Frenchman and North Frenchman


Starting the new year right on Frenchman Peak.

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

Dave was looking for someone to climb a peak in the southern Sawtooths. Despite skiing Jughandle two days prior and climbing Cervidae the night before, I was in.

But my enthusiasm was slightly diminished as passing through Stanley, the car thermometer showed -33.

TrailheadSuperDave photo

But we're not stupid; we waited to leave the car until it had warmed to -24.

After a mile across the flats following snomo trails in the shade (and my nose sending me messages that I might be losing an appendage), we were finally busting our own trail through boot-top powder, heading up through the trees to gain our ridge.


With some work and then the sunshine, the temps became pretty tolerable.

It was dead calm as we traversed one of many open hillsides. Can you hear my whimpering about not having my skis?

After a some solid work, we could see our first peak of the day, North Frenchman. ApproachSuperDave photo
Up, up, up. Here we have gained the ridgetop for some sunshine and views. Approach

Getting closer. Slowly getting closer.

I wasn't feeling great, so I wasn't taking a lot of photos. But there was lots to look at in the crystal-clear air.

When we got to our summit, my legs felt like lead and I had no energy. As I was debating a turnaround, Dave offered to break trail the rest of the way to our second peak. Nice guy, that Dave. And motivated.


So here we are, about to summit our second peak, Frenchman Peak. I broke the last 50 feet to get this shot.

Looking back at where we had come from, that's our first peak, North Frenchman, to the right, right above my shadow. And of course, the Sawtooth valley in the background. Did I mention how gorgeous it was?

Cue the Who: "I can see for miles, and miles, and miles..."


Same view, a little zoomed in.

Click for a bigger version, and you can see our track coming across the ridge.



It had taken about 4 hours to get here, and there were fewer than 4 hours to sundown. Time to get moving.


One last look.

Castle Peak on the horizon. I think Dave is thinkiing wistfully of climbing all 50 of the major White Cloud peaks.


Looking back at Frenchman from the return climb of North Frenchman.

Yes, more climbing. Michael, I thought for 2016 we had sworn off climbing during the return/descent.


Titus, Bromaghin, and Saviers.

And lengthening shadows.

Some of the scenic ridge. Note the cool red rocks. Our trail went right over the top of that. Approach

Peak 9367.

A couple years back, we had been rejected by this peak. Dave and I talked about getting back and completing.

On the ridge with the red rocks. Approach

From the summit of Frenchman, Dave had predicted we would get back to the car at 4:15. That seemed quite bold to me, but when the temps went down with the sinking sun, we were motivated to quicken our pace. Here we are at 4pm. Not too much farther to go.

When we got back to the car, it was a relatively balmy -3.

What a great way to start the New Year. And on the bright side, every trip we do this year should be warmer than this one!




Dave's trip report


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