Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Peak 4,791 and The Yellow Jacket

Our first trip into the Leslie Gulch area was fantastic.

Date: October 20-21, 2018.

Partners: Deez and Lan-Lan.

Location: Leslie Gulch / Juniper Gulch, Mahogany Mountains Oregon.

Objectives: Peak 4,791 and The Yellow Jacket.

Stats: 6 miles and 1,700ft gain round trip.  Strava.  Easy class 3 at most.

Links: Camp ground info.

Notes: Fair to good gravel road is long and washboard but a passenger car should make it.  This area is very remote so come prepared.

I was hammering out a plan for what might be our last camping trip of the year.  Over the last couple of years we have been heading out to Craters of the Moon in the fall, which is a fine time to go.  While a trip to Craters is never a bad idea, I was thinking a change of venue might be nice.  I put two options of the table; one for Craters and one for Leslie Gulch.  In the end Leslie Gulch won out, even though that meant not getting to stop at the Wrangler in Fairfield.

The road off of Hwy 95 to the camp ground was long and washboard, but we made it no-problemo.  The weather was pleasant and a bit warm if anything.  The flies were still out in force but subsided quickly as the night cooled off.  We spent a bit of time around the fire and realized we totally dropped the ball on bringing S'mores. 

We dinked around the next morning and got a late start which ended up biting us in the you-know-where.  Instead of starting off when it was cool, we were headed straight into the heat of the day.  Yes, late October.  Yes I said heat.

Juniper Gulch trail head area,

Signage indicating the route options.

Juniper Gulch.

Start of the trail.


We started up Juniper Gulch which is shaded for the most part.  However we were again dinking around taking in the scenery.  Boring Geology lesson would go here...

There was one interesting section of vertical rock that required a boost to get the youngster up and over.  With that in addition to the other slots that we scrambled and wiggled though, we had a blast.  This is volcanic terrain but it reminded me of the sandstone canyons of Zion.  See what I did there...


Overhanging cliff along the trail.

One of several half-tunnels.

Down in the canyon.

Sometimes you just gotta bust a stem move even it it isn't needed.

Narrow gulch and sandy trail.

Cool rock formations.

Peak 4,791 at the head of the canyon.


It was tough to balance time moving with time taken to enjoy the hike.  We made fair time as we neared the end of the Gulch and started the steep and shadeless hike up to the saddle just below Peak 4,791.

The choice to head to Peak 4,791 first was a no-brainer since there was only a third of a mile and 300 feet of vert left.  Sorta steep but manageable but no shade.  We entered the summit block and topped out on easy class 3 terrain with very little vertical exposure.  Getting to the high point required a couple of easy hops.

Looking over to 4,791 from the saddle.

"Easy 3" terrain to the high point.

The Yellow Jacket from 4,791.  The route follows the right side of the ridge line.


Summit selfie and Landens first Oregon peak.

The Roster Comb on the west side of Owyhee River.


After the summit rituals were finished, we headed down to find some shade.  We went for shady spot A, then to shady spot B which was a lone tree near the base of The Yellow Jacket.  It wasn't too far but the sun was hot.  I'm not sure how this peak got its name and I hoped it wasn't due to a swarm of yellow jackets waiting to greet us on the summit.  The route to the summit definitely looked interesting from a distance, but it became obvious as we approached the base of the summit block.

Easy terrain heading over to The Yellow Jacket.

Summit block of The Yellow Jacket.

I would describe our route as easy class 3 with one section of mild exposure.  There is obviously more than one route and I was looking for the best way to get the youngster up.  I spotted for the crew on the one very short exposed section and it went without a problem.

Looking west.

Deez on The Yellow Jacket.

The summit was actually flat and grassy with plenty of room and the view was 10/10.  We had our moment but it was also time to move on.

Peak 4,719.

Summit selfie #2.

Landen pointing out the high point.


The good news was that it was literally all down hill.  The bad news was that we had to get down the steep and shadeless slope to get into the canyon and back into the shade. 

Looking down to the south.

Some weird site along the way.
We passed by some fenced area, approx 10m x 10m, that appeared to be some type of ecological study or something. 

