Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Climbing Peak 10,225 (Roundup Peak), Copper Basin, Idaho


Roundup Peak, Copper Basin, Idaho
The mountain overlooks the annual cattle roundup held each fall in Copper Basin.
Roundup Peak, Copper Basin, Idaho

Copper basin is tucked between the Pioneer Mountains and the White Knob Mountains. It is best accessed from Trail creek Road connecting Ketchum with the Big Lost River Valley. About midway, the road to Copper Basin leaves the Trail Creek Road and follows the East Fork Big Lost River southeast eventually running along the east side of  the basin. You know the basin is near when the hulking mountain Big Black Dome comes into view in the west. The next road to the southwest follows Star Hope Creek to the popular Star Hope Campground at the southern tip of Copper Basin. This road also provides access points for many climbing opportunities in the Pioneer Mountains. See photos below.

View from the top of Roundup Peak
Big Black Dome on for right
Big Black Dome (right) and Pyramid Peak

Detail of the southern ridge
Altair, Standhope, The Fin
Not turning off on the Star Hope Creek Road eventually takes you to the access road for the eastern edge of the basin. You will see a guard station signaling this turn to the west. This road will take you to Lake Creek Canyon, Muldoon Canyon, and will eventually to the southern tip of the basin and Star Hope Creek Campground. Yes, both roads connect at the southern tip.

Our destination for the day was the Lake Creek Recreation Site at the head of Lake Creek Canyon. There is a small campground there with access to water. Also, the campground is at the head of good hiking and biking trail that heads up the canyon to several small lakes. The location is right up against the southwest slopes of Roundup Peak. A short walk into the canyon reveals the gnarly slopes of the backside of the mountains leading to Copper Basin Knob.

Southwest slopes from Roundup to Copper Basin Knob
Ben and I met Tom and his wife Laurie here at the campground and planned on climbing in the morning. The weather was not playing ball and we knew that we would have to adjust our plans accordingly. Afternoon thunderstorms would likely throw us some curves.

Once at the campground, I realized that I forgot to pack the stove when I began looking forward to the chicken mole that was thawing in the cooler. Damn. I was so excited when Laurie warmed up the mole, rice, and black beans on her stove and added wonderful warm tortillas to the spread. We all enjoyed a pretty mean dish of mole that night. Ben of course, wouldn't eat the mole, so Laurie spoiled him by making him tomato soup and a cheese sandwich. We broke out our fancy cream sodas and were living high that evening!

In the morning, we retraced the road around to the north and approached the peak from the gentle north slope running to the southeast. Eventually, making the ridge just to the side of the rocky face shown above. The hike was pleasant. Numerous wildflowers dotted the hillside.  Ben and I took the chance to appreciate their beauty several times during the ascent. I really enjoyed the hundreds of Sego Lilies on the mountain.

Tom Lopez Photo
Tom Lopez Photo
Tom Lopez Photo
Looking over Lake Creek Canyon
Tom wanted to get a picture of Ben doing a handstand out on this rock
Ben just wasn't accomodating
Tom Lopez Photo
Ben and I on the summit
Ben brought a bag of those red-hot Cheetos for a summit snack. Tom and I both gave him a hard time.

Tom and Ben on the summit
View of Lake Creek Canyon from Roundup Peak
Atlas Peak, just right of center, is the kind of mountain you want to climb because it is so beautiful
Alcon Peak is one in the distance
Once on the summit, our plan was then to traverse over to Copper Basin Knob. The clouds to the south didn't look promising. We decided to call it good on the top of Roundup Peak. The extra time that day gave Ben and I a chance to explore Copper Basin and make a few more photos of the area. See Below.

From the main road
From the main road
Driving in on the Star Hope Creek Road
Big Black Dome 
Glide Mountain over Star Hope Campground
Glide Mountain
The next day, on the way home, Ben and I decided to take the Burma Road from Copper Basin to the Big Lost River Valley. I have always been intrigued by this road on the map. Perhaps the lore of the WWII Burma road added to my intrigue. Anyway, here are a few images made on the Burma Road.

For more details of this trip, please check out Tom's report.

For more trip reports of other mountains visit

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