White Rock Peak


We climb TO--but not UP-- White Rock or White Rock Peak.

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

I warned everybody: 3500' gain on snowshoes in March is hard work.

But the snow conditions were terrible for skiing and everyone wanted to get out if we could just find a route that was safe from the high avy hazard.

So after a long but scenic drive to the Poverty Flats campground on the South Fork of the Salmon, we were crossing the footbridge over the river at about 10:45.


On the far side of the bridge, there was a trail going in each direction along the river. But the sign only pointed one way, and the trail going the other had trees laying in it. So we followed the signed trail, briefly. Nope, turn around and follow the unmaintained trail upstream.

That trail makes a turn off an ancient road, but right where you need to turn to start up the ridge, the faint tread is buried by a ton of downfall. So just get on the ridge and start walking.... you'll find it. Or some of it....

almost a trail

The ridge is pretty narrow down low, so just get near the top and it comes and goes a bit through downfall.

Soon, the views start snapping.


We climbed about 1000' before we got on to consistent snow. Consistent as in pervasive, not consistent as in supportive. It was warm, and the thin snow over brush, etc. tended to give way occasionally, even with snowshoes on.

Snowy ridge
More views. This is Thunderbolt Mountain. Thunderbolt Mountain

Looking back to our side of the river, this is White Rock Peak.

Julie (in a tired voice): "If that's our peak way over there, this ain't gonna happen."

White Rock Peak

Our group had split up, with splinter groups climbing at their own pace. John and Deb were breaking trail. Julie and I traded places with Mark and Tory.

It was a tough grind. Julie, fatigued, was plodding up the mountain staring at her snowshoes. As I rounded the corner and saw this, all I said was "slab avalanche." That snapped Julie right to attention. It showed how a very small avy can accumulate depth in a hurry. It also showed how slabby the snow really was.

Avy chunder

But the ridge we were on is quite safe. It undulates a bit, but never gets steep on the ridge top. The sides of the ridge, however, are very steep in places.

The views continued to get more expansive, even though the sun was hiding now. That's Log Mountain in the far background above Julie.

Climb, climb, climb. We normally start really early, so it seemed weird to be so far from the summit at 1pm. But we were doing great. It was just going to take a while. Meanwhile, John and Deb thought that at 2pm we should turn around, so they did. After dropping a few hundred feet they ran into Mark and Tory, still on the way up. So John and Deb turned back around and continued on up- so they get to claim a few hundred feet of extra vertical.

Meanwhile, Julie and I were not too far behind, but losing speed as the fatigue accumulated along with the ice on the bottom of our snowshoes.

Log Mountain

I was watching the altimeter and my wife's fatigue, trying to determine which one would win the battle. Then the ridge flattened out some. Now where the heck is the summit?

Then I saw this beauty off in the distance. It appeared to be higher than everything else. Oh, so THAT is why it's called White Rock!

White Rock
Zoomed in, I could see the crew. White Rock
A few more minutes and some completely unnecessary up and down, and I arrived at the lunch spot of our patiently waiting team. Very cool spot. Lunch

Julie was a couple minutes behind. We all cheered as she made an impressive effort and toughed it out to the top.

The peak behind the trees on the right is Blackmare.


Sort of a summit shot.

The rock tower was just a bit too much for a fun scramble, and the easiest-looking routes ended up on steep snow. But remember our previous slab avy...?

John and I are going to come back in the summer and give it another go.

This is a shot of our route taken from Thunderbolt last year at about the same time of year. Snow level is about the same. Route

This is an approximate map of our route. The map shows a trail, but because this is on the Payette NF and not a motorized trail, don't count on much in the way of trail maintenance. OK, don't count on any.

John Fadgen's report


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