Mount Idaho and Peak 11308

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We dodge a storm system for some fine Lost River climbing.

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

The weather report for Memorial Day wasn't looking too good, but Dan had put a lot of effort into organizing the spring Idaho Summits outing. A few hardcores said they were going regardless, and two- Summit Dawg and Craig- were going a day early. They were kind enough to offer to let me tag along.

Craig and Summit Dawg were eager to try the west face of Mount Idaho. Despite having to wait for me to fire up the french press, we were off at about 6:30 am. The hike to the top of Upper Cedar Creek is a long and tough one, but soon enough our route was in view.

West face of Mount Idaho

This was a much spicier route than I have climbed in some time. Craig did an excellent job of threading the cliffs and snowfields, despite the overcast, clouds, graupel, etc.

Craig and Richard working a snowfield

As you can probably tell, this route had a little exposure- not a good place to test your self-arrest.

Craig above a big drop
Near the top, it was unclear whether the crampons should be off or on. Opinions varied, but as we got near 12000' playing with crampons was a welcome rest, regardless. Craig in the complex summit blocks of Mount Idaho

In the low visibility and rapidly gathering fatigue, we were momentarily discouraged when it looked like the summit was another half hour away. It was already 1:30. 5 minutes later we were happily on top.... let's just say that a lot of these photos have been heavily photoshopped in an attempt to remove the visibility issues.

From the left: Richard, Craig, and John

Summit shot onMount Idaho
Our descent followed the "standard" route. Since the trail was buried and the visibility poor, we were vigilant about not dropping into Elkhorn Creek, which would have put us about 10 miles from the car. A little discussion and a lot of luck got us back to where we wanted to be- all told, about a 12 hour day. Descending Mount Idaho in the fog
This picture taken by Skunkape shows the face we were on Descending Mount Idaho in the fog
When we got back to camp, Dan was waiting for us, but only Dan. Our small group stuffed ourselves with food and told large stories around the campfire until late- very pleasant. Then we hit the sack. During the night, I could hear it raining off and on. When the alarm went off at 5, it was snowing lightly. Without much enthusiasm, I checked on Dan- and he was already dressed! I quickly fired up the french press and threw my things together. We were off!

Dan wanted to climb Peak 11,308. The red line shows our ascent route- we descended a slightly different way.

Peak 11308

The bottom of the gully was slippery and loose. The snow didn't really help.

The gully
When we finally got to the snowfield, progress was much better, except Dan was having crampon problems. Dan on the snowfield

Here's the same snowfield as seen from our descent route. It's not flat.

On the descent, Dan wisely did not want to descend with a bad crampon... but I've jumped ahead- we haven't finished our climb yet- we first have to get to the top of the gully and traverse the ridge.

The snowfield stitched together
I wasn't taking a lot of pictures on the ridge traverse. Here's what it looked like after we got across one section. The rocky ridge
But although it took us a while to cross, the ridge traverse ended in a nice snow field to the summit, in view at the center (although blending in with the sky). Dan and Richard near the summit

Dan was a lot happier than he looks in this picture- he had been thwarted on this mountain a year ago. His determination paid off and we had had a great climb, summitting at about 11:30.

One really weird thing: it was blowing a bit on the summit, but from just below there, we could hear cows mooing down on the valley floor!

The summit of 11308
It had been snowing for several hours, so the descent was looking a little trickier. We decide that perhaps we could swing under the crest of the ridge. Richard led off and found a great route. Richard scouts a descent route

It was still slow going. But we picked our way without incident, getting back to the car at about 2:30- tired but happy.

That afternoon, I made the 4-hour drive back to Boise so I could head up to McCall the next day to hike with my father.

Dan negotiates snowy talus

Mr. Natural Home | 2006 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski