Long Lost Peaks

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Long Lost Creek is on the east side of the Lost River range.

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I told SuperDave that it was his trip and to create any itinerary he wanted. I just barely survived to tell this story.

So first we drove over from Boise, leaving town at 6am. It was still cool when we hit the trailhead at about 10:30.

McCall

One would not normally think of green meadows and good trails in the Lost River range, but I'm here to tell you they are there.

Google

But if you're going to follow Dave's plan, you have to lose the trail now and again. We were happily surprised to find some additional trail into the canyon.

Map

That did not last long, though. We were heading for the saddle above, then Little Lost Peak on the right.

We were again pleasantly surprised to find more trail, in good shape, on the slope on the left. It took us right to the upper saddle, where we dropped our packs and hiked Little Lost.

 

Family
Nearing the saddle, this gent stopped to pose for us. Shelley

From the top of Little Lost, you can see the saddle and a large, plateau-type area. For the keen-eyed, there is more trail zigzagging up the tundra shoulder of the plateau.

Shelley

On the plateau, we dropped our packs an headed out the ridge to Massacre Peak on the left, and North Massacre on the right end of the ridge.

Getting dressed
By the time we completed the traverse to North Massacre, we were looking a little worse for wear. Now we had to go back that entire distance. Getting up
But the sights heading south stimulated our spirits. Our campsite for the evening is at the base of Ross Peak. Instructions
See? There's Shadow Lakes right down there! Loading

But first we had to go down this talus slope. Again, if you look closely you can see the trail.

Trail? Yeah, right.

When we finally reached camp (Dave wouldn't let me camp down in the meadow, instead making me hike UP to the lakes, only to hike back down the following morning), we had gone about 13.5 miles with 6200' of gain.

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Day 2 dawned with some suspicious clouds. But we had Dave's schedule to keep so there was no lingering. Fortunately, the clouds dispersed, and Hell Canyon was shady and had a good trail. This is heading down into Long Lost Creek. Loading
Yeah, we had come from the Wet Creek drainage on a trail, including the talus slide. Good luck with that! Loading

On the other hand, Long Lost Creek was looking very appealing. And there was a trail. This isn't so hard....

That's our next peak on the right of the saddle: The Moat.

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We dropped our packs in a meadow and headed up for the saddle between the Moat and Castle Peak. Then we noticed some little dots on the tundra. Loading

As we worked our way up cross-country to the saddle, we again found old trail tread (we found even more on our descent, following the trail all the way to our packs).

For the keen-eyed, those are the Massacre Peaks to the left of Shadow Lakes Peak.

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The trail took us right up to the saddle, where we got a clear view of our ridge. It looked like the route was the talus on the west (left) side of the ridge. Loading
But the rockier east side was passable and a lot of fun. There were also several false summits and other Lost River traditions. Despite my fatigue and dehydration from yesterday, I really enjoyed this peak.
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And the summit has some pretty nice views. Loading

Soon we were back to our packs and heading farther up Long Lost Creek.

Oh heck. Where'd that trail go?

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Just above the morass in that last photo, we turned right and headed up the drainage that leads to USGS Peak's north cirque. Loading

Sigh. No trail

But one heck of a nice place to camp.

And there's tomorrow's face staring us in the face.

So at the end of Day 2, we had walked another 9.5 miles with 4500' gain.

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We knew Day 3 was going to be long. So we got started early.

Unfortunately, it took us a while to find a suitable route into the upper snow bowl. In the end we found two of them: Dave found a rocky chimney in mid-face, which he did not want to down climb. I found a short climb up rotten limestone that had verglass for the icing on the cake. I was pretty sure that if downclimbing it was too intimidating, we could jump off.

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We met back up in the upper snow bowl.

Sun's on the snow- time to move!

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Our route left the snow bowl in a gentle upward curve that allowed us to gradually become accustomed to the steep snow.
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We followed the most complete snow gully until it was bisected by an angled snowfield that pointed us directly to the summit.

It's funny how the pictures never seem as steep as the climb itself. Overall, I think this was around 40° with a few short sections of 45°.

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Here's Dave on the final short summit ridge. As far as we could tell, those snowfields in the background are actually less steep than our route. Loading

Happy climbers on the summit of a 'Top of the List' climb. Note the steel pipe in the summit, one of two.

Thanks to Mr. Lopez for his excellent beta on this climb.

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Then it was time to head down. The verglass had melted, so it was simply a matter of a couple moves on loose, blocky limestone. Just don't fall in the moat (it was too dark down there to tell exactly how deep it was).

Then Dave exhibited his mastery of the butt glissade. Elevator down.

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When we got down out of the USGS cirque, we followed some game trails for a while, then went without. No sign of man up here.

Click for the bigger version so you can see The Goal Posts.

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At the end of Long Lost Creek, you hang a left and head up a long ramp that takes you to a saddle at 11,000'. This saddle separates Ross Peak from Limestone Mountain, and Long Lost Creek from Wet Creek. Loading
This is looking back up at Limestone. Loading
There is no trail in upper Wet Creek, but there is plenty to look at. Sorry, the lake is not named.
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As we continued our 'bushwhack' down Wet Creek, we were awed by our surroundings. Loading

When we finally found spotty trail in lower Wet Creek, we knew we were getting close to the car (well, it's not too much over an hour or two from here). Those on the 2006 IdahoSummits Fall outing should recognize this scene.

Day three ended with about 10.5 miles and 3800' gain.

Boy, are my feet tired.

Dave's trip report

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