Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Diamond Peak and surrounding peaks, Lemhi Range, Idaho. March 15, 2014

Ben and I drove over to look at Diamond Peak and made these images.

Climbing Little Sister, Lemhi Range, Idaho. May 18, 2014

I left work on Friday and drove to the west side of the Lemhi Range just south of Bell Mountain.   During the drive from Rexburg, it rained most of the way until I entered the Little Lost River Valley.  The valley was partly cloudy but no rain. By the time I found Mud Spring it was after 7:00.  Eager to get going, I began the climb determined to get as far as possible before dark.  From Mud Spring, I followed the route marked in blue on the topo map below.

During the first hour, several small storms rolled through the valley.  I just experienced light rain.

Around 9:00 I looked for a semi-flat place to sleep.  I found a large tree on the slope and bedded down against the backside for the night.  I was up and on the trail by 6:30 the next morning.  The key to this hike is to follow the ridges.  I encountered several places where the snow was soft and up to my waist.  Fortunately, I could find the bottom in most places with trekking poles and easily leveraged myself out. Most of the snow held my weight and made it possible to continue.

 Once at Little Sister the slope to the top is an easy hike.  The views from the summit are incredible.  To the east is Big Sister.  I was going to summit this peak but saw the ridgeline was covered in deep snow and was tired of fighting the quickly softening crust.  To the southeast the prominent Diamond peak is backlit by the sun. See below.

The views to the north give a great view of the Lemhi Crest.  Bell Mountain is on the far left and Big Sister in on the far right.  The next image includes Bell Mountain and the peak directly north of Big Sister.

The summit of Little Sister.

While descending (the magenta line), I dropped a bit low where the blue X is on the map.  I found myself on a steep slope with flowing scree and boulders. I had to climb up the slope to the top of the ridge. As I came above one ridge, I was met with a Mountain Goat staring at me ...from this perch. It was an incredible sight. As I fumbled to get my pack off and my camera out, he just watched. Then he turned around, hopped off the rock, and was gone. Damn! I did get a good photo of the perch though. You just have to imagine this beautiful animal standing there looking at you.  The next photo is of the view the goat was looking over.

I continued to descend following the magenta marked route on the topo map.  I think this more direct route would make a better ascent route for anyone interested in this climb.  Any feedback would be welcomed.

Tom Lopez Website:
Little Sister