Bell Mountain

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The forgotten box of climbing hardware isn't a problem, because climbing Bell Mountain turns out to be Class 3.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

We had first noticed Bell last Labor Day on a drive from Leatherman Peak into Mackay. Then on our Diamond Peak climb we saw this beautiful crag up close.

After a long drive from Boise, we were hungry. Art likes old things, so we stopped at a (the single) slightly dilapidated restaurant in Howe. When I returned from the restroom, he had already ordered for me-there was only one thing on the menu- and to our surprise we enjoyed a wonderful prime rib dinner. Then it was on to our peak.

Due to the light color of the rock, the peak doesn't show up well in this small picture. Click the photo for a larger version.

 

After we set up camp, we went for a hike to explore the area. Art also got to enjoy an abandoned mine.

Although I had sorted the rope and hardware carefully to insure our success considering the long drive, I had neglected to put the gear into the truck. Looking up at the steep ramparts, knowing we had no pro, put Art in a funk.

Always the optimist, I tried to sell Art on the advantages of not having gear; lighter weight, faster travel, no clanging noise. He wasn't sold. According to him, the gear was as much to weigh me down on the hike as to use climbing.

When we reached the final 1000' headwall, things were getting brighter.

We found the climb fun and challenging. Around every bend we saw what we thought was the unclimbable blank spot, only to find a ramp or notch that allowed further progress. We were soon basking in the sun on the summit.

As it turns out, the peak is climbed annually by the members of a Howe family. One of the brood has even done a back flip on the summit.

A valley to the north beckoned us to make a loop out of it. Here Art strolls downhill through a surprise aspen grove.

Among the many treasures found in this valley was an old hunting cabin. We also saw a mountain goat. This area begs for more exploration, and we'll be back.

Mr. Natural Home | 2002 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski