Cobb Peak
Elevation 11650'
June 25, 2011
43.7309°N / 114.1264°W
Climbing the Comma Couloir on Cobb Peak.

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Cobb Peak is located in central Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains near Ketchum. It helps make up the Pioneer Triumvirate, along with Hyndman Peak and Old Hyndman Peak. These three peaks are located at the heart of the range, and are all great climbing goals. Cobb stands front and center, in full view of hikers making their way up the scenic Hyndman Creek trail.

Michael and I had been talking about climbing Cobb Peak for the past couple years, and plans finally came together. We were joined by Pat and Steve, who had both climbed Cobb before, but were back for more. Thanks to a wet and cool spring, there was still plenty of snow left in the area, and we made plans to climb the “Comma Couloir”, on the southwest face of Cobb Peak. As we made our way up the trail, we could see the route, and hoped to take a direct approach starting at the base of the southwest face. But once we reached the creek, there were no obvious places to cross the early season swell.

So we continued up the trail toward the upper Hyndman Basin. The snow coverage was heavy above 9000’ feet, but it fortunately supported our weight as we made our way to the base of Cobb’s west ridge. We followed the ridge to about 10400’, and then put on crampons to traverse across the face to the base of the couloir. It was mostly in the shade, and we split into groups of two, with Pat and Michael going to the right of a rock rib, and Steve and I heading to the left. The snow was mostly firm, and we only broke through occasionally when the coverage was thin. Eventually the slope got steeper on the side Steve and I were on, so we scrambled over the rock to enter the main couloir with Pat and Michael. They were already a few hundred feet up the couloir. Conditions were great. The snow was firm, and not too steep. Probably never more that 40-degree slope. We made steady pace, and the couloir took us directly to the summit.

Once on top, the views were outstanding, with jagged and snowy Pioneer peaks all around us. The most impressive views were of Old Hyndman, Hyndman, and Duncan Ridge. It was sunny but breezy, so we bundled up and enjoyed the views will having lunch. Hard to imagine a better setting for munching on a PB&J. While on top, we were able to watch a few skiers carve their way down Hyndman’s south face.

We made quick time on the way down, with a 1000’ glissade to the base of the couloir, and another 1000’ glissade down a gully to the south. From here, Pat took the lead, and navigated us back toward the west, and eventually to the crux of the day, our creek crossing. There were a couple rocks that got us within leaping distance of a gravel bar on the opposite side. Pat led the way, tossing his pack across and then taking the big leap. We followed his lead, and got across without issues. We barely even got our boots wet. From there we hiked the three miles back to the trailhead, discussing ideas for future adventures, and feeling very good about the day.

Map of our route, 10 miles round trip and 4600' elevation gain.
Map of our route, 10 miles round trip and 4600' elevation gain.
Cobb Peak from the Hyndman Creek trail.
Cobb Peak from the Hyndman Creek trail.
Heading up the trail, just after the fork.
Heading up the trail, just after the fork.
Duncan Ridge and Hyndman Peak.
Duncan Ridge and Hyndman Peak.
Making our way up to the west ridge.
Making our way up to the west ridge.
Entering the Comma Couloir.
Entering the Comma Couloir.
At the base of the snow climb.
At the base of the snow climb.
Steve crossing a snowfield.
Steve crossing a snowfield.
Pat and Michael in the couloir.
Pat and Michael in the couloir.
Looking down the couloir.
Looking down the couloir.
Steve nearing the summit.
Steve nearing the summit.
Cobb Peak summit panorama.
Cobb Peak summit panorama.
Fashionable headgear, as usual.
Fashionable headgear, as usual.
Enjoying the summit views.
Enjoying the summit views.
Hyndman Peak from Cobb.
Hyndman Peak from Cobb.
The ridge from Cobb to Old Hyndman.
The ridge from Cobb to Old Hyndman.
Great glissading conditions.
Great glissading conditions.
Looking back up the southwest face.
Looking back up the southwest face.
Crux of the day, leaping across the creek.
Crux of the day, leaping across the creek.
Michael resting by the trail.
Michael resting by the trail.

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