|Tyler Peak, Lemhi Range, Idaho|
- March 19, 2016
- Team: Myself
- Tyler Peak
- Route: North Creek
- YDS: Class 3
- Total Elevation Gain: approximately 5,172 ft.
- Total Miles: approximately 12.25 miles
|Ascent in magenta. Descent in green|
Image was taken from the ridge between Goved Peak and Shrill Peak, October, 2015
|Tyler Peak in relation to the southern Lemhi Range|
Image taken at 11:00 P.M. June 4, 2014 from the Birch Creek side
Mars is visible in the south
I was on the road by 6:00 A.M. Saturday morning. Said hello to Steve at Ray's and bought a Pepsi for the road. The trip across the desert was punctuated by the collision with an owl hunting over the road. What are the odds of hitting an owl the last two trips to North Creek on the Little Lost River side of the Lemhis! Such beautiful birds, I felt terrible. That small superstitious part in my head hoped it wasn't an omen. Going into the mountains alone always heightens my level of concern and this was not a good way to begin. My rational part quickly dismissed the irrational notion, and I continued on to the trail head at the mouth of North Creek. Driving in, I passed 4 elk.
North Creek is located several miles north of Howe. I always look for the ridge the extends west from the north south running crest of the Lemhis down to the highway. Once past this landmark, a fenced grave site is on the east side of the road. Passing the grave, start looking for a green street sign marking North Creek. The sign is reflective so it reflects brightly in high beam headlights. Turn east and travel on a county maintained road 6 miles to Dave's house. Park on the right side of the road near Dave's large storage shed. There is a place to pull off the road here and park. You may be met by Dave,s large red and white Australian Shepard named Clyde. Don't panic. Clyde is one of the best dogs around and is glad to have your attention. Every time Clyde greets me, it makes my day.
I was on the trail heading into the canyon at 7:30. The temperature was 16 degrees. The forecast called for a sunny day with temperatures getting barely above freezing. Just what I was looking for after last week's attempt of Mount Church.
An ATV trail leads deep into the canyon. Once past the foot of Gloved Peak (10,604), I headed northeast up the drainage. I was looking for a gully which would lead up to the west face of Tyler. Unfortunately, the forest made finding the right turnoff impossible for me. It's just plain hard to navigate by sight in a thick forest. I was winging this trip without the help of GPS points. I continued up the main well-defined drainage. The snow was fairly good for snowshoes. I remained on top most of the way up this gully. When I did break through, it was often no more than calf deep. I got a good look at Daisy Black to the north. This vantage clearly showed our December folly of finding a way from Daisy Black to Tyler along the ridge. The point where Jeremy scouted the route to the edge of the massive cliff is visible in profile on the left in the photo below.
|Daisy Black from North Creek|
I went much farther than anticipated. The morning was early and I was in no hurry. Passed Peak 10,172 on my left and turned southeast continuing up the main drainage. The sun was breaking the ridge ahead directly in front of me. I had no idea where I was and decided to make the ridge to get a look at my location in relation to Tyler. This section was slow and arduous. Often I was breaking through snow above my knees, not a happy camper.
|Thigh deep snow even with snowshoes|
|Looking back at the drainage I came up|
Walking up the gully, I passed several old avalanche tracts that came down perpendicular to the drainage. Soon I entered the run-out of a large slide that came down the main drainage. hiking up the debris field, I came to a crown of about 2 feet. By now the snow had formed a cohesive pack and the danger of avalanche was very slim. I felt confident in the continued ascent. Come spring, the slides will begin again.
|A slide off to my right|
|Looking back on the large slide debris in the main gully|
|Tyler Peak on left|
|Walking the ridge|
They finally noticed me and came to a halt. They stared, considering me intently. I thought it was hard for them to imagine finding a strange creature completely out of context on a high snow-covered mountain ridge. Finally, I decided that the staring contest had come to an end and moved toward them. That was all they needed to turn around and high tail it back up the ridge.
|Mountain sheep staring contest|
|Six ewes fleeing the scene|
|The back side of the large rock fins that dominate the slope|
Tyler Peak on left
Daisy Black on right
|Loved this slash of rock|
|Daisy Black (10,401)|
|Rounding the base of the rock bands|
|The summit of Tyler Peak|
|Daisy Black from Tyler Peak|
Rather than retrace my long route back, I decided to drop down the drainage I had originally planned to ascend. This would knock some miles off the return hike. I traversed down toward the dip in the ridge leading to Daisy Black and then headed directly down. When I reached the point where all rocks were buried under sufficient snow, I enjoyed a short glissade.
|The point I traversed to on the down climb|
Then it was a matter of big steps in soft snow. I knocked off 1,700 ft in an hour. I found myself at the debris tow of a large avalanche field. Rested and again traded my crampons and axe for snowshoes and poles. Then began the long slog over an open section and into the forest. Once I entered the trees, I picked the best looking gully and, once again, slogged on in thigh deep snow down the narrow drainage.
|Looking down the drainage I descended|
Notice the large rock fins in profile
|Looking back from the open section|
My tracks can be seen leaving the debris toe of the avalanche
The next part down the narrow gully in deep snow was simply exhausting. I was overjoyed to finally intersect with my trail from the morning ascent. Ah, broken trail! This route had whacked off hours off the morning tangent. In two hours I had managed to converge with my path. I think it was just another hour before I was out in the open of upper North Creek and on the ATV trail. At this point I turned around to see what I could see. Tyler's summit and the drainage I descended were framed with trees. Now if I had made that elusive drainage in the morning, I would have cut my time considerably! Yet, the views of Tyler from the north ridge, the sheep, and my sketchy traverse would have never made it into the story.
Once back at the car, Dave drove over to see how I was doing. We chatted a bit. He said he has been battling high blood pressure for over a year. He didn't plant last spring because of it. Said he thinks he is doing a bit better and hopes to plant this spring. I wished him well and told him I would bring him a print I made of of his little ranch the next time I was in the area. I think he will get a kick out of it. I said hello to Clyde and then made my good-byes before heading back to the Little Lost River Highway and home.