Scramble up North Twin

Date of trip: 08/20/2011

Mileage: 7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 4500 Feet

Time: 8:20 Hours

Class: 3

Partners: Zach, Margo, Tom

GPS Track: NA

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
North Twin110813444Lost RiverLeslie, IdahoNoNo43.9290, -113.335
Red Cone Peak10286386Lost RiverLeslie, IdahoNoNo43.9305, -113.3491

Trip Report

I had an open weekend and knew in advance. Based on who responded, I came up with a trip idea... North Twin in the southern Lost Rivers. It was a peak that Tom, Zach, and Margo had not done. In addition to that, it is a peak with a lot of prominence and sits in a beautiful area.

Zach, Tom, and I headed over from Boise and met Margo in Arco. Margo then got in with us and we headed for the trailhead. Zach's vehicle did an excellent job and got us up Elbow Canyon beyond where we expected to start the hike.

It was a bit late when we started, but despite a few clouds, it seemed to be a nice day. We headed up Elbow Canyon, expecting to turn south into the drainage that would lead us to the saddle between North Twin and Peak 10286. However, in the thick trees, we missed the drainage and headed too far east. We started up the ridge and when views opened up, we realized our mistake. Instead of continuing up an unknown route, we simply lost a bit of elevation and traversed into our planned ascent drainage.

Once in the drainage, we could finally focus on climbing the peak. North Twin's northwest face towered over us in this drainage. Our focus was now on getting to the head of the drainage and ascending a cliff band that separated us from our saddle at 9900'. As we approached the cliff bands, we saw several gullies cutting up them. Tom and I had picked one from a distance and as we neared, that route worked out.

Now we had some easy terrain for 500' to the saddle. At the saddle, we ate, drank, and rested. We could see the west ridge of North Twin and were a bit intimidated. It looked steep and possibly loose. Tom was not having a great day, so he took an extended break at the saddle.

As we made our way up the ridge, we were all surprised that the route wasn't as bad as it looked. The rock was stable and any obstacles were fairly easy to go straight over. We made great time. About 1/2 way up we noticed we were being watched by a Bighorn sheep from above. We then noticed that 7 more sheep watching us from just below the summit. As we neared, they headed out, but not before several close encounters.

In addition to watching the sheep's movement, we also noticed Tom was starting up the peak and making good time.

We never ventured off ridge crest and climbed any rock walls that confronted us. This kept us on great rock. Finally the steepness lessened for the final 100 feet to the summit. Once we summited, it wasn't long before Tom made it too. We did the normal summit rituals... food, water, photos, peak identification, and catching our breath. We then headed down.

At the 9900' saddle, we unanimously voted to add a second peak to our day. Peak 10286 sat right above our saddle and looked impressive. With only 400 feet to the top, we headed up and were soon on its pointy summit. On top of the peak, we found a register left by Rick Baugher in 1993. In the register, he explained that the peak was named Red Cone Peak (very fitting name that appeared on a 1917 map).

While on Red Cone, the lighting had improved from earlier and we enjoyed great views. We then dropped off the peak and headed down a long and rocky drainage to Elbow Canyon. After a bit of bushwhacking through thorny brush in the bottom of this debris-choked canyon, we found an ATV track and were on easy tread back to the car.

We were all beat, but a beer at the vehicle improved spirits. A bear sighting while heading out of Elbow Canyon was neat. Then the grub at Pickles Place in Arco hit the spot.

Great day in the mountains with some great friends.


Getting There

Drive north out of Arco on US 93. Take a right and head up Pass Creek road. About a mile before entering the canyon, turn right on the signed road to Elbow Canyon. Follow this road until you see another sign informing you to turn left. Follow the road into Elbow Canyon.

The road stays good until around 6600 feet. Beyond that, it is rocky and narrow.

From the abandoned homesite (trailer, vehicle, water tank) at the head of the canyon, we were able to drive 2.2 miles.


Hiking Directions

Head up Elbow Canyon to 7800 feet. Turn south and climb up that drainage and to the saddle between North Twin and Red Cone Peak. Climb the west ridge of North Twin from that saddle.


Photos

View Slideshow

Making our way up the basin
Making our way up the basin
North Twin
North Twin
Saddle between Red Cone and North Twin
Saddle between Red Cone and North Twin
Margo climbing a steep gully
Margo climbing a steep gully
West ridge of North Twin
West ridge of North Twin
Sheep watching us climb
Sheep watching us climb
Looking down the west ridge of North Twin
Looking down the west ridge of North Twin
Sheep on North Twin
Sheep on North Twin
The west ridge of North Twin
The west ridge of North Twin
Elbow Canyon from North Twin
Elbow Canyon from North Twin
Lemhis from the summit of North Twin
Lemhis from the summit of North Twin
Margo descending just below the summit
Margo descending just below the summit
Red Cone Peak from North Twin's Slopes
Red Cone Peak from North Twin's Slopes
North Twin from Red Cone
North Twin from Red Cone
Looking south from Red Cone
Looking south from Red Cone
Tom signing the register on Red Cone
Tom signing the register on Red Cone
The 4 of us on Red Cone
The 4 of us on Red Cone
Looking south from Red Cone
Looking south from Red Cone
Views in Elbow Canyon
Views in Elbow Canyon
Red Cone and North Twin from the highway
Red Cone and North Twin from the highway




Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to Dan.
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