Friday, July 11, 2014

Climbing Leatherman Peak, Lost River Range, Idaho

June 19, 2015

Leatherman Peak Boy Scout Trip

I went with the scouts up Leatherman Peak on the 19th. We hiked up to the base of the mountain on the afternoon of the 18th and climbed the next day. This time, I measured the distance from the trailhead to the mountain. It is only 2.25 miles. This was perfect for the scouts on their first backpacking trip. They learned a lot about what to put in their packs or, more importantly, leave out. All the scouts made it up to 10,000 feet. Most made it to near 12,000 and five summited the peak. Ben climbed it for the second time.

Here are a few new images of the area.

Leatherman Peak in Distance
Leatherman Pass
White Cap Peak on Right

Leatherman Pass
10,252 North of 11,909

Venus and Jupiter over Mount Idaho

Summer 2014

Ben and I hiked Leatherman a few days ago.  He wanted to climb one of Idaho's 12,000'+ peaks and Leatherman was a good introduction for a 12-year-old.  The hike from the northeast face is mostly a class 2 climb with just a short section of class 3 climbing on the upper ridge. He can now say he summited the second highest mountain in Idaho!  We drove into the Leatherman Pass Trailhead via the West Fork Pahsimeroi Road/Trail.  The road in is accessible only to vehicles with good clearance, AWD, and good tires. At times I thought I was pushing my Subaru Forester a bit, but Ben and I have made the trip to this trailhead twice now without incident. The road is a bit difficult to follow so I have included several GPS coordinates to find the trailhead. The following coordinates take you to intersections on the way to the Leatherman Pass Trailhead:

N44.39751 W113.76785
N44.34731 W113.77185
N44.34460 W113.76785
N44.27649 W113.66149
N44.22001 W113.71657
N44.16427 W113.70889
N44.15907 W113.70885
N44.15314 W113.71313
N44.12997 W113.72662

View Driving to Leatherman Pass Trailhead
Mount Breitenbach is on the left, Leatherman is on the far right
A Closer View of Leatherman on the Right
This is the face we climbed.
The first evening we hiked the few miles from the trailhead to the base of Leatherman.  I could tell Ben was a little anxious as he looked up at the peak.  We ate some snacks and laid out our bags for a night under the stars. I read aloud from a book he packed along as the light faded. Ben usually likes sleeping in a tent but found out how great it is to sleep with the night sky above. Shooting stars and the bright Milky Way were entertainment after dark.  I did get out my camera and made two images before my battery died.  The fact that I left the two charged batteries in the car really perturbed me.  I did get up at about 4:30 the next morning to run back to the car to get batteries to make sure Ben would have photos of his climb. Just what I needed, a five mile warm up before tackling Leatherman.
Ben was just rousing when I got back to camp. We got up and ate Oreos and milk for breakfast; we were on vacation. Then, we began the climb.

Ben on the lower slope of Leatherman
Ben on the talus slopes
The climb is not too steep but the challenge comes from the endless sea of talus. I think 98% of the climb is on talus.  I nicknamed Ben Scree-Man. We were thrilled to find fossils of horn coral, pipe-like coral,  shells, and other creatures all around us. In fact, I think that all we had to do to find fossils was just sit down on the lower slopes and start picking up rocks. Since we were in no hurry to the top, we made the climb into a fossil hunting venture. Also, as the hike progressed we were happy to find the lower snow fields were solid enough to walk up.  This provided some relief from the flowing rocks.

On Top of Leatherman
On Top of Leatherman
Ben was happy to get to the top.  The last few hundred feet were more like class 3 climbing, just enough to give him a taste of what is to come for future climbs. When he got a little nervous, I just reminded him to concentrate on the rocks at his feet and think only of his next step and to breathe deep.  At the top we could look north and could see Pass Lake at the foot of White Cap Peak and Borah in the distance.  We had made the hike to Pass Lake last year.  It was fun for him to see the same lake from this vantage.

Signing the Register

Me With My Mouth Open
Ben wanted to take a picture of me at the top.  I gave him the camera and he quickly turned it to this funky angle.  I was probably saying what the heck are you doing. He clicked and I am frozen in time with my mouth open.  Ben thought the angle was cool. I am sure my students sometimes think I will never shut up.  This should be a familiar site for them.

Making a Journal Entry
Ben brought along a book to make journal entries in during the hike. It was his idea. I had nothing to do with the decision. He paused several times to make notes. Here he is coming off the upper ridge taking time to write. He also picked a few blue-violet flowers near the top to press in his book. He was thinking of something to give to his mom. I can learn from his decisions.

The following images show the different views from Leatherman. I have tried to identify the surrounding peaks. If anyone viewing these images sees mistakes, please email me so I can make corrections. I really would appreciate the input.

Looking South
Looking Southeast
Looking East
Looking North

After descending, we packed up our gear and headed for the trailhead. Once back at the car we washed up at the creek.  Drank some cold pop and Gatorade and made beef stroganoff for dinner. Yes, it was the freeze dried recipe. We then packed for the hike to Merriam Lake with its view of Mount Idaho. Our plan was to reach the lake before dark and fish a little. I brought a fly rod and Ben had his "Zebco." I really don't know how to fly fish but I thought I could figure it out.  After I snapped two flies off my line I gave up. I guess I need to watch a few Youtube videos or go out with someone who knows what they are doing. I tied a big fly on Ben's line with a small sinker behind the swivel. He trolled it like a spinner. To both our delight he landed a beautiful Brooke Trout.

I made a few images then helped Ben build a fire in a ring that was on the bank of the lake. Ben wanted to sit by a fire sometime during the trip and we managed to scrounge up enough dead wood to make a pretty decent fire that night. After the fire died down, we rolled out our bags for another night under the stars. The next morning, we slept in! Fished a bit. And, finally hiked back to the car.

Merriam Lake and Mount Idaho
Merriam Lake and Mount Idaho
Merriam Lake and Mount Idaho
Fishing Merriam Lake
Other Resources:

Tom Lopez Website:
Leatherman Peak

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