Peak 10129 (Eureka Peak)


At the southern end of the Sawtooths, Peak 10129 gives great views on a sunny day.

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Peak 10129 isn't on the tip of everyone's lips. So here's a picture from the highway out on Decker Flats. This peak sits between Beaver Creek and Alturas Lake Creek, sort of west of Vienna Peak. And due south of the Alturas TH.

At 10129 feet, it's also one of the taller peaks in the Sawtooths, about 29th and just shorter than Mt. Regan. Just to the west of the peak, there is an old mining road in Eureka Gulch that climbs to the Ruby Mine (SNRA Trail #90), making easy access. It looked like a good one for early-season snow.

Pak 10129

We left the car at a gentlemanly 9am, about 31°, hiking in the shallow snow.

Trail headSean Duffy photo

As we headed up Alturas Lake Creek, we watched the map and scanned for the old road. Idaho Parks and Rec has done a good job of clearing the road, but then it looks like the FS is trying to block it off. Your tax dollars at work.

No matter- it made for an easy approach, although the road winds around in the flats for quite some distance to avoid the marshy areas and creeks. After walking for 45 minutes we had gained exactly 10 feet.

Snow hiking

Shortly after, the road started climbing. We were still only in boots, and Sean was setting a horrendous pace. Tom and I had done a bunch of hack squats in the gym on Tuesday and I was feeling it. So maybe the pace wasn't that fast, but my legs were saying otherwise.


When the snow got over our boot tops, we finally put on the snowshoes. Shortly after, we moved into the sun with better views of the upper basin.


Into the basin

When we got to about 8500' it was time for a short break: sunglasses, sunscreen, peel a layer.

Sean was wondering how much snow there was, so I got out my probe (I was carrying my ski pack and all that goes with it) and found that we were standing on about 18-20".

We passed the mine at about 8800', but there wasn't a lot to look at. We were more interested in the very steep hillside above.

Taking a breakSean Duffy photo
When we left the uppermost mine, Sean led us straight up one of the treed ridges. It was quite steep in places because we felt a need to avoid the multiple, steep avalanche gullies. As we went up, the snow got both softer and deeper. Despite Sean breaking trail almost the whole way, this section was a lot of work.
Tom on the slopeSean Duffy photo

At about 12:30, we finally hit the top of the ridge. Dang- it's a false summit.

Summit ridge

Heading north, we had to climb over a couple more false summits. I was running low on energy. The fast pace and the long time since my last meal were catching up.

Nearing the summit
We finally hit the summit right about 1pm. What views! That's Eureka Gulch below us on the left, and on the horizon that is Snowyside just left of center. Summit views

Here's a zoom of Snowyside.

Our original plan was to do a ridge walk all the way around the cirque. That would have required us to follow the ridge south behind Tom in the picture below, then around the valley to the ridge on the far side, eventually dropping off on the far right side of the picture. But I was tired, it was getting later, and the ridge has a couple thin, rocky sections that looked like they might be problematic. So we did part of the ridge, then dropped in at the head of the cirque. From there, we walked back to our old tracks in warming snow- everything was sticking and balling. When we got back to the car it was in the 40s.

This is a really scenic climb. And it was a great day.

View to the west

Mr. Natural Home | 2010 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski