Peak 8580 (Big Mama/Allen Mountain) by Derek Percoski

Elevation: 8,580 ft
Prominence: 720

The summit of "Big Mama" in winter (viewed from north face of Bald Mtn.) Derek Percoski Photo

This peak is not in the book. Published April 2020


This peak is locally known as “Big Mama,” undoubtedly named for its massive South Face that wraps around the northern side of Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain. The eastern side of the summit sees daily visitors via a ridge hike dubbed “Stairmaster.” It’s a local favorite for fit hikers who want the most bang for their buck, since it gains 1800 vertical feet in a mile. A large cairn is built at the top of this ridge. The actual summit of “Big Mama” is 2 miles away and sees almost no visitors outside hunting season.

The entire South Face of this mountain is off-limits in the Winter to allow for elk grazing. I lived at the base of this mountain for a few years so I climbed it from multiple directions (including unlisted routes that required permission from my neighbors). If you’re interested in taking the grand tour, you can park a bicycle or second vehicle at the base of the South Ridge then start your hike at “Stairmaster.” Parking is available at all of the starting points shown on the map. USGS Griffin Butte

The summit of "Big Mama" in winter (viewed from north face of Bald Mtn.) Derek Percoski Photo

The summit of “Big Mama” in Winter as viewed from North Face of Bald
Mountain. Derek Percoski Photo

Access

FS-217/Warm Springs Creek Road [(A)(7) on Page 214].

South Ridge, Class 2
The south ridge can be approached from various spots. My preferred variation starts just past the small bridge located a mile past the end of the pavement. This section of road is well maintained. The crux of the hike is the first 100 vertical feet since the bases of the ridges roll off into very steep Class 2 terrain.

Once you get past the steep start, pleasant ridge hiking is found on the South Ridge (east variation shown in photo). Derek Percoski Photo

Once you get past the steep start, the ridge hike on
the South Ridge is pleasant. The East Variation is shown in the photo. Derek Percoski Photo

Sunset view "Big Mama" from above the summit of Baldy (paragliding photo). Derek Percoski Photo

Sunset view “Big Mama” from above the summit of Baldy (paragliding
photo). Derek Percoski Photo

View from summit: Ketchum, Sun Valley, and the Pioneer Mountains. Derek Percoski Photo

View from the summit: Ketchum, Sun Valley and the Pioneer Mountains. Derek Percoski Photo

The south face of Big Mama in rare form. It is green for around 2 weeks in late spring before the hot sun dries out the vegetation. Derek Percoski Photo

The South Face of Big Mama in rare form. It is green for about two
weeks in late Spring before the hot sun dries out the vegetation. Derek Percoski Photo

Northeast Face, Class 2
This is certainly not the most aesthetic way to the summit but if you have a solid 4×4 vehicle, it is the most efficient. The West Fork Warm Springs Road gets progressively more rugged, but it’s possible to drive to 7,900 feet on the South Ridge of Peak 8445. At this point, the road meets the single-track Eve’s Gulch Trail. You can also get there by mountain biking or motorcycling up Eve’s Gulch Trail from the Adam’s Gulch trailhead [(A)(6) on Page 214].

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Smoky Mountains

Longitude: -114.44549   Latitude: 43.68689

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