Elevation: 10,835 ft
Climbing and access information for this summit is found on page 262.
Native Americans or miners probably made the first ascent of this peak. Livingston Douglas climbed the peak by traversing the ridge line from Mackay Peak. He then made the first recorded descent off the peak via Cliff Creek. His descent route provides a good alternative for climbing this big White Knob peak. The route is set out below.
Cliff Creek Route, Class 2, by Livingston Douglas
Use Forest Service Road (FSR)-207, (A)(3), to the FSR-207/FSR-207A junction, which is 3.8 miles from the junction of Highway 93 and Main Street in Mackay, Idaho. Park at a pullout on FSR-207A at a road junction that is 0.1 mile from FSR-207. The elevation here is 7,300 feet.
I ascended White Knob Mountain (10,835 feet) via its connecting ridge with Mackay Peak on 7/14/16. This is the second half of a loop route that returned me to my vehicle near on FSR-207A near its junction with FSR-207/The “Mine Tour” Road. Due to access issues on Alder Creek Road, and if you lack a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, this is probably the easiest route from the east side of the White Knob Mountains. I descended this route; consequently, my narrative starts at the summit of White Knob Mountain (10,835 feet).
From the summit of White Knob Mountain (10,835 feet), follow the ridge northeast and climb over White Knob Benchmark/North White Knob (10,529 feet). From this point, descend the north-northeast ridge to a flat area at 9,940 feet at the headwaters of Cliff Creek. Leave the ridge and drop east into the Cliff Creek drainage. Follow the creek steeply downward and move to the south side of the creek to intercept a jeep road at approximately 8,850 feet where it crosses Cliff Creek.
Follow the jeep road down Cliff Creek for about 3/4 mile. Then, cross the north side of Cliff Creek and continue to a road junction at 8,240 feet. Take the left fork onto well-maintained FSR-554. Hike along FSR-554 as it traverses around the east side of Mackay Peak then around to the north side of Mackay Peak to reach Bullion Gulch and a road junction (7,850 feet). Here, turn right and hike down a steep ATV road that follows Bullion Gulch to the the road junction on FSR-207A where you parked your vehicle. Drive 0.1 mile northeast to a junction with FSR-207. Drive down FSR-207/Mine Tour Road back to the metropolis of Mackay.
This route entails less than 0.5 mile of bushwhacking; the ridge scrambling is easy class 2. If you can drive your vehicle up FSR-554 all the way to the road junction on the north side of Cliff Creek (at 8,240 feet), you’ll shorten this hike considerably.
USGS Topo(s): Mackay Reservoir, Shelly Mountain