Elevation: 5,732 ft
This peak is not in the book. Updated April 2018
Dryden Peak is located in the western Owyhee Mountains north of Piute Butte, due south of Buck Mountain, and on the second ridge line east of US-95. This peak has an interesting cone-shaped, cliff-ringed summit. Squaw Creek and its tributaries cut deep canyons on the Dryden Peak’s west, south, and southeast sides. Rodeo Gulch is on the peak’s north and west slopes. An east-trending ridge runs from the west face to a pass and then east to another high ridge system.
Private property makes the most direct access via Squaw Creek problematic. Private property is also an issue, albeit one with a solution, when approaching the peak from the northeast. Nevertheless, from any direction, intervening private property makes access to the summit a bit convoluted.
Brett Sergenian avoided all private property issues by climbing the peak from US-95. His approach involves a long up and down walk over the high ridge, which blocks the peak’s direct access, and then descends into Squaw Creek before starting the actual climb to the summit. As a result of the necessity of climbing over and then descending the ridge line between US-95 and Squaw Creek on this route involves at 2,000 feet of elevation gain just to reach the top. And, of course, you also must reclimb the intervening ridge on the way out. This route is not recommended for mere mortals. We have included this information only for historical purposes. The recommended route is set out below.
Access From the North
Coyote Grade Road. Take ID-78 east from Marsing, Idaho, for 5.5 miles. Turn right/south onto the paved Clark Road. Follow this road for 3 miles (the first 2 miles of the road are paved) to a signed junction. Unfortunately, the junction does not have a sign that identifies this road as the Coyote Grade Road. (Google Maps will also get you to Coyote Grade Road.)
At the junction, turn right on Coyote Grade Road and head toward the signed Rat’s Nest Area. The name probably refers to the maze of roads that you will quickly encounter. Follow the road that obviously gets periodic grading as it wanders uphill. After 5 miles and 1,500 feet of gain, you cannot miss Shares Snout towering above you on the south side of the road. The road to this point has a few sharp turns and a couple of impressive dips but is periodically maintained and, when dry, passable for 2WD vehicles with adequate clearance. However, the road deteriorates beyond Shares Snout. To continue further, you need, at a minimum, a high clearance vehicle with good all-terrain tires.
Continue up the road and cross a pass northwest of Shares Snout. Stay on the main road and drop down to the southwest. Ignore the first left turn and continue your descent to the second left turn. This road is a seldom-used two-track that runs due north. Although there a few rocky spots it is not deeply rutted. At the 4,600-foot contour the road forks. Take the right fork and you will soon reach a fence line that marks the boundary between Bureau of Land Mangement (BLM) public land and private property. From this point, the road drops down into Rodeo Gulch.
The road across private property and into Rodeo Gulch is not posted with No Trespassing signs or orange paint. I believe that BLM has secured an easement for the road across this property and into the gulch as there is a BLM constructed pipeline running out of the gulch to feed cattle troughs on the public land. This access to Rodeo Gulch may be posted in the future. If it is posted please park at the gate. Always respect the private land. The route information below provides a work around that will let you hike to Rodeo Gulch and while avoiding the private land.
Driving distance from the Clark Road/Coyote Grade Road junction to this point is 9.5 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain.
East Face Route, Class 3
From the gate, you have two options to reach the West Face Route. First, assuming access is allowed, you can follow the road into Rodeo Gulch. Second, you can follow (on foot) the east side of the fence south to the southern boundary of the private property. This spot is marked by a fence running down into the gulch. Cross the fence, which continues to run south at this point, and drop down into Rodeo Gulch. The west ridge route starts at this point.
Follow the road up the gulch past a couple of water troughs. Stay on the road until, at the 5,000-foot contour, it makes a left turn and drops down a short distance. Leave the road at this spot and follow the fence uphill in a southwesterly direction. You will have crossed the fence at some point, so keep your eyes open for a spot where the lowest wire is high off the ground and scoot under the fence when you find a good spot.
Continue following the fence line to Point 5440. From this point, cross the shallow saddle moving west to the base of the east face. There is a ring of short cliffs just below the summit. Aim for the center of the face where the cliff is only about 4 feet high. One short class 3 move takes you up to the final slopes. From Rodeo Gulch, it is 2.6 miles and roughly 900 feet of gain to the summit.
USGS Topo: Soldier Cap