Doublespring Peak and Horseheaven Peak

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Doublespring Peak makes a great Plan B.

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

John and I originally planned to attempt Bowery and Sheep mountains up the East Fork of the Salmon. The weather didn’t look ideal, with a 40% POP, but we each wanted to get out before life got in the way. So without a lot of information, we headed out.

We met in Banks at 2pm on a Saturday, then drove through Lowman, Stanley, and then proceeded down the East Fork road.

The creek was raging, and John’s attempt at wading it ended about ¾ way across when the water got deeper while it also got faster. We tried to cross a log spanning about 40 feet , but it was roughly 8 feet off the water. We discussed it and decided that it would be a lonely drive home if one of us fell in. So we drove back down the east fork road and set up camp at the BLM campground on the highway.

The next morning, we rolled out at 6am sharp headed for Plan B, hatched over a bottle of John’s excellent homemade wine. We had previously talked about trying to ski Doublespring, but now we were going to try to just hike it. Fair enough.

The drive over Doublespring Pass went well, but when we got to Horseheaven Pass, we couldn’t immediately determine which canyon was Cayuse. The DeLorme map was no help, and the GPS just seemed confusing. The Lopez guide wasn’t really helping, either. So we just started driving around. That worked well.

Then came a calm, but measured, session of repacking and getting dressed. Time to go- let’s lock up the truck. Now where did I put the keys? In another 20 minutes, Team Laurel and Hardy was  finally underway.

From the stock tank, a marginally driveable road takes you up the canyon. We decided not to drive, which was probably a good call. Someone had recently driven it, but there are some BIG rocks, and no place to turn around. And a nice walk.

Trailhead

After probably a mile and a half, there is an upper stock tank marking the end of the road. Then there is a trail of sorts, but generally easy going regardless.

 

Approach

The canyon meanders around quite a bit, and eventually you leave the trees. Views all around.

Sunrise on the Pioneers
Around another corner, we got our first real view of our peak. Click to see John in the picture- it's big country. Bottom of the gully

The snow left a lot to be desired. Over the last month, the Lost Rivers had gotten several snow dumps. All the fresh stuff was sloppy-wet and unconsolidated. Postholing and wet feet. We also saw quite a few point-release tracks.

We stayed on the talus as long as we could, but finally had to cross the valley.....

On the ridge

...to gain more talus.

John works through the talus patches
Our goal was the saddle in the obvious ridge line. In these snow conditions, ridges are good. From later in the day, here's the ridge we could ascend on Doublespring. Camp

Even on to of the ridge, where we expected the wind to have scoured the newer snow, we were postholing to boot top. But now the talus was pretty steep, so it was a toss-up which was less desirable: steep talus or gloppy snow.

Ridge top

Near the top of the mountain, we ran out of talus.

Note the ridgeline and peak behind John- we'll get to that in a bit.

On the ridge
When we got to the summit ridge, we couldn't tell which end was higher. I think this was taken on the far end after tagging both. But from there, we realized the closer end is about 5' higher. Summit

We plunged back down to the saddle, where we had a long and leisurely lunch. But Horseheaven Peak was calling us. We had a short debate, which was won when I said we could do it without our packs. Thus unburdened, it took us less than 15 minutes to summit. We chuckled as we dropped back down for the long walk back to the truck.

By now it was quite warm... 70-ish? 75? The heat made the cold beers seem even better, but with the long drive ahead of us, we didn't stay too long.

Doublespring pass

Map

 

John's trip report

Descent

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