Elevation: 7,923 ft
This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019
Peak 7923 is a hidden ridge bump that barely qualifies at a ranked summit. It sits on the West Ridge of massive Andrew Nyman Mountain, the high point of which is Wilderness Peak (9,460 feet). It towers over the Maple Creek drainage to the north. The summit ridge is a fun scramble, but getting up there is not so much fun. The best access to Peak 7923 is via the Maple Creek Trailhead (5,730 feet). USGS Mapleton
North Shoulder/West Ridge, Class 2
Date of Climb: September 12, 2019
Maple Creek Road is located on the east side of Franklin, ID. From the junction of US-91 and Main Street in Franklin, go east on Main Street. At 0.4 mile, Main Street turns L/N just before the entrance to a ranch. The street now becomes Maple Creek Road. At 1.1 mile, bear R at a “Y” junction (“Egg Farm” sign here). At 4.4 miles, the pavement ends at a large turnaround area. Go L here. At 6.6 miles, enter the Cache National Forest at a cattle guard. The road is now FSR-454. At 6.7 miles, the road ends at a large parking area for the Maple Creek Trailhead. The elevation here is 5,730 feet.
Both the Cache NF map and the USGS topo map show a trail (FST-302) leaving the Maple Creek Trailhead and heading southward up to Indian Flat. I saw no signs of such a trail at the trailhead or a short distance up Maple Creek Trail/FST-306. I had to give up on that and resort to Plan B—climb a shoulder up to Indian Flat. From the Maple Creek Trailhead, hike up Maple Creek Trail (an ATV trail) alongside Maple Creek for about ¼ mile to the first prominent drainage on the R/S side of the trail.
Leave the trail immediately after passing this drainage and bushwhack up the forested shoulder on the L/E side of the drainage. Cross the dry drainage to reach the forested shoulder on the R/W side of the drainage [This route is an easier bushwhack than climbing the shoulder on the R/W side of the drainage directly from Maple Creek Trail]. Follow this shoulder S to reach a grassy open meadow called Indian Flat. Your goal at this point is to reach the ridgeline to the south with the least amount of bushwhacking as possible.
There are remnants of an old trail in Indian Flat but it doesn’t last. Cattle trails are far more prevalent here and lead in many different directions. Look for a cattle/use trail heading S up the shoulder or on its R/W side. This old footpath disappears at times but is better than bushwhacking through the tall, thick willows/aspens/bushes on the crest of the shoulder or on its L/E side. This weak footpath will get you up onto the West Ridge of Peak 7923 at a minor ridge saddle (6,580 feet). There is no continuation of this old “trail” over the ridge and southward down the other side, as both the Cache NF map and USGS topo map suggests.
There is a cattle fence following the crest of the West Ridge from your entry point onto the ridge. Follow the L/N side of the fence on the remnants of an old jeep road, then a cattle/use trail until the fence ends at about 7,100 feet. Continue to follow the cattle/use trail as it tracks the ridge crest and skirts the S side of Point 7408 to reach a saddle at the base of the steep upper section of the West Ridge. To this point, the terrain has been mostly open sagebrush. But now the terrain changes to a pine forest. Climb SE up through the pine forest via the use trail. The trail disappears when you are about 150 vertical feet from the summit. Once the trail disappears, you must scramble up a rocky mix of talus, scree, and scrub on the ridge crest to reach the small summit area.
The summit of Peak 7923 is open terrain, not forested as the USGS topo map suggests. The peak showed no signs of previous ascent, so I built a small cairn atop the highest ground boulder. There were very few signs of animal activity on this hike. This area is owned by cattle and the ranchers associated therewith. Do NOT continue SE to a saddle then E up to Point 7952 just over ½ mile away. Stay where you are! Point 7952 is higher, but it is NOT the summit.
West Ridge/Northwest Shoulder, Class 2
Same as for the North Shoulder/West Ridge Route.
From the summit, descend the West Ridge to Point 7408. From Point 7408, leave the West Ridge and follow the ridge crest of the Northwest Shoulder N then NW to Point 7050. The descent terrain to this point has been open scrub. From here, descend NW on the rounded shoulder to Maple Creek and the Maple Creek Trail. The terrain is open forest with patches of open scrub. The shoulder becomes more of a face that has several minor shoulders and minor gullies. It can be a bit confusing.
Just continue descending NW on a shoulder (the gullies present thicker brush and more challenging bushwhacking than the ridge crests). The terrain eventually becomes pure forest and gets thick as you approach the creek. Find a game trail to help you navigate through the trees and blowdown of this dense pine forest. Once you near the creek, you intercept Maple Creek Trail. Follow the trail L/W for ½ mile back to the trailhead.