Elevation: 9,860 ft
This peak is not in the book. Published December 2019
Windfall Peak is a big mountain located on the East Side of the South Fork of Eightmile Canyon. It sits at the head of both Post Canyon and Windfall Canyon. The West Face of the mountain is quite rugged and is densely forested. Windfall Peak is actually a bump on the lengthy North Ridge of Shril Peak (10,690 feet). The easiest ascent route is via the South Fork ATV Trail/FST-022 and the South Ridge. FST-022 goes all the way up to the saddle connecting Peak 9860 to Shril Peak. USGS Eightmile Canyon
North Ridge WEST, Class 2
Date of Climb: August 24, 2019
Drive up Eightmile Canyon Road/FSR-173 to the large trailhead parking area for FST-022/South Fork Trail and FST-026/North Fork Trail. Park here (6,900 feet).
From the trailhead parking area, bushwhack SE up a steep, forested slope to reach the North Ridge WEST at a saddle. This ridge saddle is between Point 8329 and Point 8258. The ridge is much easier than the face climb required to reach it. The face is a mix of loose duff, gravel, scree, brush, trees, and downed timber. The ridge is much flatter and includes an elk trail (at times) to help expedite the ascent.
From your entry point onto the ridge (at the saddle), work your way SW across the flat saddle, skirting some rocky outcrops and mountain mahogany. In addition, there are a few minor ups-and-downs. The ridge bends L/S and climbs over Point 8258 which, on the USGS topo map, appears problematic but isn’t. As the map shows, this entire area of ridgeline is forested. You won’t leave the forest until you are much higher in altitude. You can easily skirt Point 8258 on its L/E side via an elk trail.
Once past Point 8258, you reach a gentle, saddle of open forest and the terrain is much more open and easier. Stay on or near the ridge crest and head due S. The terrain gets even easier as the pines become scattered and the base is broken rock/scree. Just above tree line, the ridge bends L (SE then E) and you must skirt the R/S side of a rocky outcrop just below the summit. The cairned summit of Peak 9860 is an open scree hump and has expansive views.
North Ridge EAST (Descent), Class 2+
Same as for the North Ridge WEST Route
From the summit, take a few minutes to get a good look at this descent route. Since you must enter a pine forest relatively soon, get a visual imprint of the route in your head so that you can stay on course. There are multiple ridges and gullies here, so be careful. Your goal is to descend the North Ridge—EAST, which leads down to Point 7952 and, subsequently, to a west-to-east gully that you must cross.
The initial descent is on somewhat-steep, loose talus and includes some broken rock ribs and strata. The terrain then quickly changes to a good, but steep, grass slope and then dense pine forest. Stay near the ridge crest and maintain a NNE orientation. The ridge wiggles a little high up, so be careful not to descend into either of the gullies on the L/W and R/E side of the ridge.
The initial section of pine forest is confusing because it is more of a face descent than a ridge descent. It is steep, but not too bad. The ridge actually forks here. Stay on the main/right fork. If you accidentally find yourself on the smaller left fork, simply contour your way back to the right when you reach a flat, saddle-like forested area at 8,340 feet. Be sure to find this flat ridge section. If you must, contour over to reach it.
The flat area at 8,340 feet is easy, open pine forest. From here, the ridge becomes much better defined and heads due N. Navigationally-speaking, you have smooth sailing down to Point 7952. Point 7952 is a narrow, somewhat rocky ridge point. From Point 7952, the ridge once again becomes ill-defined. Descend N down the ridge’s “face” to reach a dry gully. Do not descend the shoulder heading NW from Point 7952 or you will add to your mileage by reaching the dry gully at a much higher point.
The pine forest descent to the gully isn’t too bad. You should reach the dry gully at about 7,000 feet. There is an old jeep road in the center of the gully. Follow this old road E down the gully for a short distance to reach the end of the forest. Leave the road an contour N across endless sagebrush and a few minor shoulders and gullies to reach Eightmile Canyon Road/FSR-173 about ¼ mile inside the Targhee National Forest boundary. Hike up the road to return to the trailhead parking area.