Date: January 5, 2018.
Objective: Invisible Moutain 11,330ft.
Partners: Took the dog, it was a bit much for him (sad face).
Stats: 6.5 miles and 4,500ft gain in 6:15 round trip. Strava track (note: the track accidentally ended before the hike was done).
Gear notes: Carried ice ax and crampons - probably wouldn't have needed them.
Links: Summit stoke via Splattski. Summitpost info.
With a solid weather window, low snow conditions and a long list of ideas, I wasn't sure what to try. Something chill and close to home? Maybe something a little more adventurous? The bottom line is that I could have chosen several other options that were more viable, but I settled on the bigger questions mark. Why? Just because I could.
Leaving Boise at 4:30am is never fun, especially when faced with a 4 hour drive. After that, my body and mind were 'less than ready to hike'. But its not like you're going to back out at that point. The show must go on. My point? This was my first Lost River one day round trip and likely my last.
The road approach was not difficult. It would have been much better if I could have driven to the end, but that's reserved for HCV 4WD. That will get you about a mile further and save you about 500 feet of gain.
|Arial view of Invisible Mountain. Photo: Mike H - Facebook.|
|Invisible Mountain from Hwy 93.|
|White Knob Mountains.|
|Mount McCaleb in the distance.|
Up higher the trees thin out a bit but the angle remains steep and the rocks are a bit more solid. I hit shallow snow patches around 8,800 feet, which turned to almost knee deep drifts at about 9,500. There was enough dry ground that I was able to weave my way around the drifts for the most part. What significant snow that was present was sugary and loose. Maybe not a good sign if traveling across any covered slopes up high.
|Low on the mountain. This might give some idea of the steepness.|
|At the snow line.|
By this time, the summit was still about a 2 mile round trip with about 800 feet of vertical, plus the short class 3 section was just ahead and I had no idea what that would be like with the snow drifts on it. Not to mention that the dog was obviously pretty worked at this point. If he was in better shape and I had two more hours of daylight, I would have went for it.
|High point of the day at 10,500ft.|
|The true summit waits for another day.|
|Dog icing his paws.|
|Looking north toward the Mackay reservoir.|
We got down and out of the wind for a nice long break. I poked around a bit, seeing what else the mountain had to offer. The area close to the ridge line proper was quite rocky with a few tall cliffs. That area is best avoided. I stuck to the trees below the ridge and tried to stay off the rocks as best as I could, which didn't make a difference.
|Dog getting his nap on.|
|Smiley Mountain is visible.|
I was slightly bummed that I didn't get to the summit, but that is not a measure of success in my book. You have to climb the mountain on its terms. They are much more bigger and much more powerful than you are, and they do not care if you live or die. I feel that a non-summit with good style is better than any summit with poor style.
Don't get me wrong though, I had a fantastic day and still had plenty to smile about.
I believe it was Bob Marley who said "It's all good 'mon."