Peak 9088 (Powderhorn Hill) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 9,088 ft
Prominence: 303

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This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019

Peak 9088 separates Dry Canyon from Powderhorn Gulch. It towers over the valley below by over 2,000 feet. Its east face is rugged and has probably never been climbed. All of that being said, it barely qualifies as a ranked summit. Peak 9088 is merely a bump on one of several ridges emanating from massive Baldy Mountain (10,773 feet) to the east-northeast. It is slightly lower than Point 9097 to its north-northeast. USGS Powderhorn Gulch

West Ridge, Class 2


The confluence of Dry Canyon and Powderhorn Gulch is located at the base of the Beaverhead Mountains, southeast of Leadore, ID. From ID-28, the easiest way to get to Powderhorn Gulch is via Clear Creek Road. Clear Creek Road is located 10.7 miles north of Gilmore Summit on ID-28. It is signed as “Eighteenmile Road.” Drive east on Clear Creek Road for about two miles to a critical [signed] junction. Go right/southeast here to continue on Clear Creek Road as it heads southeast then east to an unsigned junction with Eighteenmile Road. This junction is 6.6 miles from ID-28.

Turn left/north here to follow Eighteenmile Road north for 2.9 miles to a signed junction for “Powderhorn Gulch/Dry Canyon.” Turn right/east here and drive 1.8 miles to an unsigned road junction. Park at this junction (6,890 feet) in a large pullout area or drive another 0.6 mile east (on the left fork) to reach the mouths of Dry Canyon and Powderhorn Gulch. The USGS topo map and the USFS Sheet Map Page #31 (available at the Leadore Forest Service Office) are invaluable in navigating the BLM roads in this area.

The Climb

From the road junction (6,890 feet), walk 0.6 mile east on the narrow, rough side road that leads to an unsigned road junction at the mouths of both Dry Canyon and Powderhorn Gulch. Hike briefly north up Dry Canyon Road to reach the toe of the west ridge. Leave the road and scramble east up a steep shoulder of open scrub. The slope eases and the scrub becomes short field grass. The slope soon steepens considerably and the task becomes more of a face climb. Head straight uphill (east-northeast) and a bit left/north to reach the forested, better-defined west ridge high up.

Once you reach the pine forest, stay near the ridge crest and grind your way eastward to reach the summit of Peak 9088. The forest has some blowdown but not much rock, so it goes quickly. The slope eases as you approach the summit and the direction of ascent is dead east. The summit is located on a north-to-south ridge crest and is rocky. The terrain in the summit area is semi-open. Elk seem to like this summit, if their poop is any indication. The dropoff east down to Powderhorn Gulch might just give you a nosebleed. The summit has a modest cairn.

South Ridge, Class 2


Same as for the west ridge

The Descent

From the summit, descend the obvious, narrow crest of the south ridge. The slope is not very steep high up, but that will change. The ridge has a rocky base, rocky outcrops, and scattered pines. Nothing too difficult…yet. After reaching Point 8934, the ridge steepens noticeably but is still reasonable. At about 8,550 feet, the ridge becomes very steep and your concerns about getting hung up in hidden cliff bands rises considerably. The ridge becomes ill-defined and the forest takes over.

Maintain a southeast or south line to avoid descending the wicked east face of this ridge. The terrain here is either loose scree or pine duff, and isn’t too bad to descend—but difficult to traverse across. Maintain a consistent line down the slope. The pine forest soon becomes a mix of pine trees and open sage/grass. You can now see the valley floor steeply below you. You can also see the bench on the south side of Powderhorn Gulch and the old road leading up to it.

Aim south at the junction of that old side road and the jeep road coming up Powderhorn Gulch. If you err here, go left/east because there ARE cliff bands to the right/west farther down the face. And this is more of a face descent now. The terrain really opens up as you descend now and the trees disappear. It is now just a steep descent through sagebrush to reach the valley floor. Where you come out is up to you. You can angle left/east-ish to intercept Powderhorn Gulch at a higher point or you can head straight south to intercept the gulch at a lower point.

I came out a bit east of the road junction, reaching Powderhorn Gulch Road (an old 2-track jeep road). If you do so, you will quickly reach the road junction as you follow the road southwest/west. Hike west down old, overgrown Powderhorn Gulch Road for about 1-1/4 miles to reach the road junction with Dry Canyon Road. Hike another 0.6 miles west on the access road to return to your vehicle.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Beaverhead Range

Longitude: -113.13219   Latitude: 44.59059

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