Monday, May 29, 2017

Peak 6,218

As a hopelessly addicted peak bagger, I've had my eye set on 6,218 for some time. I decided that I might as well go tick it off as part of a long run. If it were up to me, I'd name it Hard Guy Peak.

Date: May 27, 2017.

Objective: Peak 6,218.

Stats: 16.8 miles and 3,500ft of gain via the Shingle Creek/ Dry Creek loop. Strava track.

Partners: N/A.

Gear notes: Long trail run kit. liking the Gu hydration tablets.

Peak 6,218 from the Shingle Creek trail.

Peak 6,218 is a horrible bushwhack. I knew that before I headed out to bag it. If you decide to stand on the top of it, you probably need some professional mental help. Even if you shorten the approach by driving up the Boise Ridge Road, there is no way around the bushwhack.

Shingle Creek.

Shingle Creek.

Running upper Shingle Creek.

The Shingle Creek/ Dry Loop is a fantastic run and I highly recommend it.


South ridge.

Once on the Ridge Road, I headed for the south ridge. The lower part, just above the road is not bad at all. However, the higher you go, the worse it gets.

On the ridge.

Trinity Mountains.
I thrashed around in the brush on what I was going to call the highpoint until I stumbled into a clearing with a Cairn. Ta-da!


The view is pretty fantastic when compared to near by Boise Peak, which has no view from the summit.

On the summit.

Valley views.

I went down the northwest side of the peak, which was actually worse than the way I came up. I got into some thick brushy-tree like things that cut my arms and legs up pretty good. In my attempt to get back on the road as quick as I could, I ended up past the junction with the loop I was running and had to backtrack a tad.

Insult to Injury, I suppose...

Dry Creek.

I had a few stops to splash in the water on my way down Dry Creek. At least this peak is finally done and I can trick myself into another one.

Happy trails!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Scott Butte

We took a quick stroll to the top of Scott Butte the day after we climbed Rainbow Mountain.

Date: May 21, 2017.

Objective: Scott Butte, 6,161ft.

Stats: .7 miles, 325ft gain in 20 minutes round trip. Class 1. Strava track.

Partners: Deez, Lego Master, Josh and Jenn.

Gear notes: N/A.

Diamond Peak.

The morning after our climb of Rainbow Mountain, I was feeling pretty good and wanted to do another peak. Since we still faced a four and a half hour drive home, I didn't want to get up hella early, or get rolling out too late. Scott Butte was right off the highway and looked to be an easy hike to stretch the legs.

Copper Mountain.

Josh and Jenn said they were in for the quick hike so we drove Peterson Creek Road to the east side of the butte.

Scott Butte.

The only way to go was up, so that's what we did.

Hop a rock here, dodge some sagebrush there... Hey look, cacti! 

Cactus almost in bloom.

Lemhi's from the top.

Saddle Mountain.

We traversed the flat area that is the top, took some pictures then headed down.

Lego Master on top.
Next stop, Pickles Place!

Rainbow Mountain

For the Spring Outing, Dan picked Rainbow Mountain in the Lemhi Range way back in February. He may not have had a crystal ball to predict the weather so far in advance, but his clairvoyant powers selected a fine peak with amazing views.

Date: May 20, 2017

Objective: Rainbow Mountain, 10,162ft.

Partners: Many of the usual suspects and many names I did not get. Ruby, the up and coming Mountain Dog won everyone's hearts and stole the show.

Stats: 4.6 miles, 2,700ft gain in 5 hours round trip. Class 2. Strava track.

Gear notes: Snow shoes.

Links: Idaho: A Climbing GuideDan's ReportSplattski's Report.

Birch Creek Campground. 

Twice a year, Dan extends an open invite to the people informally known as the Idaho Summits group to climb a peak of his choosing. This biannual event has grown in popularity and this time around, we were a group of well over 20 people and 3 dogs by the time we left the trail head. Most camped the night before, but a few people drove up in the morning.

Diamond Peak after sunset.

The camp site grew larger by the hour as more people showed up. The sun went down; we had a few beers, a few laughs and then a few hours of sleep before our planned 8:00am departure from our mini-city. The last song we heard on the drive to the trail head was not planned, nor was it a coincidence, because I don't believe in those. It was good old mountain magic. Synchronicity, if you will.

"If you want to see a rainbow, you got to sit though a little rain." - Sugar Ray.

Deez and I heading out.

Heading for the ridge.

We caravan'ed to the Coal Kilns and were headed for the base of the Northeast ridge at 9:00am. Deez and the youngster were along for the fun. Their plan was to hike a ways up the route with me. The youngster bolted to the front of the group, which meant that I eventually had to catch up with him and then hang back until we could regroup with Deez. They made it a bit farther up the route until they had to head back.

I had a short time alone in the trees until I gained the ridge and caught up with the rest of the group. We headed up the mountain after a quick break, then soon found ourselves strapping on snowshoes.

Along the ridge.

As the slope angle kicked back, the group started to spread out. Coming up through the trees was mostly steep, but not hard. We had one interesting section of rock to go around, or up and over, depending on personal preference. I decided to skirt the outcrop on climbers right, then regained the ridge with a quick uphill traverse to the left.

Upper ridge.

Looking toward Prescott Peak.

