Nick Lake and Nick Peak

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We luck out with clear skies on Nick Peak.

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

 

Lake Fork Creek is pretty low. No problem boulder hopping across except that Ruby went first and got the rocks wet.

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As we motored up the trail, the sun was coming up.

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If you're going up Idler Creek, it pays to call ahead.

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It smells like a great day!

Of course we then lost the trail and did some major brushwacking for a while. Nothing worth pictures. Just sweaty, hard work.

That was followed by a very hard pull up to our saddle.

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But once on the saddle, the views! ... and there's Nick Lake.

A little smoky down on the South Fork again.

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Good backpacking terrain. This is a lot of fun with full packs.

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In case you thought it was just a short section....

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And finally, camp. Sweet spot right at the inlet. Note Ruby hanging out in the shade behind the tent. We're tired.

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But lots of day left. Fishin'. Swimmin'. Solving the world's problems (Hint: everything is better at Nick Lake).

That night we got a light show, but the booming was off to the north quite a ways. Still,....

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The next morning we woke to a stunning sunrise, the red ball rising up out of the lake. Check Dave's photos, linked at the bottom of this report. The sailor's 'red sky' poem was going through my head as we packed up and got started early.

Our objective this morning was Nick Peak. We grunted back up toward the saddle into Idler Creek, then before the rocks got too nasty we dropped our packs for a fairly flat traverse into the upper Nick Lake. There's our summit just left of center.

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The upper lake. Missing about 15 feet of water so now sort of two lakes. Still fish in there.

And there's our route up Nick...?

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We had identified a couple cliffy areas and a ramp between them. Seems to be working. There's the upper lake below us.

The pointy thing above is Rainbow Peak, which Dave and I (and Tom) climbed last year..

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Rainbow Peak zoomed in. Yeah, it was a challenge.

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A little higher and we could see over the shoulder to the north.

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And from just below the summit, the views really opened up. This view includes the north ridge route I've used in the past, with lower Idler Creek in shadows on the left of the ridge.

Note: I'm purposely not playing NTP (Name That Peak) because there are so many of them. Go see for yourself!

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Summit shot.

In the background, that's McCall.

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In case you were wondering about the etymology, this view of today's peak from Snowdon Rock near McCall should explain the 'nick'. Trailhead
The flank of Bearpaw Peak, which we did last year on the same day as Rainbow. Dave called it Bearclaw, which with this view is probably a better name. Trailhead

Yep, them's mountains.

If you click for a bigger image, you'll see Dave admiring them intensely. I think he went over there to escape the endless NTP.

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Looking back at from where we came, with all three Nick Lakes.

And on the far right, the brightly lit saddle is where we are headed next. And that will conclude the easy part of our day.

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From the summit of Nick it was a careful downclimb, then short hike back to the packs. Full loads up back up the boulder field, then over the summit and the interminable hillside down to Idler Creek. On the hillside we found occasional trail tread, some cairns, and even a blaze or two (see the map below).

Thanks to the doGPS, we successfully followed the trail all the way down Idler. Then a very hot trudge down the East Fork. 91°F when I got home. Even Ruby was tired. Time to hydrate!

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Map Trailhead

Dave's blog:
Day 1
Day 2

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