Elevation: 8,620 ft
Climbing information for this peak is found on page 338.
Stouts Mountain stands at the southern end of the Big Hole Mountain 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.
Stouts Mountain is easily accessed from a pullout off of Highway 31 (Pine Creek Pass). Unlike other pullouts on the highway, this small pullout on the northwest side of the highway accommodates two standard sized vehicles, or one large RV. A metal gate (hiding in tall grass in 2017) is difficult to see from the highway until you pass it (travelling west). However this gate unofficially marks the trail head. On Google Earth’s 2015 photo, you can see the gate clearly in street view.
Route, 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 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 features.
On the summit, enjoy views of Swan Valley to the south, the Snake River Canyon to the west, various Bighole Peaks to the north, and the Tetons and Teton Valley/Victor, Idaho, to the east. Peak under the summit marker rocks where we found 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 Highway 31, and your vehicle, to the tune of 6-7 additional miles.
5.89 miles roundtrip; 2,670 vertical; one solar eclipse.