Imogene Peak

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On a stormy day, I solo Imogene Peak

The weather wasn't looking great. It had rained all day Saturday in Boise, and NOAA for Stanley was alternating between 20% chance of showers and snow showers. I needed to get out, and because I didn't have any available hiking buddies, decided to go solo. Destination: Imogene Peak. Of the peaks on my list, this one seemed the least threatening in a snow storm.

When I got to the turn off for Petit Lake, there was actually some sun on the mountain. Just not on the summit.

I decided to try the east ridge. The first obstacle was crossing the multi-channel creek on wet logs. Some of you might know that I do not have a fondness of wet logs. There was also a wide, marshy bog to negotiate. I put on my goretex pants to deal with the wet brush. Once I got out of the brush, I pulled off the goretex and started climbing in earnest.

Imogene Peak
I was following the map carefully, and hit a great route. Soon I had gained the basin under the east ridge (below) at about 8900'. I was feeling pretty good despite an over-zealous leg-weights session yesterday, and quickly moved up the gully just right of center.
panorama of upper basin

That brought me into a wide, loose cirque. The footing was good, so I kept cruising up. This picture is looking down from about 9400'.

A few moments before this, I had been sitting down taking a breather. I heard a rock and looked up through my fogged-up glasses. It took some searching, but the basket-ball sized rock was assisting me by moving down the hill so that I could see it better. Moving in leaps and bounds... and heading right for me.

I grabbed my stuff and with hands full, stumbled wildly across the slope. Seconds later the rock blasted right past where I had been sitting. Kids- don't wear iPods when you hike.

Slippery Slope

This is looking uphill from the same spot as the last shot. No, not where the rock had come from. That was out of frame to the right.

From this spot up to the ridge wasn't bad, but might be in drier conditions. It was like a sand dune, only the wet sand stayed together under my weight.

My goal was to access the ridge just above the right-hand tooth. Then follow the ridge. Note that it now was looking a little less sunny.

View up

Once on the ridge, the footing is solid, with some rock bands to negotiate. They are easy hiking, but with muddy boots and wet lichen, the rocks were a tad slippery.

I was watching my watch, watching the clouds move in from the east, and watching a knob above me to determine if it was a false summit. Fortunately for me, it was the actual summit, because the clouds were moving in fast.

As I approached the knob, I traversed left on easy ground and then found more easy ground right to the summit. The background here is the west ridge, where the normal route comes up.

Summit

The last few summits I've been on were missing their summit registers. Sawtooth Sean placed this bright red one in 2006. Finally, a register that an old fart can find. I was the first one to sign in this year.

Then I reversed my route, but took no more pictures because the clouds came in and moved down to conceal the mountain.

benchmark

One more important point about this climb: the drive to the Yellowbelly trailhead is a challenge. The forest service has removed every single sign that would help you find it. Once you do find it, you have almost exactly two miles of this stuff to drive...... not for the faint hearted (or the low-slung).

Yellowbelly road

Mr. Natural Home | 2008 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski