WCP (WhiteCloudPeaks) Tour

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We do a grand tour of White Cloud peaks 5 through 8, plus a bonus peak

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

Dave didn't want to leave until 8:30, and that was good for me because I had been home late the evening before from a trip to Jacqueline Peak.

So we drove up Slate Creek and left the car at about 12:15. The trail passes the popular Slate Creek hot springs, then the old mining ruins.

Mine

It's about 4 miles to O'Caulkens Lake, and about a 2000' gain. We got there at about 2:30 under cloudy skies. Despite Dave's shorts, it was also surprisingly cool for August. Almost no bugs.

Lake

Dave had been here before so knew of a cool camp spot. We set up our tents and then headed out for the pass into Iron Basin (note red arrow).

Upper mountain

This is a close-up of the pass. Normally I wouldn't find this photographically significant, but as we would be passing pack and forth though here four times over the next two days (up and back twice) it became notable.

Big basin

From just beyond the pass, we started up WCP-6. It's an easy Class 2 climb, but we were slow due to extreme photographic requirements: the area and views were beautiful!

WCP-6

We summitted at about 4:15, a little more than an hour from camp.

Next on the agenda, WCP-5 to the left of Dave. WCP-5 was significant because it had turned Dave back on an earlier trip.

We began by traversing the ridge, almost the entire way on goat trails.

Summit

As we got closer, I could see why this baby might turn someone around. The two dark summits seemed like the Towers of Mordor in the low-light afternoon. That's our summit on the right.

Towers

We worked our way around the loose talus and cliffy areas to gain the notch between the two summits. As we progressed up the notch, we climbed singly or side-by-side, being extra careful not to bomb one another with rocks. If you looked hard enough you could find actual solid rock under the talus, which you needed because in this talus it was climbing on all fours. When we got near the top of the notch, it became apparent to us that we could climb this thing.

The Idaho Climbing Guide calls this Class 3, but I will say it is definitely Class 4. Loose Class 4.

Dave went first while I waited out of range. When he got to the top, I only heard his summit dance. But I'm here to tell you, he sounded pretty darn happy.

Class 4

Then it was time to slide and slop our way back through the previously mentioned notch, do some more goat trails traversing, and then finally hit the bottom of the immense talus slide. That's Dave down in the center of the notch.

That's WCP-7 in the background, on our agenda for the next morning.

Summit

And from Dave's perspective (and camera: thanks Dave) that's me up at the top of the notch.

Summit

And here's another shot of WCP-7 as we passed by on our way back to camp. Our route was up the shadowed gully on the left.

We finally got back to camp at about 7.

Summit

The lighting on Caulkens, WCP-9, and D. O. Lee was incredible. We took way too many pictures, then finally ate dinner and hit the sack.

And in August, the water partially froze in our water bottles. Stanley reportedly went down to 25°!

Summit
The next morning we were out of camp at about 8, heading for Iron Basin again. That's WCP-7 from our camp. Our route comes up behind the right-hand ridge, then finishes up the facing ridge.
Summit

This is the upper ridge on WCP-7. It's really fun: not over Class 3, but the loose rock makes you pay attention.

We hit the top at about 9:30.

Summit

Then we turned our attention to WCP-8, here slightly below the horizon.

The long traverse went pretty fast. Just follow the goat trails.

Summit
However, the goats go to some crazy places. Summit
Dave even found goat poop on the very summit. And a whole lot to look at. Summit

Dave is chasing prominence peaks, so we had to climb this little point, Point 10182. It was actually pretty fun.

Then it was time to strategize. We had found a cairned descent gully heading east from the WCP-7/8 ridge that was a shortcut back to camp. But instead we chose to head west and continue the tour, dropping down the drainage you see here on the right of the peak. Basically, we were doing almost a full loop around WCP-7. We guessed we were adding 3-4 miles and an extra hour and a half.

Summit

But the extra mileage was effort well spent. That's Point 10182 in the background. Looks a bit more impressive from down here.

We walked through Iron Basin (again) and when we got back to camp, there was our celebrity guest, Michael. He had just finished a day hike of the big three of Caulkens, WCP-9 and D. O. Lee. We chatted while Dave and I replenished our food and water levels, then packed up and all walked together back down Slate Creek. After dinner in Lower Stanley, Michael headed off for an attempt on Snowyside the following day. Dave and I got home about 10:30.

Super Dave's trip report

Summit

Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski