Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hutton Peak 9-27-2015

Partners: Dog.

Stats: Class 2. 6.4 miles round trip. Total time 4:30. Elevation gain approx 1,700ft to summit elevation 5,331.

Gear notes: N/A.

Links: Hutton Peak on Lists of John. Dan Robbins' TR on Idahosummits.com Hutton Peak Page on Idaho: A Climbing Guide. Idaho Alpine Zone TR.

Hutton Peak on the left, Fiddler on the right.

With some fine fall weather on tap, I figured it was about time to head back into the Danskin Range to hike Hutton Peak and Fiddler Bench Mark. I've been trying to not over research the local peaks to heighten the adventure a little. On bigger peaks, knowing the landmarks is critical. For local peaks, I just make sure to stay off of private property. I should have done a little more research on getting to the top of Hutton in order to facilitate my planned 2 peak day.

Willow Creek.
I arrived at Willow Creak Trailhead about 10:00am and set off up the trail with cool temps and light wind. A fine fall day for peak bagging, in deed. I knew I needed to gain the ridge to the north; I had no idea where to get on it. I ho-hummed about not having a map or really planning a route. After about 20 minutes of contemplation, I wasn't sure if I'd even make it to Hutton Peak. All I knew for sure is I wasn't going home yet, and certainly not without getting to the top of something.

Granite outcrops above the creek.
I finally started up the slope I just happened to be standing at the base of. I wanted to get up higher to at least survey the area.

Looking east, up Willow Creek.

It was a steep hike up the hillside that quickly lead to my view of the area opening up, which was a good thing. Getting pelted by grasshoppers as I hiked added to the fun.

Steep slopes and false summits.

I found a trail that I had no idea would be there. With the usual instinct of hiking to the highest point around, I headed to the highest point I could see. I figured that had to be Hutton Peak, or at least close to it.

No, that is not the peak; it sits a ways behind the highpoint. If it looks far away, that's because it was. If it looks steep, that's because it was. At this point my tenacious personality got the best of me. I was going to find Hutton Peak at the least, or kick my butt trying.

Looking towards Three Point Mountain and Blacks Creek Road.

I followed the trail to the final steep slope that lead up to the general direction that I wanted to go and hiked straight up. Not the most fun thing, but apparently I'm a glutton for suffering. After dang near 1,000 vertical feet I could enjoy a fine view over the Danskin Range.

Fiddler and Danskin Peak on the right in the background.

I was finally able to scope out the ridge that lead to Fiddler. It's always farther, higher and harder than it looks and Fiddler looked to be along ways away.

Hutton Peak.

At this point, I was fairly certain that I was headed to Hutton by way of the several false summits and pointless ups and downs. 

Closing in on Hutton.

I had burned up some time trying to figure out where I was headed earlier in the day but at least I was getting closer to Hutton Peak.

Looking west from the peak.

The day had heated up significantly and there was no shade to be had. The slight cool breeze was more than welcomed as I took in the view from atop the peak.

Looking east, towards Fiddler.

Fiddler was still a long hike away. I had burned up some time scratching my head earlier in the day and it was now too close to my set turn around time of 2:00pm to make a reasonable effort to push on. I could still have made it to Fiddler and back to my car well before dark, but I should have started earlier. I decided that in heat of the day and the extra effort that I had already put in just to get up Hutton, Fiddler, sadly would have to wait for another day.


So close, yet so far away.

Since I wasn't going to push any further along the ridge, I enjoyed a nice break on the top of Hutton.

Oh yeah, almost forgot to take that selfie. 

Looking down into the South Fork Boise River and Prairie.

The view down towards Prairie was pretty cool. Now I have to figure out if I can get up to that mesa or not.

Looking down the lower route.

What goes up must come down. Getting up, over and down all those false summits was not the funnest thing ever. The above picture was taken well away and below the top of Hutton. My route followed the obvious ridge in the center to the grove of trees at the center-right where the trailhead is. Long, hot and laborious...

Fall colors in Willow Creek.

It was easy to appreciate the cool shade down in the creek. The undergrowth was beginning to show off its fall colors. I wish I had brought a map and planned a more specific route to complete my planed 2 peak day, but I try to live in the now so I won't say I regret anything. Next time I can return with a better understanding of the area.  

At least I didn't come away with sore legs and nothing to show for it.

Happy trails!

Granola, out.


  1. Hi Tom. Curious, does Willow Creek still have water this time of year? I'm thinking about MTB'ing a few trails out there this weekend. Thanks for info!

  2. Hi Tom. Curious, does Willow Creek still have water this time of year? I'm thinking about MTB'ing a few trails out there this weekend. Thanks for info!

    1. Yes, there was some water but it was easily crossed.