Trail Creek Loop


We do a snowy three-peak loop in the Boulders- in November.

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

Michael had a day to climb and the weather report was favorable for the Sun Valley area. I had been watching the web cams and remote weather stations, and although Stanley had gotten some snow, it had missed Baldy. The Trail Creek summit weather station was showing 2" of snow. And a high in the upper 40s. After studying the trip reports at, we had a plan:

We would start by reversing Dan's trip to 10598 and 10566. Then we would see if we still had the gas to run the ridge around to Malorey and Murdock peaks.

We hit Trail Creek summit just before 8am. 32°. Bare road.

So first, we started up the steep SE ridge of Peak 10566. After just a short run through some trees and patchy, firm snow, we followed an open, bare, grassy ridge for about 1200'. Then a section of snowshoeing finally got us to some classic Boulders talus at about 9400'.

early ridge

The first part of the ridge went easily, but then we ran into a series of towers. Although it would have been much faster to simply drop down the to south and bypass them, we ended up climbing a few of them. Until we finally got a view of the actual summit, off in the distance. Enough tower scrambling, let's just get the low traverse and head for the top.

Traversing the big snowfield below the summit, I got tired of kicking the (very) hard crust and put on my crampons. Between crampons, axe, ski poles, and snowshoes, it was a full-equipment day.

Tower view

The air was mostly still, and quite clear. The views were particularly good. Borah on the left, Mystery on the right.

Mount Borah

Even with our fooling around with those towers, it was still a fast way to summit. From the car to here, about two and a half hours.


Then it was time to head over to Peak 10598. Dan's trip report spoke of a Class 3 section on this ridge (the dark rocky band just below the mid-point). How would that be with snow on it?

Peak 10598

As it turns out, not nearly as bad as it looked from immediately below. I still had crampons on, which made it interesting for me.

Michael had not bothered with crampons (at all), but I think it was still plenty interesting.

After this rock rib was attained, it was a pretty easy slog to the summit.

Class 3 step
Did I mention that there were really good views? That's the Lost River range over yonder. Lost Rivers
As we descended the west ridge of 10598, we ran into a bunch more towers. These were a lot easier than those on the east ridge of 10566, so we just followed the grooves and were soon walking the ridge. Rappell
We decided to follow it out to the saddles, then possibly head up Peak 10525. Pinnacles

Walking the ridge.

Ridge walk

Although the clock was running, we still had some gas in the tank so we agreed to do 10525, but then probably head on out. From that summit, here's what the first two looked like.

We continued around on the south ridge of 10525 to the next saddle. There was a goat trail visible heading up to the next peak, but we were done.

Two peaks
So we dropped down into the basin and hiked down the canyon of the West Fork of Trail Creek. Down in the shady areas some of the snow was calf-deep powder (and that's on snowshoes!). Although it really didn't take us that long to get out, it seemed to last a really long time. West fork

Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski