Scotchman Peak

August 19, 2019


Sandpoint / Lake Pend Orielle, ID

Scotchman Peak is one of the more important summits in northern Idaho. It has over 4000 feet of topographical prominence and is the highest peak in the western half of Cabinet Mountains. To attain the summit is not a difficult fair as a trail leads all the way to the top, but does require some physical effort as over 1000 m elevation must be gained. Adam and I did it in the afternoon of Day 2 of our 2019 peak-bagging road trip, after completing Northwest Peak and Queen Mountain earlier in the trip. The drive to the trail-head was actually not trivial with confusing branches but with Google Map app the navigation was easy. I’m always impressed how every single branch of logging road in United States is correctly stored on Google, while in Canada we have to figure them all on our own.

Scotchman Peak hiking route. GPX DL

The hike involves endless switchbacks on a south-facing forested slope and given the time of the day we each loaded 3 L of water. I expected this was going to be a very boring and tedious hike but it’s actually worse than I thought. We both thought this trail was one of the most boring hikes we had ever done, and given the quantity of hikes Adam has done I take this statement for seriousness… The only reason I managed to make to treeline was music. I listened to music for the entire hike which helped numbing my mind.

Adam on the lower trail. It was like this forever

There were some views but the peaks here are very tame

More about the boring hike.

Crossing a patch of open slope.

Our first unobstructed view of Lake Pend Orielle

The view did improve drastically once reaching treeline and we could see the immense Lake Pend Orielle stretching to the south. The traverse to the dual summits was actually fun and the true summit required a few moves of scrambling, but the flying ants kept our summit day relatively short. It took us exactly 2 hours from car to the summit.

Me posing in front of the summit.

A look towards Savage Mountain and the typical Cabinets scenery

Adam marching up

The summit is ahead.

Lake Pend Orielle

A southern panorama from Scotchman Peak. Click to view large size.

Adam scrambling to gain the true summit

A northern panorama from Scotchman Peak. Click to view large size.

The twin summits of Snowshoe Peak in the distance

Savage Mountain in the foreground

More about the Cabinet scenery

Me on the summit of Scotchman Peak

Another photo of me on the summit of Scotchman Peak

The descent was again, boring as fuck, and I just listened to music for the entire way. Eventually the slog came to an end and we soon started the drive towards our next objective – Snowshoe Peak.

Adam hiking down under the hot sun

One last look at Lake Pend Orielle

As boring as it looked here…