Gabriels Horn

Elevation: 11,641 ft
Prominence: 461

This peak is not in the book. Judi Steciak and Carl Hamke provided the following route information. See their article on the missing Eleveners in the climbing history section of this site. Use this link to Pat Mcgrane’s Wildhorse Classics Guide for information on technical climbing on the peak.

Southwest Ridge (Class 3-4)

This peak is 1.5 miles east of Wildhorse Mine.  Improvements made in 2012 to the 4WD road up Wildhorse Canyon (C)(1) (p. 259) blocked it at the start of the first switchback marked on the topographic map and created a small parking area.  Walk up the road until the clearing at the 8,200 foot contour.  Follow the clearing up and continue to the ridge top 3,200 feet above.  Follow the southwest ridge to the summit, crossing back and forth over the crest as needed.  Akin to its neighbor The Fin across the valley to the east, the route is one of the best ridge scrambles in Idaho.

Steve Grantham and David Ferguson followed the southwest ridge to the summit on July 18, 2009 – Dave’s first climb after hip replacement.

The serrated southwest ridge of Gabriels Horn. Steciak Hamke Photo

The serrated southwest ridge of Gabriels Horn. Steciak Hamke Photo

Judi and Carl provided the following information soon after they climbed the peak:

Last Saturday we climbed the SW ridge of Gabriels Horn (Pk 11,641) in the Pioneers.  We had no route information beforehand.  It was a wonderful surprise to work out a scrambling route along the ~1/3 mile ridge (with only 200 ft. gross elevation gain from the southern bump to the summit).  It was one of the best quality ridge scrambles we’ve done in Idaho (it reminded us of The Fin (Pk 11,887 in the Pioneers)).    We went over the crest of the southernmost bump, dropped down to the E side of the ridge and stayed off the crest until we were forced back up and over to the W side for a while, repeated this twice and finally we were on the summit.  The many small towers and ribs blocked our view of the summit and it felt like the ridge would extend forever (actually it was only about an hour one-way).  We returned on the same route because we were having so much fun.  The rock was stable where it needed to be.  We thought that the exposure was greatest near the start and at just one or two other short spots.  Good/careful route finding skills would be essential to stay on terrain no harder than YDS Class 3+.

In the summit register, a party in 2009 said they had also followed the SW ridge, while another party said ‘never to be repeated’ regarding the NW ridge.

The only downside of this peak was the steep, sometimes bouldery, Class 2 walk up from where the 8,200 ft contour crosses the former upper extent of the Wildhorse Canyon Road.   We gained about 3,200 ft. in just over a mile.  We took an alternate route down that brought us to the valley a 1/2 mile farther south, but it was still a challenge for my aging knees.

The USFS improved Wildhorse Canyon Road this past September.  Some of these changes were good, others we wondered about. They bulldozed out some of the worst rocks near Wildhorse Canyon Campground, dug a ditch at the worst wet spot, added many aggressive water bars (the trailer hitch of our 4WD high clearance truck kept bottoming out on the drive up), blocked all of the dispersed camp sites with boulders and/or felled trees, and blocked the road completely just before the first of the switchbacks.   This shortened the distance you can drive in by 3/4 of a mile or so. They made a small parking area for 4 – 5 vehicles, although it will be tough to turn around if that many actually parked there.



Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Pioneer Mountains

Longitude: -114.0691   Latitude: 43.7828

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