Thursday, July 23, 2015

Climbing Sunny Bar Peak (10,512) Lemhi Range, Idaho

July 22, 2015

Sunny Bar Peak
Little Diamond Peak on the right

Ben and I climbed Sunny Bar Peak in the Lemhi Range. We were looking for a nice class 2 trek without a lot of elevation gain. Thought Sunny Bar fit the bill. Drove to Fallert Springs near Uncle Ike Creek in the Little Lost River Valley. The road is passable but AWD, great tires, and good clearance are necessities. I made it to the springs in my 2003 Forester, but keep in mind I have light truck tires on my vehicle.

Before we began hiking, we drove up the road to a vantage above Uncle Ike Creek. Below you can see the beginning of the creek. On the other side of the divide, the South Fork of Pass Creek drains to the east.

Uncle Ike Creek
The false summit of Sunny Bar Peak above Uncle Ike Creek
Swanson Peak in the background
Sunny Bar Peak (false summit) and Swanson Peak
Fallert Springs is the upper oasis
Nearing Fallert Springs

From Fallert Springs, hike north and then west up the steep scrub covered slope. This is the most difficult part of the climb. You will gain about 1,500 feet in a little over half a mile. The footing is pretty good. Once the ridge is made, follow it all the way to the top. This is a great class 2 climb. However, this route will only get you to 10,200 feet. The final summit is a ragged peak that does not look very approachable from the high ridge top on the mountain. Ben and I walked over to the path to the summit block, but decided against a traverse and climb from our position. I am sure this line entails some solid class 3 climbing at the very least. The south face of the peak is very steep and full of loose rock. The east/west ridge line from above Rocky Run Creek looks like a more approachable line to the summit of this mountain.

Little Diamond and Swanson Peak from Sunny Bar Peak
Ben (in his pajamas) near the summit of Sunny Bar Peak
A side note:

On the way back to the springs, Ben found the remains of a Big Horn Sheep. There were the four legs spread out in a rectangle and the head with about fifteen inches of vertebrae still attached. It reminded me of how our cat leaves the remains of his prey. He leaves the legs and head but eats everything in between.

Of course I carried the head down for him. Found out that to legally posses a ram's head, you must report it to the Fish and Game within 30 days of finding it. Drove to Idaho Falls to do my civic duty today. They take tissue samples, measurements, and information regarding the location of the find. They then drill a hole behind one horn and embed a metal identification pin in the horn. Interesting.

Ben's ram skull
Route from Fallert Springs
Ignore the orange and red line. I forgot to end the excersize and began driving. 
There are probably several ways to get to Fallert Springs. we came up from Howe and turned right on a road that looked like it would take us to the canyon between Sunny Bar and Buckhorn Peak. I took this photo of the two no trespassing signs right across the road from where we turned. There are also some beehives there, but of course they my not be there next year.

From the south, turn east at this landmark (on the west side of the road) to get to Fallert Springs
Nicholson Peak, Peak 10,604, Sunny Bar Peak, and false summit Sunny Bar Peak
Before reaching the highway, I was able to photograph some of the surrounding mountains. Here is a sample.

Buckhorn Peak and Mormon Gulch

Buckhorn Peak
Saddle Mountain
Saddle Mountain
Saddle Mountain
I believe that is Tyler Peak on the left
Nicholson Peak, Peak 10,604, Sunny Bar Peak
Sunny Bar Peak (false summit)

Bell Mountain
Other Resources:

Tom Lopez Website: Sunny Bar Peak

For more trip reports of other mountains visit

1 comment:

Christine Pearson said...

The photos you post are always beautiful!! It's great to hear about climbs in Idaho and see more of the area.