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Ski or Snowboard Lost River Peak Super Gully Backcountry

Mackay, Idaho



5 miles

Elevation Gain

4400 ft

Route Type



Added by Bob Hollywood

4,600 feet of grueling uphill, followed by 2,400 feet of pure downhill bliss. Top it off with the ridge trek (if conditions are safe) to bag Idaho's 6th highest peak.

Lost River Peak stands at 12,078 feet making it Idaho's 6th highest peak. It is easily identifiable from highway 93, by the giant super gully leading to the top.

How to get there: Take highway 93 north of Mackay. Turn right on Upper Cedar creek road (Forest Service Road 127). Follow this road for 3 miles. There will be a faint fork prior to a creek crossing, stay right. At the creek crossing (it looks deeper then it is), follow the road directly north (left) toward the mountain and it will bend and parallel the base of the mountain. You will see a very faint old motorcycle trail that heads straight up the mountain. Stop here. This is the starting point. Be sure to research further on this, it is easy to get lost and end up at the wrong canyon. There are some camp spots slightly past the trailhead. Good luck finding a flat section. I attempted this road in March. It was still covered in drifted snow and required me to park early and walk in 2 miles. Mid April its starts to clear out and you can probably make it all the way in.

The trail: Follow the old motorcycle trail up into the trees. Angle left to a wash crossing and follow this up. At about 8,880 feet. You will come to a tree-covered ridge that parallels the super gully. Keep along this until you come to the last tree (1.3 miles). If you veer to far left and end up off the ridge before the last trees, you will find yourself in pinnacles and cliffs that block your way up to the gully. At the last tree its time to put on your winter climbing gear, whether if you're skinning up or using crampons, here's where the fun begins. At the last tree you'll see where people have dropped some weight and left their hiking boots. The higher you get the narrower and steeper it gets. You will come to and area of deep cliffs, each escarpment is said to be 30 feet high. I've heard this area called "Stadium of the Gods" or "Stadium of Giants" whatever it's called.. its beautiful and a worthy place of a sit down. Past this point it starts getting even narrower. At 2 miles it narrows to 15 yards, this area is called the gate and is the top of the super gully at 11,000 feet. Even in the spring we had baseball sized rocks coming down. Wear a helmet! From the gate you'll be in a wider snow filled area (scree in the summer). Angle left and follow ridge line up to the false summit at 12,000 ft. This last 600 yard is a grueling 45 degrees (at least). This is probably too steep to skin up. From the false summit it's another half to 3/4 miles to the true summit. Know your snow. We did not attempt this ridgeline to the summit due to the huge cornice (picture attached). That ridge line narrows to less then 3 feet wide in some areas and is greatly exposed. I cannot stress caution enough. Looking out toward the true summit you will see the far away Diamond peak (Idahos 4th highest) to the left is the prominent Mt. Breitenbach (5th), Mt. Borah, Donaldson and Church can all be seen as well. To the right is Mt. McCaleb and little Mac. (also fantastic skiing).

Let the fun begin. Take off those horrible crampons. Strap on your board and off you go. Play around up top in the steeps for a couple runs or just tackle the 2400 vertical feet of perfect corn snow down to the tree line. Then sadly gather up your dropped gear and start the trek down through the trees, all the while planning your next trip back.

Warnings: This gully is steep, prone to sudden changes in weather, frequent high winds, and large snow falls. Be avalanche prepared. Now your snow and know when to turn back. It is extremely avalanche prone. I saw people up there that had no business being up there. If you can't ski a double black at a resort, you probably shouldn't be skiing this. Maybe try a nice glissade instead.

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