Diamond Peak

  • Diamond Peak
  • 3719 m.
  • Primary factor: 1642 m
  • Idaho, USA
  • Location: North 44:08.487, West 113:04.966 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: (YDS) class 3
  • Climbed July 10, 2011.


How to get there:
Starting from Idaho Falls, take Interstate 15 north and go approximately 24 miles. Take exit 143, for Hwy. 33 and go west about 15 miles, locate Hwy. 28 (north, forks right) and get onto this road. Drive north to milepost 46, continue about a half mile and turn left onto a dirt road, called Pass Creek Road, there is no sign. Measure from here. Drive 1.8 mile and locate a small dirt road that goes directly right. It crosses a creek (there was plenty of water on July 10th), then climbs the hillside and arrives at a gate at mile 2.4. Open the gate, drive through and close it behind you. Driving back, a big bull that looked quite aggresive, tried to make trouble, a simple task like getting through a gate may then be quite a challenge.
Continue to mile 6, here is another gate of the same type. Just beyond the gate is a sign that welcomes you to the national forest. Continue driving until you start heading downhill. The mountain is now straight ahead. I parked here at location N44:09.809, W113:01.574, elevation about 2280 meter. Just before this, I had taken the right branch, as the road forked with a numbered track going left. However, depending on where it is permitted to drive (I did not have any map indicating this), you may continue as follows: Continue to follow the tracks from my location above, the route heads downhill, curves slightly right before a large left curve at location N44:09.716, W113:01.858. The track now heads towards what looks like and old water tank, turning more right here, the track descends to the bottom of the local valley and follows this right. After a short horizontal stretch, you arrive at location N44:09.565, W113:02.223. This may be a good place to park, the road to here has not been rough, in fact a (somewhat) high clearance vehicle will make it here easily.
If comfortable with driving further, then fork left at this location and follow the tracks uphill. Some vehicles have been driven at least to the top of the first hump on the ridge.
If you study this picture carefully, you will see where I parked my car. Just before this spot, you see the road fork, where I think it is best to stay right. (The "official" route follows the left fork.) If you trace the track as it continues from my car, you will see the left curve, the right curve with the water tank, and that the track enters the floor of the small valley, just as described above. In this picture, taken from the approach road, one may also see the tracks that actually climbs onto the lower part of the ridge itself.
Route description:
This route is different from what seems to be the standard route in the lower part of the hike. Still, judging from other trip reports, the route described here may be preferable as it largely avoids difficult scree and talus. This route is also more aesthetic, as it stays on the east ridge all the way.
From the trailhead approach described above, it is obviously a single long ridge that extends down from the mountain to the east. It is broken by a section with trees, then continues with several grassy bumps before hitting the gentle slope at the very base.
Thus, head up the tracks on the grassy ridge above the trailhead and follow the high ridge towards the mountain. There is a faint trail that still is quite convenient to follow. You will pass location N44:09.105, W113:03.148, elevation approximately 2600 meter, just before entering the section of the ridge that has a small forest. The trail continues uphill and the terrain is easy. You exit the trees on the upper side and the trail is now more pronounced as it zig-zags up a slightly steeper section before the ridge again becomes quite gentle. Next follows again a slightly steeper section where the ridge itself is less distinct, however, there are clear signs of a trail and the footing is pretty good. Overall, this route has very limited loose footing if you pick your way uphill in a best possible way.
Higher, you arrive at a more horizontal part and the ridge is again more pronounced. At location N44:08.731, W113:04.435, elevation about 3365 meter, the class 3 part of the route begins. The rock is quite good and the scrambling is fun. The route looks a bit harder than it is, generally, one may stay on or very close to the ridge itself. There are steeper sections alternating with easier terrain. A few times, the route runs a bit right of the ridge before regaining the high route, there are several variations and traces from people that have been far out into scree and unpleasant terrain on the right side of the ridge, one should avoid this.
The final stretch to the summit is more gentle, there may be snow in early July. The summit has a nice view all around.
Comments / Trip report:
We stayed three nights at the Best Western Driftwood in Idaho Falls. I left before 0400 and drove north to the trailhead. The road was just fine for a high clearance vehicle as I turned right and crossed a pretty swiftly running creek before heading up the final slope towards the peak. It was still dark and after crossing the second gate, I arrived at a somewhat rough spot in the dirt road. I decided to park and hike from here rather than driving on somewhat unknown roads while it was still dark. It turned out that the rough road only lasted for 2-3 meter and it was really not rough at all when inspected in daylight.
I left my car at 0500, decided that the GPS coordinates I had for the trailhead were way over left and that it would be more natural and fun to just explore a route going up the east ridge from its very base. The morning sun made the slopes higher up glow in red, the rocks further right had a fairytale color.
My choice of route turned out to be a good choice, there was even a trail and good footing. I got to the beginning of the class 3 terrain already at 0740, fun scrambling left me at the summit one hour later at 0840. It was a very nice morning and I spent 20 minutes on top, with very good views, before heading back down at 0900. A very enjoyable climb.