Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mount Idaho Climb

On September 2, 2001, I climbed Hyndman Peak. Of Idaho's nine 12000'+ peaks, this was the first whose summit I reached. Last week, I climbed Lost River Mountain, which was number 8. I had a plan to climb my final "twelver" - Mount Idaho - with some people from Rupert this past Friday but it turned out that they couldn't make it. Ultimately I decided that instead of rescheduling I'd rather take Friday off and finish the quest by making a solo ascent of the peak.

After leaving Boise around 3:30am, I arrived at the trailhead around 7am. Surprisingly, three other vehicles were there too - a rarity for a somewhat obscure peak. From the trailhead I had a brisk hike up the forested creek bottom of Elkhorn Creek. After reaching treeline I was greeted with my first views of the peak and a steep climb of mostly good rock to the summit ridge. The summit ridge also yielded the day's first incredible views of the surrounding county - including Borah Peak, the highest peak in Idaho.

The summit ridge is blocked by three towers which add some climbing and route-finding to the ascent. For the most part, a trail identifies the easiest way around these obstacles but finding the trail sometimes took effort. Once to the base of the face, the route climbs a mixture of solid rock and usually good talus to the summit. It was quite a bit of effort to finish the climb, but ultimately I reached the summit in just over 5 hours! The view was incredible and the conditions were perfect! I spent about 45 minutes atop the peak relaxing, taking in the views, and sending a few text messages.

During the entire climb I was expecting to run into others due to having seen the vehicles at the trailhead. However upon leaving the summit I still had seen no one. I descended a loose talus line from the summit, a route that got pretty steep and forced me to cross a few patches of steep, rotten snow. Upon getting back to the base of the face, I ran into the group of seven that were just beginning the ascent of the face. Apparently I passed them somewhere... maybe in the forest? We chatted a bit and then headed our separate ways. Later I saw them atop the peak and eventually I found out five of them made the summit. From the base of the face the descent involved a mixture of solid rock, loose rock, and kind-of-loose rock on increasingly tired legs and aching feet. Once my dogs are barking my hiking pace slows dramatically and it took me quite a while to descend from the basin to the vehicle. Needless to say, ten hours later I was very happy to be back to the car!

Trip statistics: 7.52 miles, 10:05h, 5369' elevation gain

Mount Idaho Pictures!
GPS Track

No comments: