Shoshone County High Point Trip Report

Illinois Peak (7,690 ft)

Date: August 10, 2002
Authors: Barney, Kristin and Sammy Metz

We approached this one differently than Ken Jones. I would assume that most everyone else would find this easier access via his route than mine. However, if you were so inclined I post it for those reasons.

We came from Hoodoo Pass on the Idaho-Montana border and head down Trout Creek Road towards Superior, Montana. From the top of Hoodoo Pass to Superior is 27 miles.

Less than 5 miles from the top, we headed north on FS-388, which is passable only by high clearance vehicle. This little road has many Kelly humps and the going is slow. Four-wheel drive was not necessary, however, you will not be able to pass this road on the south end of Freezeout Saddle in a passenger car. After a ways, less than 5 miles, you will meet a "T" with another road, this one is passable by car and comes from Deep Creek Lake. Go left here and head north towards Freezeout Saddle. You will pass one area that has multiple roads, some gated, headed off in different directions; ignore this intersection. Head to the next intersection, which will be Freezeout Saddle. When looking west from the main road, there are three roads, not just the two that Ken mentions. There is one on the north and south sides of the ridge and one that directly runs up the ridge. You want the one that runs directly up the ridge, or the middle road. There were no signs there indicating that this was the Illinois Peak Trail. You can drive this road a ways if you have a high clearance and four-wheel drive vehicle. We were in a CJ-5 and had no difficulty whatsoever. This road peters out until it turns into the trail. We backed down and parked on a flat spot, next to a very old and decaying cabin.

Follow the trail west until you reach the top. The north side has very steep drop-offs and pretty views. At the top is a large cairn with three registers; two old glass jars with lots of notes and one PVC pipe container with a small journal in it, very nice concept by the way. Inside, we found where Bob Packard and Ken Jones and the Jones family made it to the top. It is noted that Bob and Ken simultaneously completed the state of Idaho here, as the only two completers. There is a very small rock outcropping a few feet to the north, which might be the actual high spot. We touched both. There were no clouds and lots of pretty views on this day, but extremely windy. We were going to hike to Graves Peak, but were running out of time.

As a comical note on the way back to the North Fork of the Clearwater, we had a flat. During the last two high pointing trips, I have had three flats.

Trip statistics: Less than 5 miles round trip with 1,500 feet elevation gain.