Mount Breitenbach

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No summit, but a telemark adventure from near the summit of Mt. Breitenbach in the Lost Rivers

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

After a long drive to Mackay, Idaho we found a great pizza joint with live entertainment! There was a little kid, probably 6 or 7 years old, who was into showing off on his little mini-bike.

After the show, we wandered out across the sagebrush and found a suitable parking spot for Bob's campervan. What luxury! Hot coffee and Mozart before heading out at about 6am under a full moon.

Unfortunately, the van softened us up a bit and the 20 degree morning with wind seemed doubly harsh.

As we did the long ascent up the valley to Breitenbach's south face, we were excited about the 5" of fresh powder.

Even more, we were excited to finally get into some sunshine and thaw out a bit.

Here Bob reaches the high point of our skinning efforts. The angle was steep enough that my ankles were hurting even with high heels (heel lifts). We had to boot up the last 400' of the mountain, a tiring and difficult task for two invalids: Bob was recovering from pneumonia, and John was recovering from two semesters of school.

Although Bob was mostly interested in turns, John really wanted to tag the summit. It was not to be. We got to this point at 12:45, and our turn-around was 1pm. The summit is only about 100' higher, but it is 1/2 mile away. John had hoped for windblown snow to walk on. He got thigh-deep unconsolidated powder.

Time to turn around.

Bob spent a few minutes turning his skis into a plank.

The first 100 feet was very thin snow, as evidenced by the rocks poking through at the bottom of the picture. Below that, we were able to follow a gully-like depression to maximize the snow depth.

The first drop was steep and long, about 1700'. Unfortunately, we had been slow climbing and the sun had been on this slope since first light. Our super-light powder had turned to Idaho's finest: mashed potatoes.

Note the snowball tracks. No need to worry about avalanches- the snow is too thin!

While Bob was knuckle-dragging (snowboarding) the crud at warp speed, John was reduced to gasping like a fish on dry land every four turns.

This is Bob's favorite shot, maybe ever.

"Yeah, maybe so, but I got good grades."

A careful eye might spot our tracks leaving the highest point, going down through the cloud shadow, around the rock band to the left, and to the bottom of the canyon.

All told, 4500' of ski vertical.

As we left, we took pictures of Lost River Peak and the Super Gully. Is it skiable?

We'll be back next spring.

Mr. Natural Home | 2003 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski