Monday, August 31, 2009

Diamond Peak Climb

Matt and I had a mutual interest in climbing Diamond Peak, Idaho's fourth highest peak. It is in eastern Idaho, meaning a long drive away. Thus we left Boise about 4:30pm on Friday the 28th. We ate dinner at Arco's Lost River Drive-In. The food was good and they were kind enough to serve fry sauce with the fries. After dinner we headed over to the Little Lost River Valley to find the trailhead and a camping site on the west side of the peak. By the time we turned off the highway it was already dark. After a navigational faux pas, we found the right road and made it up Badger Creek Canyon to a point where the road crosses an ATV bridge which is not suitable for larger vehicles. We were both tired and hit the hay not long after setting up camp.

In the morning we awoke at 6am and started heading up Badger Creek on a great ATV trail. Despite some high clouds the day was warm and pleasant. The canyon is beautiful and features a nice looking creek and many decaying cabins and adits from past mining activity. We were soon at the end of the ATV trail near the headwaters of Badger Creek. From here we hiked cross country up the canyon then up wooded slopes to a buttress leading to Diamond Peak's summit ridge. Gaining the summit ridge was a lot of work on some of the worst steep and loose talus I've ever experienced. Finally we crested the summit ridge, exhausted from slogging up nearly 2000' of terrible rock. The final push to the summit was tiring but uneventful and on much better terrain. It seems like my lungs don't work as well at 12000'+ as they used to!

The peak has a great 360 degree view, most of which was new to my eyes. The mostly uninhabited Little Lost River and Birch Creek Valleys sprawl beneath the peak along with the many summits flanking the said valleys. After spending roughly 45 minutes on top, we began our descent. This was highlighted by skiing roughly 2000' down the loose talus pile, by far the longest talus ski in which I've partaken. From there the hike out was long and punctuated only by us stopping to filter some delicious water from Badger Creek right below its spring source. Yum!

The day was much longer than we had expected and we were very happy to get back to the vehicle and begin the drive home. From the western edge of the Camas Prairie all the way home (90 minutes or so) we got a spectacular lightning show as we drove through the darkness!

Trip statistics: 11 miles, 5150' elevation gain, 11 hours

Diamond Peak Pictures!

No comments: