Lorenzo Peak

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Lorenzo Peak offers us a challenging approach and spectacular summit views.

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I had admired Lorenzo's summit from Easley Peak, so when George said he wanted to try it this weekend, I was game. Plus, you can climb Lorenzo without driving off pavement- albeit with more elevation to gain.

Lorenzo is in the middle of this picture, shot from the East, further down the highway toward Ketchum.

Lorenzo Peak

So we left Boise at 4am and started the climb a little after 7:20. After we found Billy's Bridge, we jumped on the first ridge and contoured across a meadow, then followed game trails into the correct drainage. Or sort of correct. We had dropped in too high to see the confluence of the creeks, so started up the wrong one.

Map of Lorenzo Peak

When I dropped in, I started laughing at what I saw. George, a bit behind me and not yet able to see, yelled that he didn't like that laugh. For good reason.

We struggled up the creek bed for a short way, then Tom and George climbed out the left side. I continued up, spying snow. I followed the snow up to a waterfall, then was forced to wrestle my way up to Tom and George, clambering on all fours and grasping small plants for traction. Ugh.

Ugly crek bottom

We were on a ridge between the two drainages, but with no obvious way to descend to the left. Up we went. Scrambling and climbing (a few Class 4 moves) on sandy rock, loose crap, etc. with occasional exposure. Still, very scenic. But as our rib brought us higher, we had to traverse the mountain to chase the main drainage, moving across a gully to gain the next rib.

Repeat.

Repeat.

George on the rib

This gives a bit better idea of what we were facing, repeatedly. Only you can't see the sketchy traverse and Class 4 scramble into the steep bowels of this beast.

At several points I was expecting to get treed and have to bail on the climb. But eventually we got into the main drainage, high enough to be done with the cliffy areas (about 9000').

Tom looking into another gully

From there, it was your basic Boulder range talus- which seemed pretty mild compared to what we had been dealing with.

After just a few hundred feet of talus, we finally hit snow. It was pretty firm, so we donned crampons and tried to race the sun, which was rapidly warming the snow- our previous travails with the gullies had cost us about an extra hour.

From here, you can just--barely--see the summit, a little bump sticking up above the ridge on the right.

Tom was eager to climb one of the steeper couloirs, so I checked the map, and it looked like the ones on the right would take us to where we wanted to go. We chose the second one from the extreme right.

Finally on snow
The snow in the couloir was still pretty good, and we made good time. That's George front-pointing up. The angle was around 40°. George in the couloir

At the top of the couloir, we finally got a full view of our summit. Normally, the route turns right here and then ascends the ridge. But we took advantage of the softening snow and went straight up the face. It's not as steep as it look- perhaps 30-35°. Very skiable, other than the thinness of the snow in spots.

 

Face of Lorenzo

Unfortunately, the thin snow and heat of the day had turned this face to mush. Mostly it was about boot deep, sometimes less, sometimes --ugh--more. Here George has gone in past his knee.

The scenery was nice, though.

George postholing

 

At the top of the face, the wind was kicking. We put on our clothes and tried to hide from the wind while we had some lunch. Then with crampons off we started scrambling the ridge. I thought we still had a ways to go, but we were only about 50' short of the top.

George summiting

So here we are on top. Too bad the weather wasn't better.

We found an Altoid's tin, the only thing resembling a summit register. Last entry was Judi in 2005.

On top of Lorenzo

Then it was time for glissading. The snow was sort of soft, but considering the steepness of the slope, it was just as well. Once I figured it out, it was largely brakes-off. The glissading got a little exciting at times, but without any true disasters.

Glissadiing

On the way down, we followed the hillside to the west of the drainages. This worked much better. If you decide to try this peak, here's my advice: From Billy's bridge, traverse west on the flats until you are in the left-most drainage. Then start up, angling further west until you are at least at 8500' (note the small red arrow), or better yet, 9000'. Then do a shallow climbing traverse into the basin above all the gullys. Yes, it will be a lot of work, but it's a cool area, totally untracked, and worth the explore.

Looking up the drainage

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