Mt. Cramer


After almost 40 years, Mt. Cramer is still there.

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I first climbed Mt. Cramer when I was in my teens, maybe about 1973. I had only vague memories of that outing, so when Michael told me it was high on his list I said I was in. Then Tom and Mack, my brother and his daughter, expressed interest and the trip took on a whole new light.

So we rolled out of Boise at 5am and after parking the Mini on the pavement and tranferring to Michael's FJ for the infamous Hell Roaring road, were on our feet at the upper Hell Roaring trailhead at a little before 9. Mack said she had her hat on backwards so was ready to rock.


Not quite awake yet, I couldn't figure out what was different about the trailhead, only that it was different. On the way home, when the trail seemed to just go on and on, I had an epiphany:They moved the trailhead!

Instead of a short few minutes of trail from the trailhead to the bridge, it's now a couple miles, or at least it seems that long. Like the old road, it's straight and goes up an down. And it's ugly.


But there is a bridge, so you don't have to worry about high water (although the old wade was never that bad.... I did it with Jasmine in June when she was just 9).


So anyway, we did the trudge up to Hell Roaring, and then trudged some more up the hill toward Imogene Lake. Eventually we got a peek at our peak.



And then we got to Imogene Lake. From there, we followed our noses, hoping to run into the mythological trail to Lake 8733. We did eventually find it, but only after hiking cross-country for quite some time.

So here's how to find it:

Start hiking counter-clockwise around Imogene on the old trail. It bobs and weaves a bit, but it's there. Near the northern apex of the curve round the lake, you will start going in and out/up and down through several ribs of rock, with drainages coming downhill from your right. At the bottom of each of these slight gullies, inspect to the right carefully. One of them holds the faint trail. It's sort of buried, and there are no markers. But after a short 20 or 30 feet, it will be obvious. If you find it, it's pretty easy to follow. If not, it's not bad bushwhacking. Good luck.


This is the outlet to the little unmarked lake below Lake 8733. When you get to that first lake, you are confronted with the only tricky creek crossing.

Here's Tom coaching Mack. Good intentions, but she went in, both feet. Oh well.


We followed the trail into an adjacent drainage to the next lake, where the trail got too thin to follow. From here, we headed up the fall line instead of heading for Lake 8733.


It's basically lacing together a series of ramps and short scrambles. Fun.

As we got farther up the mountain, the views started opening up. Too bad the weather wasn't better.

Getting dressed

And then we were above timberline.

On this day, crampons and ice axe were not needed. Your mileage may vary.

Getting dressed
We walked in the snow some. That's the White clouds in the background.
Then back to the snow for a bit. Getting up

That's Profile Lake, frozen in the background below us.

Then we scrambled the blocky talus almost to the summit

At the top of the talus, there was a short, steep section of snow. Although a ice axe was nice here, it was not absolutely necessary. Mack did without.

When you get to the top of the short snow pitch, the summit is very close.

We spent quite a while on the summit. No wind. About 70°.



We read through the old registers, dating back to about 1980. We ate. And Mack dried her socks.

Then it was time to head down and enjoy the superlative afternoon lighting. Loading
Our descent route was pretty close to our ascent, except we got to walk down the glacial polish. Slippery stuff at times!

More lake views.

On the way back, we nailed the faint trail all the way to Imogene (see above for instructions on finding it).


Then we crossed the outlet of Imogene and did the long walk back to the car. The shadows were lengthening and our feet were getting tired.

We followed up this fantastic hike with dinner at The Bridge in Lower Stanley, then dodged deer and elk on the ay home, arriving a little after midnight. Tired campers.


Mr. Natural Home | 2012 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski