Elevation: 8,620 ft
Climbing information for this peak is on Page 338 of the book. Margo’s original post has been supplemented by Livingston Douglas’ updated access section found below. Updated November 2019
Stouts Mountain stands at the southern end of the Big Hole Mountains and, with 1,300 feet of prominence, it is a distinctive summit. Steve and I chose the summit of Stouts Mountain to watch the Great American Eclipse of 2017. It did not disappoint. USGS Stouts Mountain
Access by Livingston Douglas
The “trailhead” gate (and parking pullout) for the South/Southeast Ridge Route is located on the north side of ID-31:
- Exactly 7.0 miles E on ID-31 from the Swan Valley junction of US-26 and ID-31
- ¼ mile E of Pine Basin Camp (a large house/lodge on the R/S side of ID-31), which has an obvious bridge crossing Pine Creek to reach it
- 1.1 mile W of the turnoff for FSR-250 on ID-31
The massive power lines cross ID-31 just E of the “trailhead” gate and parking pullout.
The gate itself is a road closure gate. It is bright green and has “ST 65 68” written on it. The gate is more visible when driving W on ID-31 since the old, grassy 2-track jeep road is at a 45-degree angle to the highway and the old road is heading W. The pullout area is a good hard gravel surface under some trees along the N side of ID-31 at the base of the old 2-track road (just E of it). The elevation here is 5,760 feet. The roadside trees do make it a bit difficult to spot the old road when driving W on ID-31 until you’re right on top of it.
South-Southeast Ridge, Class 2
Starting at the gate, hike along an old ATV trail that parallels the highway and, briefly following transmission lines, traverses a short, eroded section of the mountain by one of the massive powerline poles. A short section of fence above the erosion and pole protects snowmobilers from this section in winter.
The trail narrows and contours around the fence and continues steeply upward to the ridge, with No Cut Timber Canyon to your east. This trail is discernible for most of the lower section of the mountain. On Google Earth’s 2015 image, the trail is more noticeable than we found it on the ground in 2017.
At one time, there was a popular recreation area/scout camp across the highway. Stouts was often climbed from the camp to a high point along the ridge where there are good views of the camp and the valley. From this viewpoint upward, the trail becomes less discernible. However, the upper mountain begins to come in and out of view through the trees as you climb, so your route will be obvious.
Along your way, you’ll encounter three small high points (7085, 7566, 7778) and a false summit around the 8,400-foot contour, before you reach the true summit. It’s easiest to climb over the tops of all these ridge points.
On the summit, enjoy views of Swan Valley to the south, the Snake River Canyon to the west, various Big Hole Mountains to the north, and the Tetons and Teton Valley/Victor, Idaho, to the east. Peek under the summit cairn rocks to find masses of ladybugs. Also on top, pay respects to Al Courchaine. His ashes and a marker were placed on the summit in 2011.
Reverse your route, taking care not to end up on the nearby Southwest Ridge. No Cut Timber Canyon should continue to be directly to your east. If you do stray, you could end up in Swan Valley hiking along back roads to shoulderless ID-31 and your vehicle for an additional 6-7 miles.
5.89 miles round trip with 2,670 feet of elevation and one solar eclipse.