Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Couple of White Cloud Peaks (WPC-1 and WCP-3)

WCP-3 above HooDoo Lake
On the Sunday after the Idaho Summits fall outing a couple of weeks ago, Dan Robbins and I, along with our wives, took a little hike to HooDoo Lake to stretch our legs.  Once at the lake, White Cloud Peak (WCP) #3 was staring us in the face just begging to be climbed.

With all the travelling for work and pleasure I had been doing lately, I somehow convinced my beautiful spouse that I needed to get up high and enjoy the excellent fall weather we had been having.  Dan and I had been texting about an ascent up WCP-3 as well as WCP-1 (Who named these things anyway?) for Sunday.  While we were planning, John Platt texted about trying to climb the same peaks.  How did that happen?  A plan was made for an early Sunday morning start, but unfortunately, Dan announced that he was out Saturday night.

John and I met up in Banks for the short 3 hour drive to Slate Creek.  On the drive up Slate Creek road we ran into a few of the usual “hunters” stopped in the middle of the road in their trucks.  Undeterred by the guys with the rifles, we were on our feet and moving a little after 9AM.

Since it was a bit chilly we set a brisk pace up an old mine road trying to keep warm.  This worked well in that we reached HooDoo Lake, 1700 feet higher, in about an hour.  By this time, the sun had risen high enough to allow us to proceed in our T-shirts.  Like two weeks prior, the view from HooDoo Lake did not disappoint.

My plan for the day had been to repeat a portion of Super Dave’s WCP – 1, 2 and 3 trip ( http://idahoalpinezone.com/index.php?p=2_18 ) and link up the three peaks.  In our earlier discussions, Dan pointed out that it would entail a long 9 hour day, but I wanted to give it a try anyway.  As we past HooDoo Lake, John and I decided we’d see how the day progressed before trying to deciding to do WCP-2.

Once passed the lake, we made a sharp right turn and headed straight up the steep slope toward WCP-1.  By this time the sun was in full force and it felt like it was 80 degrees.  It’s hard to complain when the weather is so gorgeous, but hell we were sweating profusely and it was October 19th!  
John heading towards WCP-1

Once we got close to the ridge a 1000 feet higher, we found a goat trail that angled us toward the summit through the rubble.  On top it was a bit windy, so we quickly took a couple of summit shots and then headed down the jagged ridge to the saddle between WCP-1 and WCP-3 for a multi-course lunch.

J. Platt photo
While eating lunch, the ridge to WCP-3 was staring us in the face and we also had a great view of the jagged ridge between WCP-3 and WCP-2.  Even though it was only noon, the shadows created by the angle of the fall sun made it seem like late afternoon.  These shadows made it difficult to see the exact route to the summit of WCP-3, but we didn’t remember reading about any difficulties.
We dropped our packs at the saddle before starting up the ridge to WCP-3, subconsciously making the decision to not proceed to WCP-2.  It wasn’t until we were halfway up WCP-3 before John pointed this fact out to me.  
John coming up the broad ridge of WCP-3
After 24 minutes (I think John timed us) we reached the summit of WCP-3 – it was now 1PM.  I was feeling pretty good at this point and was a little bummed that we couldn't proceed.  In his trip report, Super Dave said it took him 2 hours round trip to tag the summit of WCP-2. Even though I wanted to proceed, I really didn’t want to get home at 10PM.  It'll be there for next year.

Approaching the summit with Swimm lake and Watson Peak in the background
The ridge to WCP-2 from WCP-3

From the summit, we gawked at the Sawtooths and some of the other White Cloud peaks.  The ridge to WCP-2 looked like it would be an awesome traverse, but judging from the quality of the rock we had been all day, it would definitely take a bit of time.  It was a wise choice to save this for later.  

It took us about as long to get down to our packs as it did to get to the summit.  From here is was just a short jaunt back down to the lake and then a cruise out the old mine road back to the car.  We arrived a little after 3PM and quickly retrieved the couple of Ninkasi Total Domination IPAs that we had stashed in the creek.

Time - 6 hours car to car
Distance - 7.7 miles
Elevation - 4200 feet

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nevada Chukar Hunt Opening Day 2014

Last weekend was my annual pilgrimage to Northern Nevada for the opening of chukar season.  We fuzzily figured out that this was either the 17th or 18th year of the core group getting together for opening day.  The tradition of us old friends getting together for chukar hunting started over 20 years ago, but there was an interruption of the streak.

