The Pioneer Trifecta

Also known as the Pioneer Triumvite (yeah, go look that one up).


  • Start: 7,060′ (2152 m)
  • Old Hyndman: 11,775′ (3589 m)
  • Cobb: 11,650′ (3551 m)
  • Hyndman: 12,012′ (3661 m)
  • Distance: 20.74 miles (33 km)
  • Vertical: 10,059′ (3066 m)
  • Total moving time: 12:26
  • Total time: 15:30

This is how we enjoyed the fourth of July.

Woke up at 3:45, on the road at 4:17 and the hike began at 5:02.

What you are about to read is what Dylan did for the day – not me. I was there to ‘watch’ Dylan bag the three peaks.

5 AM

Arrived at the trailhead in the dark. One other car there.

Surprisingly, it is not too dark at 5AM in the morning this time of year (early July).

The plan was for us to split up at the junction to Big Basin at the ~2.4 mile (3.9 km) mark.

I was going to continue up the valley towards Hyndman and hang out below Cobb and wait for Dylan to rejoin after summiting Old Hyndman and Cobb.

Dylan was going to follow Hyndman Creek and head up towards Big Basin towards Old Hyndman then across the ridge to Cobb.

That is not what happened.

6 AM

Dylan and I are at the first creek crossing that would send him up to Big Basin.

Looking across the first creek crossing – that’s a no go at 6AM in the morning, especially without sandals to use for a deep, cold and angry creek.

Time for Plan B.

What’s Plan B? There was none.

Plan B turned out to be “keep hiking up the trail and look for a tree across the creek to use”.

Turns out that was a pretty good idea.

We could hear the creek, but couldn’t actually see it. We were totally lucky on knowing guessing where to exit the trail and bush whack towards the creek. There is video below showing the agility of youth in action.

At 6:25 AM, I am heading up the trail to the basin area between the summits and Dylan is heading towards the first summit, Old Hyndman.

At this point, you should know that the night before we printed out a topo map and marked up the distances and estimated times where Dylan would be. Emphasis on estimated.

My hike continued up past the yurt and the small pond to the area just below Cobb – nice, relatively flat area with some trees.

Our best guess was that Dylan would meet me there at ~9AM after summiting Old Hyndman and Cobb. This assumed optimum conditions and no issues.

Old Hyndman

I am guessing that the hike up the Big Basin towards Old Hyndman was uneventful. I say that just based on the beautiful pictures. Here are a few.

View from the summit of Old Hyndman looking towards Cobb. Note the snow bridge near the low spot on the ridge.

Another no go. Way to sketchy to cross.

Big lake below Old Hyndman. There is another lake lower down – smaller with all the snow melted out.

Perfectly good hill below Old Hyndman for snow sliding.

Lower lake below Old Hyndman looking back down the valley towards the trail head.

Reached the summit around 9:14 AM – about 4.25 hours into the hike.

Dylan made the executive decision to NOT traverse from Old Hyndman to Cobb along the ridge. The sketchy looking snow bridge and the jagged traverse was the reason for that decision.

Instead, Dylan descended down to the big lake below Old Hyndman and traversed below Cobb.

Remember that 9 AM meet up time estimate?


Before I forget. One of the best pieces of equipment that Dylan brought was Rocky Talkie two way radios.

If I didn’t know that he changed plans and was going to be later – much later – than expected, I would have had a full on panic attack. Sure we each had a Garmin InReach – what a pain to text each other than wait for a response.

The Rocky Talkie worked even though we were on either side of the mountains – even though we were not within line of site of each other.

And no, this is not a sponsored post. Love the product.

Moving along…

Dylan and I stayed in contact on the hour. He would check in with a distance and elevation status. Certainly helped with anticipating when we might connect again.

Here is what the final elevation profile looked like.

First peak is Old Hyndman, second peak is Cobb and the third is Hyndman.

The drop from Old Hyndman to the low spot at 9,133′ (2784 m) before up to Cobb was 2,605′ (794 m).

The original plan was to traverse the two summits – that would have been a drop of ~600′ (183 m) and significantly less distance.

While I didn’t think we would be spending all day outside hiking, I was very glad of the decision made!


Reached the summit at 1:42 PM – about 8.75 hours into the hike.

Cobb was the tough one.

I’m sure the pictures don’t do justice, but that is all I got. Use your imagination on this.

Looking back towards the trailhead below Cobb. It is a fairly steep side hill with loose scree.

Scramble up to the summit of Cobb.

That should give you an idea of the steepness near the summit.

What you get when you summit Cobb. A look back at Old Hyndman with Big Basin on the right and Hyndman Basin on the left.

So which side of the ridge looks steeper to you?

Final peak for the day.

Looking at Hyndman from the summit of Cobb.

Here is where I became useful.

Dylan had loaded up Jakub Galczynski’s GPS track to his watch and was using it to route himself.

As he was descending Cobb, I finally spotted him after many, many hours of me mostly walking around in one spot.

I had been using the binoculars scanning the ridge line and found what looked to be an obvious route down that had a carin marking the turn from ridge line to a traverse downhill.

I thought for sure Dylan would take that route.

But no.

He had the route from Jakub telling him to take a more direct line. From where I sat (in the shade) it did not look that great.

I pull out the Rocky Talkie and let Dylan know about the better route. Got the high five from Dylan about the reroute when we connected again.

Speaking of connecting again.

3:30 PM

Is when we were together again below Cobb.

Little bit later than the guesstimate of 9 AM.

Since I had some time to myself, I took a few pics.

Looking up the west side of Hyndman. Got to this location by going left of the main trail as you are heading up.

Old Hyndman and Cobb in their full glory in the early afternoon of July fourth.

Like I said, I had a bunch of time to kill.

Doesn’t that look like a frog or some kind of reptile’s head?

It’s not, just part of the tree.


Now that Dylan is down from the second peak it is decision time.

Should I stay or should I go.

Let’s think about this logically.

We are wayyyyy behind our expected schedule. Our new best guesstimate is that continuing to Hyndman will get us back to the trailhead around 9PM. Probably not completely dark, but not sure I want to be out with the evening critters and who knows what else.

I’m thinking “Come on Dylan, call it”.

What comes out of his mouth is “I’ll let you decide”.


Not what I wanted to hear.

After telling him “I don’t want to continue” then saying “I’ll do what you want” we are hiking up!


This isn’t our first rodeo with Hyndman.

Last year on almost the same day, Dylan and I hiked up to the saddle between Hyndman and old Hyndman.

I hung out at the saddle while he summited. Gave me about a 1:30 break before heading down.

We had a good idea of how long it would take.

Dylan went ahead while I took it easy.

I positioned myself below the summit so I could watch Dylan’s ascent (and the scary weather coming in).

Here’s what Dylan saw from the summit.

Looking northwest towards Duncan ridge from Hyndman summit.

Spoiler alert – we did not see lightning. Yeah nature!

Looking at Old Hyndman from the summit of Hyndman.

Looking back at Cobb and the Hyndman basin from the summit of Hyndman.

Signing the log book at the top of Hyndman at 5:29 PM. Woot!

Exiting Hyndman basin before the weather moved in on us – just in time!

One and Done

Never again.

At least that is what we agreed upon on the way down.

We shall see.

Pioneer Trifecta Video

A few 360 degree videos from Cobb and Hyndman.

Pioneer Trifecta (Triumvite)


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