Friday, March 18, 2022

Danskin Mountains

Date:  Friday, March 18, 2022.

Objective:  Explore the Danskin's.  Tagged Hutton and Fiddler BM.

Stats: 17.5 miles and 5500ft of elevation gain in 7:30 round trip.  Lots of rugged trail and off trail travel, plus the creek rally and bushwhack at the end.  Strava.

Due to the very dry winter here, I figured I would head out and see what the Danskins were like.  I've been in the area a few times and love how remote they feel even though they are very close to Boise.  I wanted to try the connecting ridge from Hutton Peak to Little Fiddler, and had loose plans of trying a bigger loop if conditions and time allowed. 

The trails are ATV/ OHV/ dirt bike trails and are very rutted, but at least they are well defined.  The snow got to be a hindrance the closer I got to Little Fiddler.  Pedestrian travel is rough out here, but I never saw another person and the weather was dang near perfect.  From where I decided to turn around, about 2-3 miles round trip short of Little Fiddler, I knew there would be a bunch of vert to regain, and at least 8-9 miles back to the car from here if I turned around now.  There was another trail that I was considering that stayed above Willow Creek that would get me back to the trailhead.  Instead of going back up and over Fiddler BM, I cut down toward it and started following my escape route.  After about 5 miles of following this route, I decided that maybe I should just go ahead and take a dip in Willow Creek.  The temps were warm, the day was getting late, and this option would surely save several miles and at least it would be flat.

It wasn't the worst life decision I've ever made, but it wasn't without its challenges.  The creek was waist deep in places and crossing it was unavoidable.  There were a few areas where the best option was to basically class 3 bushwhack- combo- log cross with my fingers crossed.  I probably ended up crossing the creek 8-10 times.  The last two of which were actually not needed, but I was on a roll and the cold water was quite invigorating.  It was a long and tough day but the adventure and route finding were top notch.  


Trail just above Willow Creek and heading towards Hutton Peak,

Looking towards the trailhead.

Early morning rays.

Looking east.

Looking south over north facing slopes.

Hutton Peak.

Summit of Hutton.

Flat BM and Bender Peak.

North side of the ridge that I followed.

Looking north.

Hutton Peak from Fiddler BM.

Fiddler BM.

Little Fiddler is a long ways away.

Heading towards Little Fiddler.

False summits on the way to Little Fiddler.


Zoomed in on the summit of Little Fiddler.

Green grassy fields above Willow Creek.

ATV track leading into the creek bottom.

Wild turkeys.

The last stretch of dry trail before the creek rally began.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Freeman Peak

Date: February 11, 2022.

Objective: Freeman Peak 8,111ft.

Stats: 10 miles and 2,600ft of gain in 4:33 round trip.  Strava.

I had been "needing" to check this peak off for a while.  It is one of what I would call the three major summits of the Mores Creek Summit area.  This winter has been super dry and there has been a wide spread sun/ wind crust, but avalanche danger has been low.  I figured it would make a good solo tour and I could ski some laps if I found good snow.

I left MCS at 0900 and it felt fairly warm.  The FS road had been groomed but it was super icy.  It was just a straight forward skin up an icy road with the occasional snow mobile for about 3.8 miles to the Four Corners Junction.  From there, it's just a few ups and downs and I just left my skins on.  

Icy road heading up.

View looking south.


Looking towards Freeman behind the trees.

I climbed up the spur road on the east side of the peak that heads toward the mine on the map, keeping just slightly north of the saddle of that hill and Freeman.  The north facing shaded/ sheltered slopes heading up Freeman had some sugary powder and lots of snow mobile tracks; nothing that looked too inciting to lap.  

Looking back towards Pilot Peak.

The highpoint is on the south end of the summit ridge.  Not a whole lot in the way of views due to the trees.  It was a beautiful day and I thought a lot about John Platt.  After a few minutes of meditation on the summit, it was time for a break.  This was a fairly light volume day for me thus far and I hadn't eaten much.  I wasn't super hungry either.  I decided one Gu and a few sips of water would get me by for a while.

On the highpoint.

Looking towards Shafer Butte and Mores Mountain.

Selfie before decent.

The clearing just below and to the north of the summit had a nice open slope facing east and I was hoping that by now, the snow would have turned to some really nice, or at least mediocre corn and I could get my lap on.  It was actually still really icy with snow mobile tracks.  I figured that by now I didn't need or want to wait for it to maybe soften up, so I called it a day.  It was a fast, chattery and still friggin' icy ski back to the car.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Kings Peak

Date: August 24, 2021.

Objective: Kings Peak 13,528ft.

Stats: 26 miles and 4,800ft gain round trip in 11:47.  Strava.

I had a trip to the Teton's scheduled for this week that ended up getting canceled.  So now I was without a partner and without an objective.  King's Peak had been on my list for a bit so I figured now was the time.  Even though I'd read that it is ridiculously crowded, I chose to take the north side approach since I would be there early in the week.  I actually had zero trouble finding a camp site.  One really nice thing was that the official camp ground is right at the trailhead, so I was able to walk right out of camp and jump on the trail.  While the elevation gain is fairly gradual, the trail was fairly rough and not super runnable for me.  I'd also read that there are sections that could be quite muddy, but I think I dodged that bullet due to the low snow year.  There were some marshy/ muddy sections, but nothing as near as bad as I'd read in other reports.  Also, no mosquitoes.  Three thumbs up there!

There was a full moon and a sky full of stars as I set out at 0600.  The trail to Gunsight Pass was pretty easy to follow and I ran what I could.  At Gunsight Pass, I decided to try and take the "shortcut" to Anderson Pass, instead of dropping down into Painter Basin.  There was a decent climbers trail and cairns to follow up a cliff band and across the talus to regain the trail to Anderson Pass.  

There was a bit of snow up high that had lingered from a recent storm, but not so much that it required anything special other than a little grit.  From Anderson Pass to the summit the rock was pretty solid.  I could see a few placed where someone had stepped in the snow and punched though in between rocks, so pretty much tried to avoid the snow as best as I could.  This required a bit more scrambling than is probably normal, but it was fun and not too exposed. There was one steep section below the summit block that had become icy from all the recent traffic.  I was pretty much able to climb over/ past it on exposed rock.  It looked worse than it was.  

The summit was pretty broad with an amazing view.  I topped out at 1215 and only hung out for about 15 minutes due to the chilly wind.  There were more people headed up now than I had seen up to this point.  I took a couple breaks in the relative warmth down lower on the way back to Gunsight Pass.  With a straight forward route down, there was nothing to do but grin and bear it and daydream of coming back.


Early morning on the trail.


Near Elkhorn Crossing.

Elkhorn Crossing.

Gunsight Pass.

Looking west from Gunsight pass.

Painter Basin.

Looking across the plateau and the shortcut. 

Kings Peak from the east.

King's Peak north ridge from Anderson Pass.

Henry's Fork Peak.

Garfield Basin to the west.

False summit.

Gunsight Peak to the east.

Nearing the summit.

Summit block.

Summit pic.

Painter Basin.

North-south trending ridgeline containing several 13ers.

Looking north from Gunsight Pass.

Looking back up/ south to Gunsight Pass.

Henry's Fork Peak from the north.

Kings Peak in the middle.