Sunday, October 25, 2015

Climbing Gloved Peak 10,604 and Shrill Peak 10,690, Lemhi Range, Idaho

Peak 10,604
  • October 24
  • Team: Ben
  • Summits:
    • Peak 10,604
    • Shrill Peak, 10,690
  • Route: East Ridge
  • YDS: Class 2
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,290
  • Total Miles: 3.06
The approach to the mountain pass where we began to hike is 6 miles from the mouth of the North Creek Canyon.

Peak 10,604 is a distinctive peak rising above the foothills of Mormon Gulch and North Creek. It sits just south of Buckhorn Peak. Its profile is easily seen from the Little Lost River Valley. Climbing this mountain locates one in the midst of the southern Lemhi Range. Tyler Peak and Saddle dominate views to the south. Buckhorn, White Bird, and Dome Peak's lesser profiles play out before Sunny Bar, Swanson, and Little Diamond Peak. Once on the summit of 10,604, the ridge to Shrill Peak is a must. The views of the cliffs and towers on the southern face of the ridge and Shrill are simply amazing. Finally,  the hike to Shrill rewards the adventurer with views of Tyler Peak whose gnarly profile beckons to be climbed.

Ben and I drove to the Little Lost River Valley Saturday morning. Heading north from Howe we drove to the North Creek Road. The road is a 6 mile long driveway to Dave's house at the mouth of North Creek Canyon. It is well maintained. We parked along the side of the road and unloaded the 4X4. The previous trip up North Creek Canyon in my Subaru Forester resulted in some body damage and two flat tires. We came prepared this time. Ben drove us quite a way up the canyon. Good practice.

We soon overtook a hunter and his family on the trail looking for game. Saturday was the last day of hunting season. We slowed down and fell a bit behind. Suddenly a shot rang out. We saw they had stopped and the two adults were scurrying up a steep slope. Decided to go around their machines and proceed on our way. 

The trail/road we traveled was is remarkably good condition. It wound up the mountain and eventually would crest the ridge and drop down into Mormon Gulch. Our plan was to climb from its highest point as it rounded Peak 10,604. 

The approach up North Creek and up the slopes of Peak 10,604
We parked and began climbing the southwest ridge of Peak 10,604, aiming towards to small towers. Climbing the steep scree slope without any warm up was a jolt to my body. It was only about a half mile to the summit, but the relentless sliding scree up the nearly 1,000 elevation gain made the sweet approach a memory. Thank goodness for trekking poles. We muscled our way up the mountain on all fours. Climbing between the two towers we made our way to the summit.

Route up Peak 10,604
Ben digging up Peak 10,604

We stacked a few more rocks on the summit cairn and ate a celebratory snack before heading on to Shrill Peak.

Ben sitting on the summit cairn of Peak 10,604

Trekking the ridge to Shrill Peak from 10,604, Ben takes in the view
Southern cliffs of Shrill
Tyler Peak in distance
The walk to Shrill was punctuated with finds of horn coral and another kind of coral resembling groups of large straws. Ben is now pretty particular about what he now brings home. He did find a few perfect horns to add to his collection.

The walk to Shrill Peak

On the summit of Shrill we located the USGS markers. There are two of them? Remnants of the triangulation station are scattered over the summit. Ben retrieved one stick with three remaining cross pieces and some dangling wire. We secured it in the middle of the summit cairn by building the up the rocks around it. We also left a register container. With good binoculars, we hope to see it from the Birch Creek Valley someday.

Ben on the summit of Shrill Peak

On the summit of Shrill looking to Peak 10,604
The northern slopes of 10,604 are dusted with snow
White Bird Peak and Dome Peak in the north
Buckhorn Peak and White Bird over Mormon Gulch
During the return trip to 10,604, the light improved for photographing the cliffs on the south side of the ridge and Shrill Peak. I also, concentrated on Tyler Peak. The mountain was not as back lit and I hoped to document its north ridge and northwest face for planning future climbs.

Looking back at Shrill Peak
Valley to the south

Tyler Peak
Tyler Peak

Tyler and Saddle Mountain
Ben striking a "Walter Mitty" pose on the way back to 10,604
Tyler Peak

Tyler Peak
I was impressed by northwest aspect of Tyler Peak. Not many get to see this peak from this vantage. The north ridge looks incredible as well as those rock formations on the west slope.  The next image was taken while on Shrill and illustrates the nearly impossible line of the east ridge.

Tyler Peak detail
Once Ben and I reached 10,604, we rounded the mountain top instead of going up and over the summit. we knew there was a north ridge and tried to intersect the elevation where the north ridge connected. finding this spot, we dropped down on the sea of scree. This time it was a joy to be on this slope. The rocks were perfect for "skiing" to the bottom. Absolutely some of the best scree skiing to be had!

Thirty-five minutes later, we arrived back at the ruins of the mining operation located at the mouth of North Creek. Spent some time exploring the ruins before heading home.  I took a few photos of some writing on a rock wall identifying the Shrill/Comstock mining operation.

Shrill Comstock

GHS July 1, 1925

Ben wanted to ride the 4X4 the six miles from the canyon to the the highway. I followed behind in the Forester. When we reached the road, he was beaming, saying, "I feel so free!"

We drove back to Rexburg and went to Old Fongs for a General Tso's Chicken dinner.

For more trip reports visit Idaho Climbing

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