Big Windy ridge


I revisit Big Windy Peak, and we visit some neighbors on the ridge.

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

After climbing The Riddler on Saturday, we found a suitable campsite overlooking the Hahn townsite and upper Birch Creek. On the way up the road to this point, the road already quite rough, we passed a descending Honda. The guy rolled down his window and proclaimed, "If I had the sense God gave a golf ball, I wouldn't be here right now."

"The summit is optional, but lawn chairs are mandatory."


TrailheadTom Lopez photo

The next morning, we drove up the heinous 4-wheel-drive only Quartzite Canyon. Thinking we were re-tracing the route of the Honda, we were both amazed and re-assured. Later (too late to turn around) we realized there was NO WAY he drove down Quartzite.

But under Tom's steady hand, we made the ridge and were soon walking out the ridge to Sheep. It looks sunny and blue above, but note the haze on the lower horizon. To quote Dan, "It's Smoke Season in Idaho."

There is Sheep. Ridge doesn't look too bad. Legs feel OK. It's cool. Kewl. Trailhead

There are a few mild up and downs along the ridge, but we were enjoying ourselves.

The last 800 feet is a bit more a a grind. But not too bad, with yesterday's talus as a comparison.


Summit. I think.

It's a big, flat summit, and hard to determine the highpoint. My pick included a benchmark, but the choice was not universal. Bunch of grumpy old dudes...


No, it's not already evening. That's just the look when the sun is burning through a couple thousand feet of smoky air.

On the other hand, it's a cool silhouette of Tom descending.

Sunrise on the Pioneers

Once back to the rig, we drove the road to the cabin below Big Windy. This piece of road was not bad at all.

We had been told the main road up to Big Windy was blocked. But on inspection, we saw tracks descending the main road, what looked suspiciously like the passenger-car tires of a Honda. So with an assumption that we could make it, we were relieved as we headed up the ATV-only track toward Big Windy.

Sunrise on the Pioneers

There it is.

Sunrise on the Pioneers

It was a fairly quick climb to the peneplain; a big, flat summit.

I had been here before with Big Dan, but it was new for Tom and Larry.


Sunrise on the Pioneers

Dan and I had not had time to go for Trail Peak, off in the distance. Tom didn't feel like doing it today, but Larry and I saw an opportunity. We felt obligated to do so quickly, though, so we lit the afterburners.

No snowshoes>

Looking back at Big Windy from what turned out to be a false summit.

From the false summit to the true was about half a mile, but not much gain.

No snowshoes


We booked back to the car, then did the long (but MUCH better) main road back to the valley. Probably still a 4WD road though, unless you're driving a Honda Odyssey and have the brains of a golf ball


The pictures don't show the one sad thing about the day; the smoke. From what should have been an absolutely incredible vantage point (or series of them, the whole ridge offers great views), we saw almost nothing. We could barely make out Bear Peak.

So as evidence, here's Diamond and The Riddler from the highway on the way home. Smoke Season indeed!

Larry's trip report

Idaho Climbing Guide


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