Once out of the trees, the views opened up nicely. We had cloudy skies but no precipitation. I don't know who found the switch for the wind machine, but they kicked it on. I had one quick stop to add a layer and continued my push for the top.

Prescott Peak and Mount Inspiration.

Summit selfie.

Splattski keeping Ruby warm. Brett stands behind him.

I arrived on top to find some familiar faces layered up against the cold. John had Ruby layered up as well. Several more people topped out just after me. We crowded the small perch in the sky with our large group. I chatted it up with a few friends I recognized, and a few that I didn't. Many people started to head down, which allowed a bit more of an unobstructed view.

Summit views

Beaverhead Range.

Looking south into the Lemhi's

Splattski, Brett and Rob on the summit,

Dan and Carrie enjoying lunch with a view.

Bell Mountain.

The Lost River Range in the distance to the west.

Diamond Peak and Bell Mountain.

I began my descent with one thing still on my mind. How long until the rain starts...?
A short time after, and still well above the treeline, someone found the off switch for the wind machine. The temperature quickly rose. Soon my snowshoes were sliding on the wet layer of recent snow that had not bonded well to the old crust. 

Rob and I were in agreeance that the solution was simple; just don't fall. My decision to remove my snowshoes was not as simple. I took a few thigh deep post holes in the slop, but the boot skiing on the firm snow was worth it. Soon we were off the snow and navigating our way through the trees. Rob and I joined up with a few others looking for the best route down to the road. We eventually found ourselves back on the road and in the warmth of the sun after encountering no more than a brief and minor snow flurry.

Open slopes, just above the Coal Kilns.

I booked it down to the parking area where I found Deez and Landen relaxing after an exploratory hike of the area. We all regrouped in the parking area and people began to head off. A small group of us hung back to wait for Mark and Tory. After a short time, they made it down and we headed back to camp.

Photos From The Drive Out

Rainbow Mountain.

Diamond Peak from the north.

Bell Mountain.

Once back in camp, we got to cracking beers and snacking while watching the weather move around us. We had to ride out a rain shower but what we saw after put a smile on our faces.

Rainbow in camp.

We laughed about the chorus of the Sugar Ray song we heard while driving to the trail head. Once the shower past, we reconvened around the camp fire. The John's were plotting to hike Bald Mountain the next day and I believe Brett was headed for Copper Mountain; all just a short distance from camp. It was a wonderful first peak in the Lemhi Range. We enjoyed a hardy dinner and some wine with Diamond Peak looming in the background before calling it a night.

We planned to hike Scott Butte the next day, before the drive home.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Getting Started At Grandjean

"Come hell or 'high water', we're doing Grandjean this year." - Deez.

Date: May 6-7, 2017.

Partners: Deez.

Objective: Get out there and take whatever the Mountain Gods give us.

Stats: 3.4 miles round trip. Strava - Day 1Day 2.

Gear notes: Rain gear.

Obligatory trailhead photo. 

A long and snowy winter had been followed up by a busy spring with unsettled weather. Other than trail running, its been hard to find the time to get into the mountains. Looking at the weather forecast for the slim window of time we had for this trip was less than encouraging. It read something like You're going to get rained on, - Thunderstorms likely, or something like that.

This early season trip is always a roll of the dice, so we decided to just go and figure it out along the way. It's not like we've never been rained on before. As usual, we left town around late afternoon for the two hour drive up. We drove through a big pocket of showers on the way to the trailhead, arriving about 5:30 to the nearby sound of thunder.

Heading south on the trail

While the weather looked bleak, the road in and the trail were in good shape. We hit the trail with our rain gear on, which is probably why it stopped raining and the sun came out, making it just a bit on the uncomfortably warm side while we walked.

The little unnamed creek that you'd normally walk though and hardly get your boots wet was running quite high. We actually had to find another crossing upstream.

Creek crossing. Photo: Deez.

This is usually no more than an easy hop over the creek. Photo: Deez.

Ah-ha! High runoff... Just as I suspected...

We figured we wouldn't get very far down the trail due to the late start and threat of rain showers, so we stopped at the same spot as last year. The tent went up quickly, but before that, the liquid libations went in the creek.

Keeping the beer cold. Photo: Deez.

It was the fairly standard hang out session with good sandwiches, cold drinks and not a drop of rain. The party continued well into the evening and the light from the 85% full moon provided an almost unreal tint to the landscape. The clouds even broke up enough to see a star or two while we swilled away and schemed future endeavors.

Drinks by the fire.

Fireside fun.


As the night wore on, we heard some more thunder in the distance; then a light but steady rain started to fall as we settled into the tent. It was never very heavy, but it seemed to last forever.

The next morning brought us low clouds and mild temps. It was noticeably humid but not raining. The calm of the morning was enjoyed while sipping coffee and taking in the creekside view.

Low clouds over Baron Creek.

After breaking camp, we examined the normal crossing of Baron Creek, which as you might guess, was also running quite high. It looked to be a long, cold and tricky Ford to say the least.

Baron creek. Photo: Deez.

Baron Creek. Photo: Deez.

The creeks are running high and the snow is still deep in the upper elevations, but at least we could see it for ourselves. We knew this was going to be a short trip, but in the end it was just a bit too short. It was a quick fix, but not enough to stave off the appetite for adventure for too long.

Happy trails!