Sunday, November 15, 2015

Trip Report: Great Western Peak 10,388, Lemhi Range, Idaho

Followed this goat trail until cliffs forced me off this ridge to Great Western Peak, 10,388
  • November 14, 2015
  • Team: Solo
  • Summit Attempted: 
    • Great Western Peak ,10,388, Lemhi Range
  • Route: West Ridge
  • YDS: Class 2 up to 9,950'
  • Total Elevation Gain 3,953'
  • Total Miles: 10.5

Yesterday, went up Camp Creek trying to reach the  Lemhi crest. Camp Creek is one rough approach. Eight inches of powder in the canon over large rocks, log jams, and rock slides made the going slow and tedious. Got lost in the forest and decided to make the ridge to 10,358. That was a mistake. Crampons made the ascent manageable, but the increasing number of cliffs made route finding difficult. Dropping down the south slopes to bypass cliffs was exhausting. One minute I was in 20 inches of powder, the next, I was either catching a spike on a shallow rock or sliding down a lightly covered exposed slab. Finally, I was completely cut off by cliffs at my elevation. I turned around and tried to find a route to the canyon floor below. I cliffed out several times and had to regain elevation each time to continue back tracking. Should have stayed in the canyon on the approach as per my initial plan.  Finally made it down and decided the mountain would still be there in the spring. I made no summit but did get good looks at the incredible cliffy area and some reference photos for another attempt. Also, got a good workout!

Lemhi Range
Ridge between Daisy Black Peak, 10,401 and Tyler Peak

Daisy Black Peak 10,401

The above photo is of the northern slope of Camp Creek. The many towers dotting the slope are quite impressive.

Looking back at the ridge I ascended, it is easy to see the gnarly cliff strewn upper section of Great Western Peak. Hindsight is 20/20.

GPS Trac
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Sunday, November 01, 2015

Trip Report: Big Boy Peak 11,402, Lemhi Range, Idaho

  • October 31, 2015
  • Team: James A. and James H.
  • Summit: 
    • Big Boy Peak, 11,402'
  • Route: East Ridge
  • YDS: Class 3
  • Total Elevation Gain 5,833'
  • Total Miles: 12.58

Big Boy Peak, Lemhi Range
James and I left Rexburg early in the morning heading to Sage Junction. James A. would meet us at the junction. Next, we headed to the Pass Creek turn-off just south of Lone Pine on Highway 28. The road is marked by a small "Pass Creek" sign. If you miss it, just turn around at Lone Pine and retrace the highway. The Pass Creek Road is in very good shape and ends at a small campground. The Pass Creek Trail begins here and heads south giving access to the many canyons leading to the Lemhi Crest. The GPS tract below indicates in red the Pass Creek Road from the highway to the campground. The green and yellow mark the route we made.

Initially, we were going to climb Shoshone John and then traverse the ridge to Big Boy. That choice put us on the south side of the canyon between the two mountains. Due to our late start time and the fact that both James's had to be back in Rexburg and Idaho Falls to trick-or-treat with their kids at 6:30, we opted to drop down to the north and find a line up Big Boy.

Heading up the south side of the canyon
Considering our line up Big Boy
Initially, we thought that we would climb the southeast face shown in the above photo. We would ascend up the snow filled gully and through the notch in the cliff band and then traverse east through the snow to the ridge above. After dropping down to the valley floor, we thought better. There was just enough snow to make the rocks extremely slippery. We decided that we would avoid a precarious traverse across a steep slippery slope ending in cliffs. Instead, James A. proposed that we head due north to make the main east ridge. Once on the ridge we could follow it to the summit. This east ridge was Diamondesque and promised some fun climbing.

Upper east ridge of Big Boy
We climbed to the right of the rocks on the extreme right of this photo
James A. slogging above the tree line to make the east ridge
Once on the ridge, we had a wonderful view of the cloud covered Birch Creek Valley
From this ridge we had a great view of Shoshone John.

Shoshone John
The fun part of the climb was just beginning. The ridge was a steady ascent of class 3 climbing. There were plenty of ledges to traverse to find routes with plenty of good foot and hand holds.  We were super glad to have taken this route. It provided the needed variety to make the climb interesting and just a bit challenging.

James A. traversing a ledge to find the next line
Another ledge and a short climb
Great fun
Looking down from my ledge. My boot is bottom center
On the east ridge of Big Boy. Diamond Peak in background

The Riddler from east ridge
The Riddler from the east ridge
The final push to the summit
On the summit of Big Boy Peak
Looking south. Black and White Peak (near center) and Little Diamond Peak (upper Left) 
The ridge to Shoshone John
Shoshone John (left mid-ground), Nicholson Peak (right), Saddle Mountain (far left on horizon)
During an August climb of The Riddler, I had studied the north approaches to Big Boy and I knew we could drop off the summit into the canyon to the north. However, the slope was snowy and icy. After a slow careful descent and a couple of butt slides we came to a gully of snow that was deep enough to dig a good heel into. Amazing how much such a find becomes so welcomed. It was then an easy stair step to the bottom.

The day had gone quite well. The weather help up and the views were stunning. We remarked more than once how incredible it was to be in such a space.

Dropping off the northeast slope of Big Boy
Diamond Peak in the clouds
Diamond Peak in the clouds
Once we reached the valley, we put it in high gear to make it home in time for trick-or-treating.

I am adopting a convention used by Splattski on his trip reports. I like how he provides some relevant facts at the beginning of each report. I followed his pattern in this report and think it will make my reports more organized and easier to peruse. If imitation is a sincere sign of flattery, I hope John won't mind this aping of his style and will take it as huge compliment.

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