car.

Didn't want the beer to get warm.

Looking down Broad Canyon

Mr. Natural Home | 2007 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski