Monday, August 22, 2011

North Twin and Red Cone Peak Climb

At 6am, I met Dan and Tom (author of Idaho: A Climbing Guide) for the long drive to climb North Twin in the Lost River Range. We arrived in Arco at 9am and met Margo (who drove in from Pocatello) for the drive to the trailhead. The road up Elbow Canyon was pretty good and we were moving around 10am.

The route starts along an road/ATV trail, crosses a very nice meadow and enters a thick forest. The forest was a surprise and is very uncommon for a Lost River ascent, particularly on the west side. Down in the trees we made a slight navigational error but after a correction we made our way above treeline and into a gorgeous basin beneath the northwest face of North Twin. A short class 3 stretch got us into the upper reaches of the basin after which we soon were able to take a nice break at the flowery saddle between North Twin and nearby Red Cone Peak.

After our break, we made the final push to the top of North Twin. On our way up we saw some sheep who were just as interested in us as we were them. They probably aren't used to visitors on this seldom-climbed peak! After they scattered, we finished the climb on very solid terrain. Once on top, we enjoyed beautiful weather and the incredible panorama of the Lost River Range. Some clouds were looking questionable for awhile but once on the summit it was clear that they would not threaten our day.

We descended to the saddle and then all agreed to make the short climb up Red Cone Peak. We actually didn't know the name of this peak until we discovered Rick Baugher's register from 1993 - it appeared that we were the first visitors since then! After a brief time on the summit of Red Cone Peak, we descended the canyon to the northwest of Red Cone Peak. This was a very direct descent on mostly solid terrain, although it was a bit of a slog since it came at the end of a long day.

Once at the truck we all enjoyed a beer - thanks Margo! It hit the spot and after a few minutes we headed back to Arco. As we were leaving Elbow Canyon we saw a black bear which made some serious climbing moves up a cliff to get away. Impressive!! Before we parted ways, we had a nice dinner at Pickle's Place in Arco. This was memorable especially for the large group of French (Cajun?) speakers in there. Our drive home was long but uneventful and I didn't get home until 11:45pm. A long but great day in the mountains with a great group!

North Twin/Red Cone Peak Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report
Margo's Trip Report


Cathy said...

Nice pictures but the area looks pretty bleek and bare. I guess you did not get a picture of the bear!

zdv said...

Sadly, no. The bear was out of sight within roughly ten seconds!