Wildhorse Peak

Elevation: 9,602 ft
Prominence: 982

Wildhorse Peak is a ranked summit and provides one of the best view points in Idaho. Its summit is perched at the eastern end of the White Knob Mountains and it is bordered on to the south and the east by the Pioneer Mountains. If this was not enough the Lost River Range raises its lofty peaks to the east. Please note that the fire lookout is not the highest point of this peak. Page updated October 2018.

Wildhorse Peak and the Big Lost River - Steve Mandella photo.

Wildhorse Peak and the Big Lost River – Steve Mandella photo.


South Route, Class 2+

Most of the route follows a road/pack trail (class 1) until the summit area where there is a little off-trail scrambling. The following photo essay follows the route to the summit. Livingston Douglas’ route description is found below. Further below, Steve and Margo Mandella provided a track showing the false summit bypass, and a few of their photos from their 2018 trip.

The route starts just after you cross the Big Lost River and follows this road toward the mountain.

The route starts just after you cross the Big Lost River and follows this road toward the mountain.

The road goes up quickly and the whew just gets better with every step.

The road goes up quickly and the whew just gets better with every step.

The first view of the lookout above?

The first view of the lookout above.

The peak's summit area spreads out for acres.

The peak’s summit area spreads out for acres.

The Wildhorse fire lookout is not the peak's high point. It is an easy hike to the high point which is just to the north.

The Wildhorse Fire Lookout is NOT the peak’s high point. The summit of Wildhorse Peak is a 0.5-mile easy hike north of the fire lookout and is separated from the fire lookout by a 9,420-ft saddle.

The lookout.

The lookout.

South Ridge Route, Class 2+ by Livingston Douglas 

Date of Climb: 7/11/16
Approach: Wildhorse Lookout Trail [(B)(1.1)(a)]
Map: Harry Canyon

Hike up the Wildhorse Lookout Trail for 4.2 miles to the Wildhorse fire lookout (9,546′). The trail initially drops 40 feet to cross the raging East Fork Big Lost River on a solid footbridge suitable for ATVs. From the fire lookout, Wildhorse Peak lies 1/2 mile to the north and is separated by a choppy, rather tedious Class 2+ ridge with a saddle inbetween. This ridge traverse takes just under 20 minutes each way. The fire lookout is over 50 feet lower in elevation than the true summit.

There is no trail from the fire lookout to the true summit. From the fire lookout, scramble north along the ridge, skirting a small ridge point early on. Descend rocky terrain down to a saddle of sagebrush and blowdown (9,420′). Continue north then northwest, scrambling up choppy, rocky terrain (a mix of talus and boulders) to reach the small summit of Wildhorse Peak (9,602′).


South Ridge Route, Additional Information (October 2018), Margo Mandella

Steve and I highly recommend hiking to, and checking out, both the historic lookout and the old weather (?) station before climbing to the Peak’s real summit. The lookout is open (the door has a hook/eye closure). It’s a good place for lunch or to shelter from a passing squall. However, save yourself some time and avoid re-ascending the choppy rocky terrain back to the lookout on your descent by bypassing the false summit. A mellow saddle behind the false summit lets you connect from the true summit to the main trail. If you are short on time in general, bypass the lookout/false summit entirely using the cutoff in both directions.

Climber's track - Steve Mandella

Climber’s track – Steve Mandella

The river crossing. Rosencrance Peak (back left) and West Rosencrance Peak in the background. Steve Mandella photo.

The river crossing. Rosencrance Peak (back left) and West Rosencrance Peak in the background. Steve Mandella photo.

The true summit of Wildhorse Peak - photo, Steve Mandella.

The true summit of Wildhorse Peak. Aim for the green trees for a direct ascent. Come back to the north of the false summit using the saddle to connect back to the main trail – photo, Steve Mandella.

Beautiful views from the ascent of Wildhorse Peak - Steve Mandella photo.

Beautiful views from the ascent of Wildhorse Peak – Steve Mandella photo.

Wildhorse Peak (back) and the tiny white lookout. The East Fork Big Lost River flows peacefully along the valley. Steve Mandella photo.

The tiny white lookout on the false summit of Wildhorse Peak. The East Fork Big Lost River flows peacefully along the valley. Steve Mandella photo.

USGS Topo: Harry Canyon

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: White Knob Mountains

Year Climbed: 2012

Longitude: -114.087   Latitude: 49.9333

Photos:

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