Shoshone County Highpoint Trip Report

Illinois Peak (7,690 feet)

Date: July 26, 2009
Author: Edward Earl

Ken Jones' report is fine, except that by his own admission he does not provide mileages for the driving approach. They would have helped me a little, so I provide them here.

I took Exit 47 off of I-90 in Superior MT, and turned ESE on Diamond Rd immediately S of the freeway interchange. Call this point mile 0.0. At mile 1.1 I turned R on Cedar Creek Rd where a sign indicates NF access. I crossed a RR, then passed a set of white horizontal cylindrical tanks. At 3.8 miles the pavement ends. At 6.7 miles I went L at a fork where the R branch is Oregon Creek Rd #7865. At 6.9 miles I crossed a bridge. At 12.8 miles I went through an open FS gate followed immediately by a bridge. At 13.0 miles I stayed straight where FR 7822 goes R. At 14.5 miles I turned L on FR-388 and crossed a bridge immediately thereafter. At 14.8 miles I reached a rocky spot where a low clearance vehicle would probably get scraped, though my Nissan 2WD pickup had no trouble. At 17.1 miles I passed the turnoff into the Gildersleeve Mine on my left; shortly thereafter was a sharp L switchback followed by a L ascending traverse that occasionally provided tree-broken views of the mine below. At 17.4 miles I crossed Snowshoe Gulch, which was a dry streambed but may be flowing at other times. A vehicle without high clearance would have to be coaxed carefully across the dip, and even then it would probably scrape. At 18.8 miles the road topped out at Freezeout Pass where I parked.

There were 3 roads heading R (W) from the pass. The leftmost traversed the S side of the ridge heading up to Illinois Pk, the rightmost traversed the N side, and the middle one headed directly up the crest and is identified as "Trout Creek Driveway Trail #169". It is no longer driveable by any street legal vehicle, as a berm now blocks it. An ATV could probably get over it, and I saw mountain bike tracks on the road-turned-trail beyond it.

Ken's description of the 2 mile trail up the ridge to the HP is fine.