Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hell Roaring Lake

Out and back hike to Hell Roaring Lake.

Date: May 11-2. 2013.

Partners: Deez and our crazy dog.

Stats: 10 mile round trip, approx 300ft gain.

Gear notes: Standard overnight kit.

Leaving the trailhead.
I had just gotten Deez a new head lamp for Mother's Day, so we needed to do a trip to break it in. With it being only May, but a low snow year, we tried for Hell Roaring Lake. We had warm temps and no one else on the trail when we left the car.

On the trail.
Dog on the trail.
This was the first backpacking trip we had taken our dog on, but he took to it like a duck to water, or a dog to backpacking. He carried his own pack with food, treats, a blanket and sleeping pad. He had no intentions of sticking to the trail, so we had to take the foam pad off and carry it to prevent a premature thrashing.

The upper trailhead.
We were past the upper trailhead and at the lake before too long. We joked about it being the "Hell Boring Trail" because there isn't a whole lot to see until the lake.

Crossing the bridge.
We scouted around for the most optimal camp site, which ended up being on the other side of the bridge in the above picture.

Hell Roaring Lake.
The Thumb, er, I mean finger of Fate.
With one of the most classic views here, its hard to say that the hike isn't worth it.

Ketchum takes a nap.
Our crazy dog finally chilled out after the 5 mile hike in. We got camp set up and got to work on dinner.

Lake side dinner.
We found just enough dry ground to set up the tent.

We did Gnocchi with cheese sauce and bacon bits. It turned out delicious but ended up being a little heavy and filling and way more than enough for two.

Enjoying the views with some wine.
The night never did get too cold and we enjoyed the stars for a while before turning in. By the time we were up the next morning, Ketchum was already off and exploring the lake. I guess he was as excited as we were to wake up in such a beautiful place.

Ketchum explores the lake.
Ketchum explores the lake.
Hell Roaring Lake.
There was still enough snow that we did't think we'd be able to circle the lake without getting soggy. After a relaxed start to the day, we decided it was time to undergo the 5 mile hike back to the car.

Leaving the lake.

The upper trail wasn't in the best shape and a little hard to follow in some places.

Dog hiking out.
Hell Roaring Creek.
The trail is a little less boring on the way back. At least you get a bit more of a view.


Hell Roaring Creek.

Vienna Peak and Abe's Armchair.
It was another nice and easy, early season backpacking trip. It was only Denise's second, but she was already displaying expert-level skills. Dog did just fine, not that we were worried. I already had the next diabolical plan set up.

Okay, so I guess we're all ready for the next thing!

It still looks like a Thumb.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lost River Peak

Lost River Peak is 10/10 awesome.

Date: May 5, 2013.

Partners: Deb and Cody.

Gear notes: Crampons, ice ax and helmets.

Links: Summit Post pageIdaho: A Climbing Guide.


The Super Gully Route on Lost River Peak is a classic snow climb up Idaho's 6th highest mountain which stands at 12,078 feet high. Being a 12er, it sees a fair amount of traffic. This climb is also a popular ski descent.

Bottom of the Super Gully.

We started just after 0400hrs and made quick progress up the peak. The lower canyon can pose some route finding challenges, but the way was still fresh in my mind from a failed attempt just one month prior.

Looking up the Super Gully.
Quick picture before the angle kicks back.
The entrance to the Super Gully is notable landmark called the Stadium of the Gods.

Cody and Deb entering the Stadium of the Gods.
Yes, yes and yes, this peak is incredible.

Looking down at the Stadium of the Gods.

The route went without much trouble and we cruised up to the false summit, which is just over 12,000ft.

Gaining the West Shoulder.

We climbed onto the west shoulder and headed towards the summit ridge.

Climbing the West Shoulder.

The summit of Donaldson Peak came in to view.

Donaldson Peak.

We broke trail all the way up and had a couple other groups just behind us. We reached the false summit at 1000ish.

Enroute to the false summit.

No time to waste, we pushed up to the summit.

Looking down the route.

The views in the Lost River Range are always first rate, high quality. Those are Alluvial fans on the valley floor.

Lost River Valley,
We started out on the knife edge summit ridge with about a foot of fresh wind transported snow that hid a few surprises along the way. Sticking to the crest is fairly intuitive, but the route does move around a bit.

Watch yer step!

Knife edge summit ridge.
Cody leading the summit ridge.

I reached the summit of my fourth 12er at about 1100hrs. This was Debs second to last 12er (if I remember correctly) and Cody's first. We had our moment of glory then started the infinite process of taking in the views. Despite the clouds closing in and swallowing up the surrounding peak, I think they speak for themselves.


Looking southeast.
Looking toward Mackay,
Looking south. Mackay Peak is on the right.

The predicted clouds and possible accompanying thunder storms were beginning to move in, so it was time to make like bananas and split.

LRP's north summit sits slightly lower.

The traverse back across the narrow summit ridge involved a short step of slightly exposed class 3 scrambling over snow covered rock.

Reversing the ridge.

A fall here might not kill you, but it would definitely ruin your day. Remember, this section has to be climbed twice in order to summit Lost River Peak via the Super Gully.

Deb climbing a short but exposed class 3 section.

Me at the base of the exposed 3rd class section.
We made it back to the false summit just as the clouds closed in on the true summit, just as another group was topping out. We checked in with our significant others and prepared to descend.

Looking across the summit ridge.

Cody strapped on his skis and Deb and I started plunge stepping down the steep slope. We got to a spot where we could get our crampons off and begin glissading.

Deb plunge stepping down from the false summit.

This was Debs first experience with glissading; now she is an expert. Glisades are fun, but I was in no rush to leave the views.

Deb glissading.
Looking down the Super Gully.

The Super Gully on Lost River Peak.

Cody was pretty stoked on his ski descent. We regrouped and made good time back to Cody's truck, and if anything, the climb went by too fast. This was our first climb together and it turned out to be one of the best days I've had.