Mount Church to Donaldson Peak
|Donaldson, Church, Bad Rock,White Cap, Leatherman taken from Brietenbach|
When I go into high mountains alone, or on any hike into the back county, I am very aware of the risks involved. I am totally responsible for getting myself out if anything should happen. I don't expect help. Perhaps having this mindset, makes me a bit more conservative in my choices. Nothing wrong with that. If I was seriously injured, I am quite sure I could drag my self to some crossroad even if I had to crawl for a day or two.
Some suggest climbing from the Jones Creek Drainage. After studying the map, I thought a more direct route would be to climb from the drainage to the northwest. Take the Lone Cedar Creek road, a well maintained county road, to the ranch at the foot of the mountains. Turn right at the ranch and follow to road to the trailhead.
I drove up to the trail head and bedded down for the night. I was working on some images in the back of the Subaru, when I saw headlights meandering past the ranch and up my way. The Lost River Range is remote and chance of two parties sharing a trailhead is unlikely; Borah is the exception. It is the "Mount Everest" of Idaho. When Ben and I climbed Borah earlier in the summer, there was a steady stream of hikers from the trail head campground to the summit.
The van, pulling a large trailer behind, slowly pulled into the flat area before the trailhead. I had company! In fact a lot of company. It was a van from BYUI Outdoor Activites full of students eager to make it to the summits of Church and Donaldson. I arose from my bag and introduced myself and asked if what time they planned on starting in the morning. Several of them had attempted a summit on Church when the ridge was loaded with snow and had turned back a few hundred yards from the summit. They were familiar with the basic route and I was eager to join them. I figured I could save myself time and energy by tagging along. Also, I always enjoy company.
We began at 5:00 A.M. hiking up the drainage. With headlamps we could follow a pretty good trail. Evidently this was a well trodden route. At this point the route is straightforward. Walk up.
|Looking down the valley|
|Scott with his dog Moab|
|The steep scree slope and wall to the ridge between Church and Donaldson|
|Leatherman, Bad Rock, Church, and Donalson from the west|
The wall can be seen between Church and Donaldson.
|Matt and his friend on ridge from Donaldson to Church|
Mount Church on the left
|Photographing on the ridge above the wall|
|The ridge to Church|
|Looking back to Donaldson on right. No Regret Peak on left and Breitenbach between the two|
|Climbing the ridge to Church|
|On top of Church|
|Taking pictures on top of Church|
Eric Newell looking rugged in his new "blue" Patagonia
|Eric and Scott on top of Church|
|The Ridge to Donaldson|
|Mount Church from Donaldson|
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