Peak 9088 (Powderhorn Hill) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 9,088 ft
Prominence: 303

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 ENE. It is slightly lower than Point 9097 to its NNE. USGS Powderhorn Gulch

West Ridge, Class 2

Date of Climb: August 5, 2019

Access

The confluence of Dry Canyon and Powderhorn Gulch is located at the base of the Beaverhead Mountains, SE 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 N of Gilmore Summit on ID-28. It is signed as “Eighteenmile Road”. Drive E on Clear Creek Road for about 2 miles to a critical [signed] junction. Go R/SE here to continue on Clear Creek Road as it heads SE then E to an unsigned junction with Eighteenmile Road. This junction is 6.6 miles from ID-28.

Turn L/N here to follow Eighteenmile Road N for 2.9 miles to a signed junction for “Powderhorn Gulch/Dry Canyon.” Turn R/E 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 E (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 FS Office) are invaluable in navigating the BLM roads in this area.

The Climb

From the road junction (6,890 feet), walk 0.6 mile E on the narrow, rough side road that leads to an unsigned road junction at the mouth of both Dry Canyon and Powderhorn Gulch. Hike briefly N up Dry Canyon Road to reach the toe of the West Ridge. Leave the road and scramble E 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 (ENE) and a bit L/N 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 E. 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 E down to Powderhorn Gulch might just give you a nosebleed. The summit has a modest cairn.

South Ridge (Descent), Class 2

Access

Same as for the West Ridge Route

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 SE or S 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 S side of Powderhorn Gulch and the old road leading up to it.

Aim S at the junction of that old side road and the jeep road coming up Powderhorn Gulch. If you err here, go L/E because there ARE cliff bands to the R/W 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. Now it is just a steep descent through sagebrush to reach the valley floor. Where you come out is up to you. You can angle L/E-ish to intercept Powderhorn Gulch at a higher point or you can head straight S to intercept the gulch at a lower point.

I came out a bit E 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 SW/W. Hike W 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 W 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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