• Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    4600 Feet


Mount Breitenbach is Idaho's 5th highest peak coming in at 12,140 feet. If you are on a quest to climb all nine of Idaho's 12k peaks this is a good starter peak. From the summit you will catch a glimpse of all 8 of the other 12ers. The view is one of the best you'll get in Idaho!

Directions to the "trailhead":
From Mackay, Idaho take Highway 93, approximately 2 miles past Mackay reservoir, turn right on Upper Cedar Creek road (FS rd 127). Follow this road straight toward the mountains. There will be a number of cattle gates to go through. About 3 miles up, the road crosses a canal. A high clearance vehicle required. Just after you cross the canal turn left on the faint 4 wheeler road. This road leads away and then starts heading back toward the mountain. I've added a picture of the canyon you are looking for. There is a maze of roads out there. The road forks, follow it to the right. To the left you will end up at Jones Creek. Pete creek, the canyon you want, is right next to Lost River Peak. There will be a little camp/fire ring at the base of Pete Creek. The first attempt of this peak we stayed at the base of Lost River Peak and followed the hill around to the entrance of Pete Creek. This adds 3/4 of a mile.

The Climb:
Start early, the Lost River Range is prone to severe afternoon lightning storms and you are very exposed up high. The hike starts out with some serious bushwacking, stream crossing and nettle avoiding up through Pete Creek. This last for about 1.5 miles, 1,000 ft elevation gain and about 20 creek crossings. There are cairn markers scattered throughout. Pete Creek then disappears. From here the canyon opens up and the trees disappear. The canyon turns to the left to a wide open gully of stable tallus. This gully leads toward a headwall. You could scramble up this steep scree fest or veer right (for a gentler grade) and head for the false summit that takes you to the saddle (at 11,400ft). I've attached a picture with an arrow pointing to what the false summit looks like. At the saddle go left, following the ridge line for approximately 1/2 mile up and over a couple small false summits. There are a few knife edge sections, use extreme caution if the winds picks up and do not attempt if there is corniced snow. There is a rock pile, summit register, and flag in a container at the top. Very carefully look down the sheer north face into the Pahsimeroi River Valley. Looking north you will see 4 of the other 12k peaks, turning and looking south you will see Lost River Peak. Looking east straight across to the Lemhi Range, you will see 4th highest Diamond Peak. West you will see 9th Hyndman Peak. This hike is not for a beginner. Be prepared for anything. I've attached 2 pictures of my first attempt in August, the snow covered ones. At 10,500 feet there was 2 feet of fresh snow. Do more research to know exactly where you are going. This is a bit of a slog but also a fun, straight forward climb with, quite honestly the best views of any peak I've climbed in Idaho. Minimal scrambling required. Be safe and have fun!! Let me know what you think!

Pack List

  • Camp gear
  • Sturdy, water proof, hiking boots
  • Long pants, early trail has stinging nettle
  • Backpacking gear
  • Hiking poles
  • Clothing layers
  • Camera
  • Lots of water
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Bob Hollywood

Outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, climbing and peak bagging in the summer; snowboarding and snowshoeing in the winter. Always up for a new adventure!

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