This year it was the core group (JD, John, Brian and me) as well as a newcomer, Craig.  Though Craig was new to our opening day hunt, he was with us back in Lincoln Hall at UNR.  It was great seeing he and JD get to catch up with one another after 30 years!

The Nevada Department of Wildlife had seen a 40% increase in birds during their annual survey flights which had us a bit excited.  However, this was a 40% increase from the dismal 2013 season – the 2014 numbers were still quite a bit below the 10 year average.  Still, it had to be better than last year, right?

I arrived at camp mid afternoon to find a trailer and a pickup in our camping spot, but no people.  After setting up camp and having a beer, JD and Brian drove up in JD’s new hunting rig – a Touareg.  There is a story here – you see, JD used to have a Touareg a few years back, and he took that brand spanking new rig out chukar hunting and it got just a bit dirty.  He ended up selling it after a couple of years and has since been hunting with an older Dodge Cummins.  While coming out to scout the area a few weeks earlier, the Dodge blew a front tire, flipped and that was the end of it.  Without a hunting rig, JD went back to his old favorite – the VW Touareg.  Though this one wasn't new like his other one, it is still nice driving to the hunting spot in both style and comfort.

Once John and Craig showed up a bit later, we concocted plans for dinner and cracked some beers.  After the meal, we sat around the fire discussing the next morning’s hunting plans without coming to a decision.  Since we are all getting along in age, there wasn’t much partying going on that night and we hit the sleeping bags relatively early.

The next morning was gorgeous as JD cooked the usual awesome breakfast for us.  Around breakfast we came up with the day’s plan - John and Craig would head over to a drainage where we had always gotten into birds in the past, while the rest of us would head father out to another known hot spot.

JD’s earlier scouting had turned up birds, but not many in the spots we were headed to.  We didn't feel like driving the 2 hours to the hot spots he’d found earlier and figured we just hit other known hot spots. 
JD and the Touareg
JD and Brian

It ended up being a good day, with a total of 19 birds between the five of us and with JD getting his limit of 6.  That night we cleaned and de-boned all the birds and I cooked up some Green Chile Chukar that was enjoyed by everyone.  After some brownies for dessert, a few more beers and a large bottle of Women in Boots wine, we were off to bed early again.
Saturday's haul
JD and Craig catching up
Sunday was another beautiful day and again the two different groups went their separate ways.  The Touareg group headed back to the same areas we hunted the day before, and again got into birds.  John and Craig also got into some birds.  The total for Sunday wasn't quite as good - only 8 birds.
JD cooking breakfast while John enjoys his coffee

Sunday’s dinner was beef themed – T-Bones and Ribeyes.  To round out the meal, we enjoyed potatoes, green beans and John Wood’s famous “Mix up every type of canned bean we have and add to it” beans and another bottle of Women in Boots wine.

It seems like the chukar are definitely on the upswing in our little portion of Northern Nevada and I can’t wait to see what next year brings.  We went from about 6 birds total in 2013 to 27 this year - much better than a 40% increase! 

It was again a blast seeing the old chukar hunting gang again!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two Point Mountain - 10124 Feet

I'm heading back to Asia on Monday for a short trip and wanted to get out to stretch my legs before the long plane flight.  I also hadn't seen Mr. Platt much this summer, so I sent him an email earlier in the week to see if he was available Saturday.  He had the day free, but had to be back in Boise by 6PM for his daughter's engagement party.  After a bit of back and forth we settled on Two Point Mountain, the highest peak in the Boise Mountains, since it was close and a short hike.

The a couple of hours of windshield time flew by as we caught up with one another, and we were on the trail a little after 9AM in sunny, though a bit hazy, skies.  We were following both Sawtooth Sean and Dan's route - the short and sweet South ridge.  The route started up a chewed up ATV trail to Tip Top Mine - tough going out of the gate.  Once we reached the 7400 foot contour, we left the trail and moved right to obtain the broad South ridge.

As we started up the steep slope, John asked me to slow down a bit until he had warmed up.  I think that this was a bit of a diversion, because as soon as I slowed down a bit, he seemed to move faster.  

A glimpse of  Two Point
As we moved up. the trees thinned, the temperatures rose and the sweat started flowing.  

