Mount Heinen


We take a spring training hike up an alternate route to Mount Heinen.

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

It was sunny in Boise, but rolling over Hilltop revealed a thick layer of cottony fog. We had a little confusion on starting points, but once we were rolling, it seemed like a great morning to be out in the hills.

As we started the hike at a little after 9, the fog enveloped us, making the route just a little hard to follow.


John navigates the fog
I wasn't exactly sure, but--ever the leader--told everyone I knew exactly where we were. I was relieved when the fog lifted so that I could finally see that we were indeed on the correct ridge. Haiku tree

As we continued up the ridge, the day continued to improve. By 10am we were in shorts and short sleeves. Julie was a little peeved because I had told her to wear long pants.

Is this really the first of April?

Julie was also a little peeved because Dan kept telling her the summit was only about an hour and a half away.

Cotton fills the valley

Her irritation quickly faded when she saw herd after herd of elk and deer. The little dots here are elk. Sorry, they didn't all fit in a single picture.

You also get a glimpse of the ridge as it appeared to us after about two and a half hours of hiking. At this point, we still haven't seen the actual summit. It was about an hour and a half away.

Elk. Elk.


Here's a classic shot of two Idaho icons: Tom Lopez, author of "Idaho, a Climbing Guide" and Big Dan, web master of

The actual summit is finally in the background, about an hour and a half away.

Idaho icons
The trail was entirely snow-free except this one patch, which was rotten and somewhat deep, especially where sagebrush was lurking just under the surface. Snow

We finally made it to the summit at around 2 o'clock. We read the summit register and ate. There was just a slight breeze.

We're all in the picture- from left to right: Tom, Erica sitting, Christian in black, Julie, Dan just under the brim of my hat, and me.

Summit shot

Then we had a long, long, knee-crunching descent. During the walk down, Dan and Tom finally settled on a round-trip distance of 14 miles and about 4000' elevation gain. We got back to the cars at around 4pm and headed home to the ice and ibuprofen.

These spring training hikes can be really beautiful, but our tender knees belie our youth.

Back to the reservoir
I've done a bunch of different routes on Heinen. This we'll call the SW ridge, shows as the route on the left. Back to the reservoir

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