Monday, May 30, 2016

Trip Report: Rust Peak (10.759), Lemhi Range, Idaho

Rust Peak
  • May 28, 2016
  • Team: Layne Hacking, Ben
  • Summit: 
    • Rust Peak
  • Route: Northeast Ridge
  • YDS: Class 3
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,566 feet
  • Total Miles: Approximately 7.5 miles

Rust Peak is located just south of The Incredible Hulk which is located just south of Meadow Canyon. Heading north on Highway 28 Look for a sign on the west side indicating Rocky Canyon. This canyon will put you in a good position to access Rust Peak. If you come to the turn off to Meadow Canyon, you missed the turn. 

Driving in we saw several antelope. The Lemhis are indeed the place where the deer and the antelope play. Also, we enjoyed views of The Incredible Hulk, a  complex mountain that is finding it's way into my list of favorite Lemhi Peaks.

Low Clouds Over The Incredible Hulk
Rocky Canyon on the Left

The plan was to hike up Rocky canyon and climb a gully on the east face of the mountain. Once in the area, however, we adjusted our course to avoid dropping into Rocky Canyon and made for the northeast ridge. This made sense for two reasons. First, we could immediately begin to gain elevation and second the ridge looked to be relatively free from snow. 

We directed our course up the northeast ridge between Rust and Incredible Hulk hugging the southeast edge as much as possible. The rise was gentle. There were several short sections of easy class 3 scrambling along this ridge. For those not wishing to scramble up a few 10 foot walls, you could drop off the ridge to the west and bypass these short obstacles. The snow was patchy most of the way up this ridge. Leaving the tree line, we post holed up to the main line of the mountain. Now the snow was just the right depth and consistency. We could walk up a snow line with solid steps. When scree was crossed, it proved to be very forgiving, very little sliding back. 

Ben, Suki, and Layne Beginning the Line to the Top
Rust Peak is located between two of the Southern Lemhi classic mountains, Diamond and Bell. Understandably, the views were first rate. We were graced with a patchy cloud cover with constantly changing light. When the light changes minute to minute, the show is wildly aesthetic. 

Suki enjoying the view of Bell Mountain
The views of The Incredible Hulk stole the show much like it did on the trip up Meadow Peak a few weeks ago. Here are a few photos of TIH.

The Incredible Hulk From Rust Peak

The Incredible Hulk From Rust Peak

The Incredible Hulk From Rust Peak
Near the top, we scrambled up a short snow gully that appeared to be close to the summit. The false summit gave way to a narrow ridge heading south to the top. I hung behind to get some photos of Ben and Layne.

Ben and Layne and the Summit

Ben and Layne and the Summit

Ben on the Summit
Ben on the Summit
Diamond Peak on the Left
Big Sister on the Right
The summit views provided more pieces to my understanding of the Lemhi puzzle. I have set a goal of standing on top of every 10,000+ Lemhi peak plus most of those that technically don't qualify as distinct peaks. From this view, I put together an enchainment plan to bag those peaks south of The Clapper. 

Little Sister (far left and behind), 10,737 rise of 317, 10,751 rise of 451, 10,722, 10,681 rise of 461

Big Sister and Little Sister
Lame Jake Peak, Diamond Peak, The Brow, and Rocky Canyon
Three views of the summit ridge of Rust Peak and The Incredible Hulk.

Umpleby on the far left

We spent a lot time on the summit. The rocks were warm and views were tremendous. Layne took out his binoculars and spotted a few goats, maybe a Billy. Ben, was able to take another animal off his bucket list. During our climb of Bald Mountain and subsequent foray up Skull Canyon, he knocked off a large herd of elk and six rams. Suki took a nap on top. It was a hard day's night and she was sleeping like a dog.

Suki Napping
We snacked and relaxed before packing up and heading down. Ended up going through some deep snow once we reached the tree line and slogged through with several short glissades between trees. Suki zonked out again once in the truck. She alternated resting her head on my or Layne's leg all the way home. We topped off the day with Cokes in Mud Lake.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trip Report: Meadow Peak (10.633), Lemhi Range, Idaho

Meadow Peak Summit Ridge
  • May 14, 2016
  • Team: Fred Wooley, Scout Troop 418
  • Summit: 
    • Meadow Peak
  • Route: East Face
  • YDS: Class 2
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,690 feet
  • Total Miles: Approximately 5.5 miles
This May has been cool and wet. When the weather forecast predicted a small window of sun for the weekend, we decided to make the most of it by taking some scouts up Meadow Peak. I picked the mountain for its gentle class 2 east face with two large plateaus on the way to the summit. That way I did not have to worry too much about thirteen-year-old boys running around on a mountain and could just enjoy the hike.

To get there, head north on highway 28 up Birch Creek Valley. Pass the turnoff on the left to Mammoth Canyon and the turnoff on the right to Nicholia. Then take the left turn to Meadow Canyon. The road then continues west to the mountains. Just before dropping down into Meadow Canyon, hang a right up the hillside and then find your way to the large red something, perhaps a water tank. The red cylinder sits at the foot of the east side of the mountain. 

We drove to the mountain Friday after school and made camp near the base of the mountain. Driving across the desert, I was reminded of how massive and beautiful The Incredible Hulk is, I stopped and made some images of the mountain.

View of The Incredible Hulk driving in

View of The Incredible Hulk driving in
Once at the foot of Meadow Peak, some kids set up tents. A few laid out bags under the stars. Fred brought a few pounds of marinated turkey breast that he had recently butchered with several of the boys. He mixed this with several kinds of beans and spices to make an evening meal. 

The boys threw a football around and played kick the can as the evening light faded. I took this opportunity to make images of The Incredible Hulk to the south. I wandered around the base of Meadow Peak to get a good vantage and made the following images.

I also made an image of the Birch Creek Valley in the evening light from out campsite.

The route up Meadow Peak is straight forward. Head up the face and find the ridge to first plateau. Cross the flat and then continue up the steeper face of scree to the second plateau. During this scramble, the boys were thrilled to find Horn Coral. The abundance of intact horns made them picky as to which one they would keep. Most went home with a near perfect horn.

The summit sits about 600 feet beyond this second open space. The most obvious route to the top is the ridge on the south end of the peak.

Two scouts approaching the southeast ridge
Matthew Erikson and Cameron Ricks below the summit ridge

The Summit Ridge

Meadow Peak is not a photogenic mountain. Its two wide intermediary plateaus set the summit far back from the foot of the mountain. To photograph the entire mountain one must be a considerable distance to see the actual summit. Although the south face is dramatically punctuated with dizzying cliffs, the east face is unremarkable. I think most climb Meadow Peak not for its aesthetic qualities but for the views to be had on the top. This day the views did not disappoint. 

Neil Clifford, Cameron Ricks, Ben Prescott, and Matthew Erikson on the summit looking north
Cameron Ricks and Matthew Erikson on the summit ridge
Bell Mountain with Meadow Peak's snow covered ridge in foreground
Bell Mountain and Peak 10,720+ (The Clapper) on the left

Saddle between Peak 10,720+ and Bell

Several point-release and one slab avalanches on the northeast face of Bell

Bell Mountain
One final image of the trip is of the north face of The Brow. I have an interesting connection to The Brow. While coming off the northeast ridge on my way to Lame Jake, I experienced my first real-time avalanche off the north face. The memory of the slide slamming into rocks below and exploding into the air was an incredible sight and a reminder of how powerful even small avalanches can be. Anyway here is the impressive north face of The Brow.

The Brow, north face