Elevation: 8,692 ft
This peak is not in the book. Margo Mandella authored the initial page for this peak. Livingston Douglas added two new routes and additional photos. Whichever route you choose, be sure to read Livingston’s Map Error section which points out significant errors on the maps you may use. Updated January 2023
Northwest Ridge by Margo Mandella
Peak 8692 is located west of Driggs, Idaho and southeast of Ryan Peak in the Big Hole Mountains. Climb Peak 8692 from the northwest via Relay Ridge. Consider climbing this peak in combination with Ryan Peak which is located on Relay Ridge. This ridge is named for several communication towers located both on the summit and along the ridge. Peak 8692 also can be climbed from pack trails out of Flat Hollow and Kirkham Hollow. This update focuses on the Relay Ridge approach. USGS Garns Mountain
From ID-33, turn south on Canyon Creek Road and continue on the paved road as it parallels the canyon to Green Canyon Hot Springs, which is fed by nearby Pincock Springs.
Farther past these springs, find the signed intersection and the gravel road (FSR-219) which heads east to Relay Ridge. Take this road, as it winds, climbs, switchbacks, and passes through Packsaddle Basin before it ends at a turnaround just southwest of the true summit of Ryan Peak. Park at the turnaround.
There are a few small areas along Relay Ridge road to pull over and park if you can not drive to the turnaround. However, stopping short of Relay Ridge itself will result in a substantially longer approach.
A high-clearance vehicle provides the best travel, as the road is steep and may be rutted in places. We have 4WD but did not use it. That said, we saw a rented Toyota Corolla at the turnaround. However, the driver was apprehensive about the descent, so consider a more substantial vehicle than a sedan.
Northwest Ridge from Relay Ridge, Class 2
The turnaround, which is right next to the summit of Ryan Peak, is the start of the climb to Peak 8692. You will find the marker for FST-225 here. Hike along this trail as it descends Ryan Peak’s Southeast Ridge and heads toward the saddle between it and Peak 8692. At the saddle, climb off-trail up the steep, short, North Slope to the summit of Peak 8692.
If you can’t drive all the way to the turnaround, you could hike along the road to Packsaddle Basin, Relay Ridge, and FST-225. We didn’t see any hikers on the road and we also passed several vehicles. Use caution if hiking along the road. While it is hike-able, it is steep and obscured with vegetation in places. Motorists may not see you and are not accustomed to encountering hikers.
However, if you face this problem, consider backtracking to the pack trail originating at Graham Springs. This trail travels southeast, paralleling Relay Ridge and Calamity Creek, and accesses Peak 8692 from the south.
However you reach the summit, enjoy views of the Teton Mountains to the east and surrounding Big Hole peaks such as Idaho Ridge, Mount Manning, Temple Peak, Garns Mountain and Ryan Peak. Exceptional moose habitat lies in the surrounding valleys. We were lucky and saw a cow moose and calf crossing over Relay Ridge right in front of us!
Northeast Shoulder/Northeast Face and North Ridge by Livingston Douglas
Peak 8692 is located on a high ridgeline west of Horseshoe Creek. The peak is southeast of Ryan Peak and west of Mount Manning. Peak 8692 is at the headwaters of the North Fork Canyon Creek in the Big Hole Mountains.
From the center of Driggs on ID-33, drive west on Bates Road for 6.3 miles. The road bends right/north and becomes S7000W. Drive north on S7000W for 1.0 mile to an unsigned junction. Reset your odometer here. Go left/west at this junction onto [unsigned] Horseshoe Creek Road/FSR-235. At 0.3 miles, the road bends left/southwest (sign for “Horseshoe Campground” here). At 1.6 miles, reach the Targhee National Forest boundary. At 3.4 miles, reach a road junction and a large trailhead parking lot and bathroom.
This junction is shown as “Sam (site)” on the USGS topo map. Park here (6,505 feet). FST-219 (South Horseshoe Creek Trail) is across the road from the parking area. This access point may be better for climbers who lack a 4WD to drive up the alternative routes presented on this posting. It allows a climb of both Peak 8692 and Ryan Peak (8,860 feet).
There are numerous critical map errors on the USGS topo map. First, it shows a road (FSR-235B) heading south from Horseshoe Creek Road no longer exists. Second, the pack trail heading up Bell Creek no longer exists. The first section of that trail is now FSR-219 but only goes a short distance and then crosses a shoulder to the east. Third, FST-219/South Horseshoe Creek Trail is not shown on the map. Fourth, there is a trail heading up Superior Creek to the Superior Mine, but it is located on the north side of the creek not the south side. In addition, that trail is blocked by posted, private land partway up Superior Creek. The Targhee National Forest map is much more accurate in this area.
Northeast Shoulder/Northeast Face, Class 2
From the trailhead parking lot, hike ¾ mile up FST-219 to the cut log footbridge across Superior Creek (a small stream). Leave the trail here and bushwhack up a shoulder on the left/south side of Superior Creek in relatively easy pine forest. The underbrush is reasonable with little blowdown and no willows or aspens. Continue to head southwest up through easy pine forest with some areas of open scrub. High up, reach the base of the intimidating northeast face of Peak 8692. Move left-ish from the top of the shoulder into a right-leaning, diagonal gully that leads up to the top of a rocky cliff face.
This gully climb is in short scrub. Midway up, the gully becomes very steep. Leave the gully and scramble left in open terrain to reach a forested shoulder. Scramble right/west up the easy shoulder on game trails to reach the top of the steep gully. From there, scramble up a short, steep scrub face to reach the main ridge crest at an 8,380-foot saddle just southeast of Peak 8692. Scramble northwest up the ridge crest on steep-ish, but easy, scrub to reach the ridgeline summit. There were no signs of previous ascent, so I built a small cairn.
From the summit, descend north then north-northwest in scrub in a semi-open forest. The forest becomes dense lower down and the connecting saddle with Ryan Peak is forested. Find FST-225 (an ATV trail) coming through the forest on the left/west side of the ridge crest and heading north to the 8,340-foot connecting saddle. The ATV trail heads north to Ryan Peak. This concludes the first leg of today’s 2-peak adventure. Ryan Peak is up next.