Steele Mountain

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A ski climb of a remote Idaho peak ends without a summit due to time

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

It's sometimes hard for John to find accomplices, so he did this trip on his own. After a long drive up the Middle Fork of the Boise, John parked at the Phifer Creek pullout. The objective: ski to the top of the ridge at the left, then traverse right along the ridge to the summit of Steele Mountain, 5000' above the road.

It was a long, hard pull to the ridge top, but on a perfect day there was lots to look at.

The truck is in this picture, parked at the base of the long left-to-right descending ridge that starts in the upper left side of the picture. About the point where the ridge is obscured by the right-most tree, Phifer Creek meets the Middle Fork.

After four hours of extremely hard work, turn-around time arrived. The fresh powder on the ridge top had taken its toll on John; he was exhausted.

It was tough to abandon the summit with only 1000' of climbing remaining, but there was about two miles of unknown ridge to traverse, and the gendarmes looked challenging. But they will still be there...

Looking off to the north, one gets a sense of the steepness of the area. John hopped in a gully, not unlike those visible on the next ridge to the right. By his altimeter, it was a 2000' run of 6" deep powder (as long as you stayed on the shady side to avoid the sun crust.)

From the bottom of this awesome chute, the summit was in plain sight. Rather than the rocky promontory, the summit is the rounded peak to its right.

Then 2000' of descending on a snowmobile-packed road brought him back to the truck.

The drive up this road may seem as challenging as the skiing. It was actually in pretty good condition, but you wouldn't want to slide around much- that's the river on the left. Not good safety practice: shooting pictures through the windshield while driving.

After an exhilarating day of skiing powder, it's a bit of a shock to get down to Lucky Peak and see people water skiing (If you can't see the skier, click the picture to get a larger version).

 

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