Trip Report
3rd times the charm on White Knob Peak!
Sunday August 17, 2014 8:42pm
This story should not be a "whale of a tale" about a white mountain that became my summer obsession. It is only 10,529' tall, and if there is a route up it that a cripple can't hike, I haven't noticed it.

It looks like a "White Knob' since the upper part is white limestone, or maybe dolomite from the Mississippian or early Permian eras (350 - 290 million years old).

After driving the steep & challenging high-clearance track to its rough & logical (& legal) end at around 9,400', various hiking routes lead to the easy summit.

However there is a geology lesson for those "in the know" in the White Knob Mountains.

A large chunk of hot granite "intruded" the limestone a few years back, maybe 10-40 million years ago. The hike up White Knob Peak shows exactly where the granite intruded into old limestone and altered it to what some geologists term a "skarn". Skarns often contain minerals of economic interest to miners,--- like copper. One of Idaho's largest non-active copper mines is only a few miles east of White Knob Peak.

Trip 1: a significant storm was forecast, and after an early morning start and a visit to some old mines at 9,700', I could have sprinted to the summit, but there would have been no time to explore and enjoy & a storm retreat might have been ugly.

Trip 2! Our group made it to another mine at 9,700' and killed the morning. The trip leader was not motivated to summit.

Trip 3! A solo trip. I started hiking at 9:00 A.M. yesterday, and a 1/4 mile later realized I had no food along. After retreating to my vehicle and re-provisioning, the summit trek was renewed.

I looked at interesting rocks, sniffed the flowers, enjoyed the views, and had a great time in Idaho's high mountains.

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more to follow!

  Trip Report Views: 1,305
About the Author
Fritz is a trad climber from Choss Creek, ID.


Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
  Aug 17, 2014 - 09:12pm PT
Fritz...I envy the solitude you experience on your jaunts..Must be nice and peaceful out there...rj

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 18, 2014 - 07:02am PT
Fritz....I see a new career for you. Put together a list of the "seven most attainable summits" in Idaho. You'll be mobbed by transplanted East Coast yuppies in Boise who will want to bag them.

Trad climber
The fake McCoy from nevernever land.
  Aug 18, 2014 - 07:12am PT
3rd times the charm, indeed.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 18, 2014 - 07:23am PT
Nice work Fritz!

I especially enjoyed the geology lesson, since there's NOT ENOUGH PIX!!

Trad climber
  Aug 18, 2014 - 07:37am PT
Bring on da pix, and +1 for the geology lesson!

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2014 - 07:49am PT
OK,OK! More photos. My fingers were exhausted last night.

Donini! My thoughts are similar. There is a definate need for a guide to Idaho's most attainable peaks. Maybe I can set up a non-profit to provide wheel-chair access too.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 18, 2014 - 08:16am PT
Looks more like White Hump to me, but what do I know? Maybe 'hump'
wasn't on the PC list? Of course, not far away they got away with 'tetons'.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Aug 18, 2014 - 10:24am PT
I liked the geology lesson also. TFPU

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 18, 2014 - 10:27am PT
So beautiful, thanks man.

Now all we need is.................. MORE PIX!!!!
The Larry

  Aug 18, 2014 - 10:33am PT
Yeah Fritz! Is it doable in flip flops?

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2014 - 08:37pm PT
Thanks for the feedback folks!

The Larry? re your question:
Is it doable in flip flops?

No problems for the serious flip flop advocate to summit.

I do need to mention, that I looked down on some fairly significant granite cliffs on the north-side of White Knob, and there are some pretty interesting looking granite cliffs down-canyon on the south-east side.

The summit views include most all of Idaho's highest piles of choss.

I had noticed a mine nearly at the top of the mountain on the way up, and I sheltered from the wind for lunch in a small prospect hole while exploring my way back down the mountain. Just below it was a big mined-out hole in the skarn, with an adit (tunnel)leading to the outside.

Although no structures remained, square nails, which date to the early 1890's or earlier, were scattered around.

A one-time road, now reduced by time and erosion to barely a steep trail led down from the mine. In my mind the difference between a high-altitude "prospect-hole" and a mine, is a road. The 1800's miners didn't need a road to haul out ore, since they could build a tramway, but they needed a road to bring up heavy mining equipment.

Based on a lifetime of exploring Idaho's mountains, I believe this one may be Idaho's highest mine at my GPS-measured 10,459'.

On the way down the road/trail/track, made for easy if somewhat steep walking. I found myself wondering if mules, or more likely oxen carried loads up it to the mine.

A view back up clearly shows the white limestone and the brown contact (skarn) zone on the ridgetop.

I did find a nice green Grossular Garnet specimen along the way.


Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Aug 18, 2014 - 08:35pm PT
Very cool! Beautiful peak.
And I love the garnet specimen.

East Bay, CA
  Aug 18, 2014 - 08:40pm PT
Neat looking Mt and cool TR.
In the future, I'd really like to learn some about rock hounding. I could spend a lifetime turning over stones and poking around in hillsides.

The Good Places
  Aug 18, 2014 - 08:40pm PT
sweet lookin' peak and a sweet garnet!

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Aug 18, 2014 - 08:50pm PT
Great adventure! Thanks for posting up. Lovely green Garnet!