And, our destination came into view.

We took a couple of short breaks, but kept up the steady pace.  We were thinking that if we moved quickly we just might have enough time to grab another connecting peak.

As we closed to within a few hundred vertical feet of the summit, the terrain became rocky.

Though it looked like we might get in some scrambling, it ended up being  a walk up to the summit.  The views could have been fantastic, but the distant peaks were obscured by smoke from an unknown source.  Oh well, it can't be fantastic all the time.

We had covered the 2 miles and 2900 feet to the summit in an hour and forty-five minutes.  Not a bad pace for a couple of old guys.  It was now 11AM and what to do?

We thought that we could traverse the ridge over the shorter North summit and then cruise the adjoining ridge to try and obtain Ross Mountain.  It was an ambitious goal as Ross was over two miles away.

We had some fun scrambling down off the summit on a knife edged ridge that had considerable exposure to our right.

We moved down, up, and around the rocky ridge but it was slow going.  Every time we came to a place where we could see the north summit, the more we realized that there wouldn't be enough time. After another 15 minutes or so of slow going, we decided to just head down since it was obvious we couldn't make Ross Peak. 
The ridge to the North summit
Ross Peak
Once down off the steep loose rock, we stopped for a leisurely lunch under a couple of old White Bark Pines before following the path of least resistance back to the truck.

A great, quick outing into the Southern Boise Mountains.

Time: 4 Hours car to car
Distance: Approximately 4 miles
Elevation: 2900 feet

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Perfect Peak - 10,269 Feet

Dan and I had been planning on climbing Montana’s highest peak (Granite) this past weekend, but the early snow from the previous weeks plus, the fact that Dan and I did some long drives over Labor Day weekend, scuttled those plans.  To make up for wimping out, Dan and I agreed to give Perfect Peak in the Sawtooth Mountains a try on Sunday.

We arrived at the Alpine Creek trailhead at 9AM and we on our feet in the chilly morning at 9:30.  We bounded up the trail for the first 3 miles before it split into a couple of use trails going up two different drainages.  We took the right path towards Lake 8523, and then made a hard right at the 7800 foot contour level and started up.

Even though we had yet to see our peak, but were impressed by the SE face of a peak directly in front of us.  This view allowed us to keep our mind off the task at hand – the straight up grind required to reach the 10,000 saddle. 

Once we reached the 8500 foot level the angle eased back for a short bit and gave us our first view of our objective.  And what a view it was!  We were both pretty excited.

After a short break, it was back to the upward grind on the steep slope.  Soon after we started up, we stumbled upon a set of elk tracks and essentially followed the tracks back and forth up to the saddle at 10,000 feet.  The views from the saddle were most excellent.

Alice Lake and El Capitan Peak
Once at the saddle, I pulled out my beta with Tom Lopez’s description on how to handle the final 200 feet of Perfect Peak.  We followed his directions and crossed through the notch on the left, dropped down 10-20 feet and then crossed the loose rocks by staying up against the wall on our right.  Staying higher, we traversed down a bit to obtain the steep chute leading to the summit ridge.
Dan traversing
The summit block (just left of center)

My first hand hold on the steep chute was a large rock that immediately gave way.  Fortunately it only fell a foot onto the larger rock below it.  Now knowing that the rocks were a bit loose, I carefully selected my route and quickly popped up to the summit ridge.  From here is was just a short 20 foot climb to the small rocky summit.  The climb was rated a Class 3/4, but it didn't seem like the route was too exposed for a Class 4 rating.

Heading up (D. Robbins photo)
Almost to the summit (D. Robbins photo)
Dan wasn’t too far behind me and the smile on his face as he reached the summit told the story.

Two more steps to the summit
The views from the summit didn’t disappoint and we could count at least 20 lakes in the area.  The weather was perfect, a slight breeze and sunny, and we enjoyed the summit for 15 minutes to fuel up for the return trip.
Snowyside Peak (right) and Lake 9167

The down climb wasn’t too bad to get back to the saddle, nor was the long stumble down to the main trail.  Once back to the trail, the walk out became a long, hot march.  We eventually did arrive at the car and the waiting cold beer!

Distance Car to Car: 9.4 miles
Elevation: 3200 feet

Total Time: 7.5 hours


About Me

My Photo
A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen