Vienna Peak


After some hard work, Vienna Peak treats us to a gorgeous summit.

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

We've done the drive many, many times. But this time was different because on our way to Idaho City we were within a car's length of a great big kitty. What a treat!

But then it was back to the standard, February drive to Stanley. After last weekend, it was suprisingly warm... only in the 20s in Stanley.

The climb of Vienna Peak starts with 2.5 miles of flat snomo trail. Then you head up Sawmill Canyon. There is a trail in there somewhere, but we never saw it. Instead, we were struggling through some deep postholing... but that didn't last long and we were soon climbing the steep hillside at a good clip.

Driving through Stanley, we had seen patches of blue sky. Dan was very optimistic, but it wasn't yet paying off.


Crossing the highway
After about 800 feet of climbing, the angle of the valley eases and you start to get some views. This is the ridge just south of Sawmill. Crossing the highway

And a little higher yet, this is looking back at Peak 9367. As you can see, the summits were swathed in clouds still. Also notice the open terrain between patches of trees. For the most part, we managed to thread these pretty well keeping a constant grade (we were already thinking about the descent) and there was very little bushwhacking.


At about 9000', we finally got a peek at our summit. The saddle between Vienna and Abes sits at about 9200'.

Crossing the highway

And here's a closeup of our summit.

It's a steep, but pretty safe climb from the saddle onto the ridge proper. When we got onto the ridge, the views were wonderful.

Looking down our ridge, with the Sawtooth valley in the background and Abe's on the right. Uptrack

From here, it's only about 400' more to go.

But it had already been a long day and we were getting slow..... and then the camera was out and I got even slower.

The ridge top is plenty broad and safe, but the sastrugi was wearing us out. We did what we could to make the going easier. Uptrack
Dan tags the top.

Summit. It was right at 5 hours for the climb.

We hung out for a bit, shooting loads of photos and trying to identify what peaks were peeking through the cloud layer.

Here's a zoom of Peak 9367 for Dave and Sean. Uptrack
And here's a peek down the east face for Ralph.... this is a must do! The pow was 6-8" deep and very light. Only a small cornice to hop off. I was drooling. Uptrack

Then came the long descent. Our track was set quite nicely, so almost no Up on the way home. But then came the snomo tracks. Initially, we removed our snowshoes and just walked. The sun went down. We walked some more. The snow got soft so the slowshoes went back on.

I started remembering this section from when we did Abe's: the road seems totally different on the way home, so much so that you'd swear you missed a turn or something.

Then finally you get this view of the southern White Clouds, but you still can't see the car or the highway. When we did get to the car, it had been a 9 hour day. We were tired, but happy. And then someone said something about KBs....

Dan's trip report


Mr. Natural Home | 2012 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski