Diamond Peak

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This Lemhi range climb is one of Idaho's 12,000-footers

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This was a dream trip: neither of us knew much about the peak, neither of us knew anyone who had been in the area, and we had both wanted to visit the Lemhis for some time. A real adventure, and when we saw it we realized that Diamond is a very beautiful peak.

We had a light dinner at the cafe in Lone Pine, then camped beside the truck in the sagebrush on the jeep road to the mountain.

It had not frozen during the night, and the weather seemed unstable. Still, we had driven a long ways to get here, so it was worth at least walking a ways.

After the Idaho version of chapatis and chai, we got off around 6am. About 7:30 we were in a blinding snowstorm, hiding behind an old snag. Fortunately, we waited it out and the sun peaked out- we were back on our climb.

The route follows a long, arcing east ridge. At first it's a steep slog in gravel. Luckily for us, the gravel and mud were frozen.

Then the route gets steeper, and for us, snowier. The snow conditions were awful: an unconsolidated coating of sugar about 6-10 inches deep. An ice axe was worthless, providing no support in the sugary snow. But all the rock holds were buried. Just stay in balance, and make sure your feet are solid.

As the ridge got steeper, we became concerned. Still, there were no immediate obstructions so we continued up.

There were several gendarmes on the ridge. This picture of Art was taken off the top of the "Hilarious Step."

We left the ridge in several places, swinging out onto the north face. We lamented the poor snow conditions: this would be a lot of fun in crampons.

As we neared the summit, the difficulty eased off. However, the lack of oxygen made up for the easier terrain.

Our summit time was a mix of sun and low, dark clouds. The basin-and-range contrast of brown and white was beautiful.

 

To the north, Bell Mountain put us under her spell. What a cool looking peak. We agreed to come back later in the year.

 

Although the uplifting and stratification in the Lost River range is pretty amazing, this area in the Lemhis has it beat. There is no obvious pattern; it's all twisted every-which-way.

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