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2017-08-21  
Solar Eclipse Sunset Peak, ID
mini location map2017-08-21
23 by photographer avatarBiFrost
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Solar Eclipse Sunset Peak, ID 
Solar Eclipse Sunset Peak, ID
 
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2017
BiFrost
Hiking12.89 Miles 4,072 AEG
Hiking12.89 Miles   10 Hrs   33 Mns   1.70 mph
4,072 ft AEG   2 Hrs   57 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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We planned this trip last minute about 2 weeks before the eclipse but still enough time to study the maps and pick a spot for the viewing. I looked at areas north of Denver and Salt Lake City but ultimately decided that we wanted to be in the mountains of Idaho for the event. Looking at the map one peak stood out and it was Sunset Peak in the Lost River Range. At 10,693 and above tree line it was a great location for views and best of all only 700 feet from the centerline of the solar eclipse shadow about dead center.

The beginning of the hike starts out as two track which is easy to follow but fades out about 3 miles up canyon. At that point with no official trail to the summit there are several routes to take. We decided on the western ridge approach which overall was decent except for the last ½ mile to the summit with sketchy scree slopes and class 2/3 rock scrambles. We started hiking at 5am reaching the summit in about 4 hours so we had some time before partial eclipse started around 1015. Two people on the summit when we arrived but more continued to filter in over the next hour. Final count was 27 on top for the eclipse but they were cool hikers that didn’t mind the effort of 12 miles and about 4000 AEG to the summit.

The lead up to the total eclipse was interesting to watch. The temps dropped off 5 or 10 degrees and the light was very muted even before the total eclipse started. Once total eclipse kicked in we had 2 minutes 18 seconds of totality before the sun flashed out the other side. We were also surprised that it looked like the sun was setting 360 degrees around the horizon which was the only light we could see. Very cool to see even though it went by way to quick. However now we know why you really want to be in the path of total eclipse for the full effect.


Some video...one of our fellow hikers was super excited to see the eclipse :)
[ youtube video ]

Cool sunset horizon
[ youtube video ]

After the show we packed up and headed down a different route off the peak with a few other hikers. The route down was much easier than the scree slope ascent but a bit longer mileage. We made quick work back down to the TH and happy that the trip worked out so well with the logistics especially the weather with not a cloud in the sky. Even without an eclipse Sunset Peak is a worthy hiking destination and would be great to explore more of the Lost River Range. Now just need to start looking at 2024 :-k
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