It was a little more difficult to descend into that valley in 1862. That was the year Tim Goodale first tried it. Goodale led some 338 wagons and 2,900 head of stock down the steep drop into the valley. He was the man who popularized the Goodale Cutoff, a northern spur of the Oregon Trail that left the main route near Fort Hall and rejoined it at the Powder River near present-day Baker City, Oregon.
The site got its name a couple of years later when a freighter and another wagon filled with valley residents tried the grade in the winter. The settlers rough-locked their wagon brakes in an attempt to skid it down the slopes. This method was sometimes called freezing the brakes.
Call it what you will, the wagon slid into a gulch and the settlers trudged back up the hill to spend the night with the freighter who had decided not to risk the descent. They spent a bitter night on the ridge, which froze the experience in their minds. They would later describe it as being “froze out of the valley.” That led to the naming of the place we know today as Freezeout Hill.