Thursday, April 12, 2012

Johnstone Peak

Johnstone Peak is a great early season hike in the Pioneer Mountains. It's prominence yields big views that will not disappoint.  

Date: April 12, 2012.

Partners: N/A.

Stats: Approx 9 mile round trip and 3,200ft gain to summit elevation 9,949.

Route: South Ridge, class 2.

Links: Johnstone Peak on

Gear notes: Snowshoes.

Johnstone from the road.

Johonstone Peak in the Pioneer Mountains makes for a great snowshoe trip and could be accessible when many other peaks are not. I left Boise at 04:30 and was able to drive to within about a half mile of where I intended to park on Hyndman Creek Road and started up the hillside to the south ridge.
The route is straight forward but not without steep slopes.

Johnstone Peak.

Johnstone Peak.

Cobb Peak.

The view of Cobb Peak was a real treat. It immediately jumped up to near the top of my list.

South Ridge.

The route is mostly visible to the summit, which is also neat.

Pioneer Trio.

False summit.

Wet slide.
Warm overnight temperatures were evident with wet slide activity noted on solar aspects.

Hyndman, Old Hyndman and Cobb.

About half way to the top, the Pioneer Trio comes into view.

More false summits.

There are a few false summits on the ridge.


The snow had not froze down low, so post-holes were tiresome. Higher up, the snow was firm and in some places bullet proof. The final slope to the summit came into view and went without much trouble.

DBW and DBE.

Clouds rolled in and out, but didn't produce any precipitation.
The clouds broke to the north long enough to make out Devil's Bedstead West and DBE.


Cornice failure.

After just enough time to get some pictures and eat, I got focused on the descent.
There was plenty of evidence to remind me that nature was in control. I decided to bypass the rest of the cornices on the way down.


On descent.

Skirting around most of my tracks from the way up added a little more distance, but I was okay with that.

Grays Peak.

Descent into Bear Gultch.

Pio's from the road.

Lower on the ridge the sun was out and the day was warm. Then I got to experience a real treat; post-holing up to my thighs with snowshoes on.  I dropped off the ridge and into Bear Gulch and eventually I made it back to the car. I was a little soggy from the deep wet snow and running water in the creek, but I was in one piece for the drive home with sore legs and a big smile.

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