Split Creek Point

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We visit the old lookout site at Split Creek Point.

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After meeting at the usual spot in Cascade, Dave drove his first trip down the South Fork. Actually, we had been down this road when we did Thunderbolt, but that was just getting started on the long, one-lane paved road down to the confluence with the Secesh. Then we were headed up Lick Creek to the trailhead, but the road was blocked by downed trees. Lots of them. So here we are walking the road.

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We took the turnoff to the Split Creek trail. To assist hikers, the Payette National Forest provides lots of information about this trail.

The trail, like the road, had 'new' trees down, at least new since the last time I had walked it.

And then to add to the fun, we started hitting patches of snow.

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When the snow became more or less continuous, we switched to snowshoes.

Following the trail was pretty straightforward for the most part. However, the trail didn't always agree with the map on our GPS (the map at the end of this report shows our track). In the tough to follow spots we had Art leading, always a good thing.

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Most of this trail is very mellow, but at the upper end of the valley, it gets pretty steep. That, and the slush on top of the snow was slippery. So here Art has removed his snowshoes to get up the steep hillside. The snow was pretty firm, so booting wasn't a problem (Dave, with one snowshoe-less foot showing in the picture, had been booting most of the way up the valley).

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As we left the creek bottom, we finally started getting some views of this spectacular country.

I thought we were looking at Hum Ridge, but those peaks are actually on the south side of Lick Creek.

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We all knew that there used to be a lookout up here. We weren't expecting the cabin to still be standing.

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Summit. Approach

There's the footings for the tower.

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Dave is finally wearing snowshoes, I think for the little blotch of snow, which fell through the hole where the wood stove chimney once was.

The cabin is in remarkably good condition.

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Despite the open windows and door. Approach

I think this is North Loon.

And farther north I could identify Victor Peak.

After some sight-seeing and a leisurely lunch, it was time to head down. We agreed that doing a loop would be good (isn't it always?) and that following the ridge back would make for a good shortcut.

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We had only gone about 100 yards down the ridge when we ran into prints.

On a warm, sunny day, note how crisp they are. This fellow (gal?) was also walking our ridge. Back and forth. Recently.

I had been ahead of the other guys, but after Art baiting me with a discussion about bears being grumpy when they wake from hibernation, I waited for the rest of the team so we could form a larger group.

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Getting below the snow line put us in some heavy buck brush, which didn't make me feel much better about a chance wildlife meeting. Plus, in terms of walking conditions we were now in the burn, so there was downfall. And isn't that an uphill coming up?

Tom said he smelled an epic.....

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But the views from the ridge top made it all worthwhile. This is looking into the hanging valley of the North Fork of Lick Creek. Now THAT was an epic! Approach
And a couple of the peaks of Hum Ridge. Approach
Meanwhile, our ridge jut kept going. After an hour of brisk hiking, we had only lost about 600 feet. 2000 more to go.... Approach

Dave had determined that we should follow the ridge down another 1000 feet to the 5000-foot level, and then hang a right. The upper part of our right turn was quite steep, but we found a soft elk track to plunge-step down. Then a wandering path following the line of least resistance through more buck brush, one long log walk, and we came out on the road about 150' from the car.

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Map

 

Dave's trip report

Idaho Climbing Guide

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