Weekend in the Lemhis


We get our 15 minutes in the Lemhis.

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

Big Dan had been talking to Idaho Public Television about a segment on climbing in Idaho. We should be a part of their show in October. He put together an itinerary and invited a few of the regulars ("the talent") to participate. The original idea was to climb Saddle Mountain from a camp in Middle Canyon, but on location that was wisely dropped so we all moved ahead a day to our plan for Saturday: Meadow Lake campground and Gilmore Peak. Once there, the talent started putting up camp while the star was interviewed lakeside.

Big Dan interview

And oh yeah... we had a mountain to climb. Better get a picture of that, too!




Gilmore Peak

After tacos at the campground (us media types were living large with 4-star accommodations), we were off the next morning for an alpine start at the crack of 8:30.

The route starts out on a well-prepared trail, then a spur trail heads for the Lemhi Crest. In the old rock glacier, it gets a bit vague for a bit.


But it's pretty obvious as you climb through the talus fields.

Talus trail
Once on the crest, the views open up to the west. Despite the many stops for photography, we were enjoying the ridge with mucho gusto. Ridge view

More views.

I did not stage this shot, honest.


After wandering on what was either a climber's trail or the best darn goat trail ever, we had passed either around or over many of the ridge's teeth. Then we finally figured out the actual summit. For scale, note the climbers in the saddle.

Hmmm. This could get interesting.

Gilmore Peak

It turned out to be a fun, easy scramble that even Fleur enjoyed.

And about 10 steps away from the actual summit offered up a breathtaking view of the campgrounds below. Wow! Meadow Lake
Meanwhile, there was work to do and a story to tell. Workin'

I did the honors.

And no, I did not crop this with the computer. I gots mad skillz (and long arms).

On the return we did a couple more shots, then broke for camp and cold beers. This is one last look before dropping into the basin. Last look

Camp was a jovial affair.


We pretty much hid in the shade.

That night it did not cool off. We woke to shorts and t-shirts weather, which usually leads to afternoon thunderstorms. Better get going. Steve and Tom look to be adequately caffeinated. Got coffee?
This morning we were on our feet at 7am, and without 14 stops en route, we were soon nearing the saddle from yesterday. Return to the ridge
And we were rewarded for our troubles with a goat sighting. Goats
We followed Mr. Goat's path up the ridge, where we got an eyeful of the rest of the day: Peak 10723 and Portland Mountain at the far end. Ridge
It was up one hump and down another. Easy cruising with lots of rubbernecking. Humps
Dylan found an old digging. The Gilmore was a busy mining district back in the 1800s with silver and lead abundant. So there we probably many more diggings, except the angle of repose rules. And they are now buried. This one survived because it's too high up for much to slide down and into it.
Steppin' lively. High step
The last few hundred yards required some lively steppin. Rock hopping
And then we were on Portland. A little hazy, but now all we had to do is walk back down our route. Simple enough. Let's relax! Summit

After quite some time, we finally hauled our lazy carcasses off the summit and started home. About the same time as the clouds began to darken. And then rumble.

We bailed off the side of the ridge and did the talus dance back to the road and our campground, getting there just shortly before the off-and-on rain began. Although the rain managed to dampen our stuff (with a prediction of clear weather, we hadn't done a really super job of setting up our gear for precip), it didn't dampen our spirits, and we had another brilliant afternoon and evening around the campfire.

Clouds moving in
The next morning Steve had to leave early to run some nuclear reactions while the rest of us headed for Meadow Mountain, a peak that Dan and I had spotted on an outing last January. That's it in the middle with the characteristic three steps. Meadow Peak
It didn't look too far away, but those wide Lemhi valley alluvial fans are tricky. Nonetheless, we were on our feet around 7:45 and wallowing through the wildflowers. Here the lupine combine with the sagebrush for a magical effect. Lupine

We were so busy worrying about the upper talus we failed to notice how steep the initial timbered slope was. That was until we had to walk up it.

But we were soon cruising up the meadows at the top of the first step, trying to find some breeze or at least stay in the shade.

Meadow #1
Time for the second step. Step #2
This is looking down the second step. It's a little disorienting because the meadow is flat. And the talus hill is so long is shows the curvature of the earth. Down escalator

And from the top of the second step, here's the third and final step.

Although it looks barren, there were tons of tiny wildflowers of all sorts and colors.


And our final summit of the weekend.

We sat on top and ate our lunch while we watched two goats and reflected on the fine weekend.

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