Ascent of Diamond Peak on 2013-07-14

Climber: Richard Hensley

Date:Sunday, July 14, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Diamond Peak
    Elevation:12197 ft / 3717 m

Ascent Trip Report

Changed my plans to climb this today after meeting Greg Slayden on Trapper Peak a few days ago. He told me at least 2 other Peakbaggers were climbing this today. Arrived at Pass Creek Road last night and met Rob Woodall and Alan Bernier as they were preparing to camp. Awoke this morning and were joined by a group of 8 or 9 organized by John H. through the Idaho Alpine Club. We carpooled up to the end of the 4WD road; Rob and Alan drove their car to the limit for low-clearance vehicles, described in Petter Bjorstad's trip report; I took them in my Pathfinder up the 4WD and stopped just before the ridiculously steep dip in the road; and another truck with off-road tires took us up the last 0.4mi of road to about 8500msl.
See Rob's trip report for a good description of this climb. His GPS track includes all you need for navigating this route from the highway. The eastern half shows the route from the highway to the limit for low-clearance cars, which is handy since there are multiple roads and no signs after leaving the highway. The southern loop shows the route to the 4WD trailhead and the main trail up the east ridge. The northern loop shows where they took the northeast fork of the main ridge back to their car, a good route if you can't drive the 4WD road. Petter Bjorstad's report also describes that route.
Just a couple of my own observations. From the 4WD end, we followed the obvious trail up through the first outcropping, after which the trail disappeared. We then sidehilled west through the first cluster of trees, then just above the next two clusters to the 9400msl saddle. There are a couple of animal trails off and on here, but the steep hillside can still get uncomfortable. It might be easier to walk straight up the side and then across the flat ridgetop. The extra 80 feet of gain is probably worth it for the better footing.
I'm not a rockclimber, so I found some of the scrambling challenging. But it just takes more careful route selection. There is some mild exposure of 10-15 foot drops, and they can usually be bypassed on the north side of the ridge, but you may have to drop a 100 feet on loose scree. You can see the bootprints where some have done that. It's much easier to just scramble along or near the top.
For a great way to finish the day, try the Sharkey Hot Springs, about one hour north on Hwy 28. At Tendoy, turn right for the Lemhi Pass loop. Turn left for the signed Lewis & Clark Backcountry Byway/Adventure Road. (You don't want Agency Creek Road.) In 2.8 miles, turn right on NF-185 to stay on the loop. It's about 5 miles from Hwy 28. Nice pools, developed by the Forest Service, but unattended. $3 fee. A couple of vault toilets / changing rooms.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3800 ft / 1157 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4282 ft / 1305 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3720 ft / 1133 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3700 ft / 1128 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Loss on way in:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    Route:east ridge
    Start Trailhead:4WD road end  8497 ft / 2589 m
    Time:3 Hours 31 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4262 ft / 1299 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4182 ft / 1275 m; Extra: 80 ft / 24m
    Gain on way out:80 ft / 24 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Route:east ridge
    End Trailhead:0.4 mile down 4WD road  8015 ft / 2442 m
    Time:3 Hours 47 Minutes

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