It was light for the rest of our trip to Togwotee Pass. The road was a bit
rough, but we made it easily. We found our trailhead, just as the trip reports
had stated... a plow out 1 mile below Togwotee Pass. Brooks Mountain sits at
11060'. It is the highpoint of a mountain the forms a horshoe around a gorgeous
basin just north of Togwotee Pass. Our route was to follow the creek that
drained that basin (staying above the creek bottom), then cut across the basin
above the treeline, then get on a ridge at 10700' and follow it to the
We headed into the trees hoping to find a trail into the basin. At first we
followed snowmobile tracks. They were paralleling the road, but not really
heading where we wanted. When we were about to start breaking trail, a perfect
trail emerged. This trail was well beaten in and led us through the trees and to
the entrance to the basin. We now had an issue. First off, the trail had
stopped. Not a big problem. The big problem was that we needed to cross one
small section of a gully to get to smooth sailing into the upper reaches of the
basin. We evaluated the slope and found an area where a drift crossed the gully.
We cautiously crossed the gully here, using the drift to keep our angle level.
We also felt the drift lessened the chance of a slide as well.
After crossing the gully, about 1/2 a mile of side hilling placed us in the
basin at around 10400'. We could easily see the summit from here. Both of us
were discouraged as it seemed very steep near the top, and like it was wind
loaded with snow. Instead of quiting, we continued on great snow in gorgeous
terrain to the ridge at 10700'. Here what had been good snowshoeing snow got
great. We cruised to 10900' which put us near the summit. From 1/2 a mile a way
it still looked discouraging and STEEP. However we plugged on and got right
below the face. What had looked steep from below wasn't too bad. What looked
like avalanche hazard was actually drifted snow and ice that was rock hard. We
decided to go for it. 5 minutes later, with no real obstacles at all, we were
standing on top!
The summit was impressive. All sides except the one we came up dropped off
2000' to the surrounding basins. The Tetons were clearly visible, as were
several other ranges. The sun was shining brightly and other than a light wind,
the day was perfect. This peak and route were among the finest I have ever done.
We utilized the same route down. The way down went quick and we were back at
the car. Instead of going to bag Signal Mountain, we decided to call it a day
and head back to Jackson.