Walking back to the saddle.

The lone tree of shade.

Heading back to the saddle.

The return trip was uneventful and the first thing I did was crank the AC in the car when we got there.  Let that be an advisory that one would probably not want to be out here in the summer months.  Early spring and late fall is the season here!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hope Peak

The Idaho Summits Fall Outing put us in the Pahsimeroi Mountains for a hike up a seldom climbed 11'er.

Date: September 22, 2018.

Partners: Margo, Steve, JJ, Dan, John, Zack and Brett.

Location: Pahsimeroi Mountains, Idaho.

Objective: Hope Peak 11,020.

Stats: 6 miles and 3,000ft gain in 5:23 round trip.  Class 2/3.  Stava track.

Links: Idaho: A Climbing Guide.

The Fall Outing had been announced on short notice, but sometimes that's all you need when your gear has been lumped in piles on your bedroom floor since May or June.  Or is it February?  Nevermind... I just need to find the... (insert random piece of gear) that I just laid out.  I swear I just put it right there!  Oh, there's the bag of spent Gu packets from last week!  I guess I should just decide on going or not, then I can worry about policing up the proper kit.  Uh, go!

Jamming out to the Lost River Range is no short task and usually starts and/or ends with all things Mackay.  I decided to head over by way of Stanley and Challis which was fairly zippy.  The zippyniss ended when I turned on Double Springs Road and headed into Christian Gulch.  The Forester made it, but I took it pretty slow since my goal was to arrive and depart without blowing a tire.  Getting smacked in the face with a view of Borah's North Face will also slow you down a tad.

Borah Peaks North Face.
After five and half hours of driving, including four stops, I had found Margo, Steve and JJ at the camp site.  The rest of the crew trickled in as the afternoon turned into night and we hung around the camp fire and got our laugh on until about 10:30.

We left camp in two vehicles a bit after 8am and were hiking just before 9.  The initial slopes were steep, but the footing was good and the trees provided ample shade.  We made steady progress and were able to follow the occasional elk trail from time to time.  Navigation was fairly straight forward and we were above treeline in about an hour and a half.  The wind that we were expecting made its appearance as we started up the final 1,500 feet of scree to the summit ridge.

Shortly after leaving the vehicles, hiking on remnants of an old two track.

Down in the trees.

Taking a short standing break.

Bell Mountain and Diamond Peak in the Lemhi Range.

Dan and Steve checking out the views of the nearby peaks.

Zack in front of unclimbed Peak 10.340.

Pushing above treeline.

Starting up the scree to the summit ridge.

Peak 10,340.

John and Dan on the upper slopes.  Hope Peak in the back ground.

Closing in on the summit ridge.


There were a few areas that we opted to make some easy class 3 moves to keep the guide book accurate.  In the end it wasn't much more than a steep scree slog to the slightly exposed summit ridge and highpoint.

Summit ridge.

Looking down the route and over Christian Gulch.

The high point is in the distance.

Gooseberry Peak.

The highpoint of Hope Peak.  11,020ft.

Looking back along the summit ridge.

Brett and Zack on the summit.

Quick selfie waiting for the rest of the gang.

Bell and Diamond again.

Summit hugs and high fives.

Now that we had everyone on top we could hug, high five, congratulate, rest and eat.  Oh yeah, we could take in the views too.  There was some discourse about traversing to Trinity Peak.  The day had been relatively easy up to this point and in the end we chose to keep it that way.

Trinity Peak.

After we had had enough of the biting wind we packed up and headed down the slopes to the east of the way we ascended.  It was sheltered from the wind and that meant glorious warmth.

Heading down.

The scree was still quite firm and in no shape for plunge stepping or boot skiing.  It was steep enough, just not loose.  Not a typical complaint if you know what I mean.

East face of Hope Peak.

Scree slope on descent.
After bypassing the ridge, we mostly reversed our track back to the vehicles.  It was a non-stop and uneventful descent; just they way I like 'em.  It seems like we were back in camp with potato chips and a cold beer before I knew it.  Not that that's a bad thing.  It was a great outing with a fine group.