Mackay Peak, White Knob Mtn,
and Peak 10835

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A climb of three summits in the White Knob Range of Idaho

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

Dan (who runs the excellent Idaho Summits web site) called me late Friday night, "Do you want to go?" I was worried about work, but it sounded like a great trip- 3 peaks, 3 new friends. Julie said "Go!" and I was packing my bags. I had done a trip into the White Knobs in October and loved it. Gotta go back.

The next morning I was at Dan's house at 4am and we were off. We met Sean at 6am at the junction to Sun Valley, where we enjoyed the warm bathroom (it was -14 degrees in Fairfield), jumped in Sean's truck, and headed to Mackay. Jeremy met us at the Chevron station and we drove up the snow road to our trailhead at about 7600'.

We were on our feet right at 8am, and the sun had just risen to a beautiful sky. The valley was inverted and it was thankfully above 20 degrees up here. We hiked, then snowshoed, a couple of miles of old mining roads through the historic Mackay mining district. Jeremy told us stories of actually going into some of the old mines.

Snowshoeing the road up to Mackay Peak

It took us a while, but we eventually climbed above the roads. With each step, the views got better. And the wind got stronger. The wind was to be the theme for the day. Here you can see where the top of the ridge was scoured bare.

Gaining the ridgetop to Mackay Peak

We continued to climb up the ridge, mostly through sage brush, grass, and some wind-gnarled trees. Then we came around the corner to this view of the summit, the point to the right. 2nd class?

Actually, there was a little bit of easy scrambling to do, but there was a grassy area between the bumps that could be walked.

But the rocks added greatly to the scenery, while detracting from the possibility of getting a group summit shot. There wasn't room!

The rocky summit of Mackay Peak is just out of sight

Then it was off the summit (high point in the background) and continuing on the ridge to White Knob Mountain. Here Jeremy, Dan, and Sean work around a gendarme.

Mackay Peak from the south with Jeremy, Dan, and Sean

This shot shows where we were headed- White Knob Mountain with Peak 10835 immediately behind it on a connecting ridge. From this perspective you might think it looks like a long ridge walk with several small summits in close proximity. That's what we thought... until we got closer.

The multiple summits of White Knob Mountain

After climbing the first of those little summits, White Knob Mountain (and it was a real climb!), Peak 10835 seemed a lot further away than it had originally appeared. The thing this photo can't show is the ferocity of the wind. We had to use our ski poles to keep from being knocked about. In some of the gusts, it seemed like that might not be enough. Dan and I, around 200 pounds each and struggling at times, wondered if thin Sean was going to parasail into Mackay.

The saddle below White Knob Mountain with Dan and Sean

This shot better shows the traverse from Mackay to 10835. The snowy peak in-between the two is White Knob Mountain, and the low rocky ridge behind it is really Mackay Peak (lower then these other two). Jeremy is in orange, and Dan is the dark spot just to his left.

The other thing about this traverse- note that this is not gravel, but real rocks interspersed with snow- not really terrible walking, but not really fast, either.

Approaching the summmit of White Knob Mountain with the Lost Riveers behind

At about 1:30pm we made the summit of 10835. We didn't stay long- the wind was relentless, and there was not any shelter. From the left that's Dan, Sean, Jeremy, and John.

Dan, Sean, Jeremy, and John on top of White Knob Mountain

We had made our goal for the day, although we had tired ourselves in the process. Now all we had to do was re-climb our first two peaks and head down the road to the car. The snowshoe trail was already broken in.

But the constant wind and cold had worn us down, and we were all pretty tired as we worked our way back home. But even as the shadows lengthened, we couldn't help stopping to admire the Lost Rivers in the clear light. What a day! What a great group of new friends!

Long shadows on the dscent

Mr. Natural Home | 2005 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski