Bearpaw Peak and Rainbow Peak

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Bearpaw Peak sits south of Nick at the top of Idler Creek.

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I had hiked up the East Fork a couple weeks ago when I climbed Idler Peak. Then I hiked it again when Art and I hiked into Middle Fork Lake. So I was tired of hiking the East Fork. It is also a mountain bike trail, so today I upped my technology.

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After ditching my bike at the bottom of Idler Creek, I crossed the East Fork and headed up the trail. Three weeks ago, the brush had made the trail somewhat hard to follow. Now, with most of the leaves gone, following the trail was much easier.

However, the brush was still wet. And now so was I. I had tossed out my favorite hiking boots last week, so was in some old ones that probably should have been tossed. They leaked like sieves.

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To add to my wet feet issues, at about 7k' I started to run into snow.

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The wet leaves and downfall with a touch of snow (and worn-out boots) made for some slippery walking. But I was making good progress as I left the trail for a pass in the ridge, even through some fairly horrendous bushwacking; maybe a SD3? Willows and large boulders on a steep hillside.

In this picture, I have finally gotten above the willows and can see the ridge above me. On the left, that might even be the summit?

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The saddle in the ridge sits at the top of this gully. sigh

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As I got higher in the gully, it opened up. But got steeper.

The top of the gully was a narrow opening between cliffs. It was very steep, and had a skiff of wet snow over mud. I clawed desperately for traction at any exposed rocks, all the while trying to imagine what the descent was going to be like.

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With fingers crossed, I popped up onto the ridge. Trees! That meant there was a possibility of getting to the top without any rock climbing.

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On some ridges around McCall, there is a zone on the ridgetops where not much grows. I attribute this to long-lasting snow drifts on the lee side. Whatever, it makes for good travel if there aren't any cliffs. As I headed up the ridge through one such example, I was guided by the bear that went over the mountain.

And that explains the peak name.

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Also typical of McCall area peaks, you never know where the actual summit is until you are on top of it. Fortunately, this time I was paying attention to the map so didn't waste time trying to figure out how to climb the false summit. Instead, I bypassed it low on easy terrain, then scrambled up to the real summit.

This view is looking off the cliff shown in an earlier picture, right down the heart of Idler Creek.

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Looking the other direction, Lick Creek awesomeness. As usual, there were a few trees in the way. Folks, this is some really wild country.

But what is really wild is that way back in here I ran into a lone backpacker who had been "in" for a couple weeks. Strange person. Seemed to want to talk. A bit too much. I had to go.....

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There are the Buckhorn Lakes.

I need someone to explain how things got named around here. Buckhorn Lakes are miles from Buckhorn Mountain. So is Buckhorn Mountain Lake. Similarly, Blackmare Lake is a long way from Blackmare Peak. And there are several other examples.

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I still had one more peak to climb in the Idler drainage. And there it is, standing tall above the saddle I had used to access Bearpaw. It also had the bare ridgetop, but this time with a lot of rock and a nasty little top to it.

I had photos of that summit from several angles, including from the summit of Nick (in the background, just to the left), and that little pinnacle looked like trouble.

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I again got to climb in the snow-drift zone, so most of the ridge went quickly (well, quickly for tired legs). Trailhead

Then came the summit block. It's a little hard to tell from the photo how hard this might be, especially without a human for perspective.

But while climbing, I was having a similarly hard time figuring it out.

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Patience, grasshopper. One bite at a time.

Summit.

It actually was pretty easy. Thankfully, because my cold, wet feet and slippery, worn-out boots weren't giving me a lot of confidence.

It was sunny and warm, so I took my socks off and wrung them out and let my wrinkled feet dry out a bit.

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Photo op!

That's Rainbow Lakes, the source for my name for this peak.

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Nick Lake.

It already has a peak named for it, and in an unusual turn of events, the peak is nearby!

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The Sawtooths.

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The thought of descending through the snowy willows and big, steep blocks wasn't appealing, so I took a long cut that routed me farther up the valley. This worked well, especially since I had the GPS track from my descent off Idler Peak. So this new route took me right under the cliff face of Bearpaw.

Then I slipped and slithered down the greasy 'trail' (a game path at best) until I got to the top of the real Idler Creek trail. Then back down Idler Creek trail to the bike.

It was really nice to hop on the bike for the last 4 miles. I will say that although the bike is much faster, it's not a lot less effort. So when I got back to the truck after my 8-hour day, I was totally gassed.

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Map.

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