Monday, May 27, 2013

Recon of the Hyndman Basin in the Pioneer Mountains (Photos)

The Hyndman Basin in the Pioneer Mountains near Sun Valley (Idaho) is one of my favorite places on earth.  For being not too far off the beaten path, it has a lonesome beauty and primordial feel that makes it stand out even amongst the grandeur of the Northern Rockies where it rests.  It's also a great destination for trail and ultrarunners needing or wanting to get in some stout miles.  Six miles and 5,000 vertical feet from the trailhead is Hyndman Peak (elev 12,008 ft), which requires only a .75 mile (1200 ft) scramble on consolidated talus - easy going compared to most similar peaks in the area.  It makes for a nice 12 miles with great vert and time on feet, and the views are incomparable.

Feeling the need for a little something different from my normal Saturday training, I decided to head up the Basin to see what the late spring conditions were like.  So I grabbed my Z-Poles and KTS crampons and decided to see how far I could get before deep snow, time, or good sense turned me around.  I made it near the saddle at the base of the final push to Hyndman Peak before the flat light made it hard to discern the edges of the frozen and still snow covered run-off lakes.  Being alone and not wanting to hazard a break-through-the-ice emergency, I decided to head back down.

Seems it'll be another month before enough snow melts to reveal the standard route to the top.  Come late June, I'll be back up there, with fitter legs and no crampons.

Just entering the basin.  Hyndman Peak far right.

Basin still pretty much all snow, with nice crust cruising. Here, about mid-way up.

Not too far from the saddle (near my left heal) between Hyndman (not pictured) and Old Hyndman (in background) .