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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1 comment:

The Allens said...

Larry, this is James A. How are you? This is the first time I have seen this blog. This is amazing! I am inspired.

Please let me know when you go on your next climb. I am feeling the itch. I also have a few questions for you.

1. What watch do you use for navigation? I remember you used one on Big Boy and it proved to be very helpful.
2. Do you have one of those big shaded relief Idaho maps with all of the peak names on them? I think it would be cool for you to have one of those with a red pin for each mountain you have conquered. I accidentally ordered 2 from the geological survey and it is yours if you want it. They are really cool maps.

Have a great day,