Madison County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: July 29, 2009
Author: Adam Helman

Participants include Dean Molen and the author.

Dean Molen's photographs

note 1: All coordinates employ the WGS84 datum.
note 2: Photographs by Dean. Click on any image for enlargement.

This effort was part of a larger journey collecting Idaho, Montana, and Washington county highpoints in late July and August 2009.

The highpoint, Red Butte, can be combined with adjacent Teton County, and as done here with Dean Molen over a 13 hour 37 minute dayhike with 4,900 feet of total elevation gain.

trailhead parking
One may also combine these efforts with Jefferson County by traveling west on FR218 exactly 10.0 miles from the junction cited below, until reaching a key junction at 6,230 feet adjacent to a large parking area under Kelly Mountain. See Jefferson County reports for more information.

Key points for the approach drive not noted in earlier reports.

Begin with the junction of FR218 and FR651 at (43.67623° N, 111.46750° W), elevation 7,082 feet. This point is accessed either by traveling east from Kelly Mountain, along FR218, or from the north using an even longer route after leaving pavement.

Turn southeast onto FR651 and travel 1.9 miles. The road bends east, and eventually turns north to terminate at a trailhead parking area with bathroom and coordinates (43.66997° N, 111.44549° W), elevation 7,276 feet.

Useful information for the hike / climb not previously noted.

Ken Jones' trip report suffices for the trio of peaks needed to secure these two counties - Garns Mountain, Piney Peak, and Red Butte. I add the following comments.

Garns summit Piney Peak
Summit of Garns Mountain
with Adam.
Piney Peak coming from
Garns Mountain.

Relative elevations

For Garns Mountain I obtain GPS-based elevations of 9,055 and 9,056 feet over three readings.
For Piney Peak I obtain in similar fashion three readings of 9,058 feet.

Dean Molen also obtained slightly higher elevations for Piney Peak. However in both cases the difference with Garns Mountain was well within the error range of our respective units.

General comments

As noted our hike consumed the entire day. Dean's GPS unit indicated a total distance of 19.5 miles. We were both tired as the sun sank low on reaching the traihead. Four quarts was insufficient - I had to refill enroute and estimate a 5 or 6 quart capacity would have been needed otherwise.

On reaching our vehicles Dean and I parted ways, his wife waiting patiently at a campsite along the approach road for Kelly Mountain of Jefferson County. As it was nearly sunset I chose to simply stay put, and, after cooling down enjoyed a wonderful supper with rice with a very spicy tomato / vindaloo gravy. Peanut butter made an excellent addition, as did salted cashews. It was one of the most flavor-packed TV dinners I've eaten, backcountry or otherwise.

As of this report's composition, in early September, Dean has just seven counties left in Idaho. With perseverance he can finish next summer.