Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Peak 10158

Dylan and I were invited to climb an obscure peak in the Smoky Mountains, West of Ketchum on Sunday, by my buddy, Dan.    Since this would be a possible first ascent, and I just love obscure peaks, we were in.  I talked Tamara into going by explaining that it was only going to be 9 miles and 2/3 of that would be on a nice trail. 

As Tamara and I were getting ready early Sunday morning, Dylan poked his head out of his room to tell her that he didn’t feel up for it.  Bummed, we loaded up Shadow, the mountain dog, and headed out.

Everyone (Dan, Tom Lopez, Steve Weston, and Tom Cox) met up a couple of hours later at the Prairie Creek trail head.  It was a gorgeous morning, low 60’s, sunny and no wind, as we all headed up the well marked Prairie Creek trail at 9:45AM.

The initial couple of miles were pretty easy, only gaining several hundred feet, and everyone was chatting as we walked along.  Eventually, it was time to take a hard right, leave the trail, and start bushwhacking our way up.  Unfortunately, there was a large plateau above us that obscured the view of our target.  We were all pretty sure we were in the right place, but the three of us with maps couldn’t agree on our exact spot.  Regardless, we knew we needed to move higher, so up we went.  After the enjoyable walk up the trail, this section was a bit of a grunt.  It was warming up and the sweat was starting too.  In a little less than an hour, we finally reached an upper basin at roughly 9000 feet, and the ridge that lead to our peak came into view.
Starting the bushwhack
Mr. "In the Wild Chef" Steve Weston
At this point, Steve parted ways with us to go explore a different basin, while Dan and the Toms charged up a steep loose rib of rock that led to the summit ridge.  Tamara looked at me with the old, “You’re taking me up that crap!” look as we gazed at the maze of loose rock.  But, like a trooper, she kept pace with me as we tried to catch up with Dan and the two Toms.

Since we had Shadow with us, we skirted some of the fun looking class 3 climbing in favor of something better for her.  The route was a mix of loose sand and broken rock with the occasional solid rock.  We kept the others within sight but never did catch up with them until we reached the main ridge crest. 
The ridge to ridge to the summit

Once on the ridge crest, the route became solid and we cruised the ¼ mile to what we thought was the highest point.  There wasn’t any previous signs of humans, but there was plenty of goat $hit.  We may have been the first humans (though it’s doubtful) on the summit, but the goats had been all over it.
On top!
We spent some time enjoying the views and the cool breeze on top while we all had a bite to eat.  Surprisingly, Shadow didn’t bother Dan for any of his jerky like she has in the past.  She must have been too busy enjoying her own PB&J sandwich while whacking Tom Lopez with her tail!

We didn’t want to retrace our steps back, so we continued along the ridge until we reached the first saddle.  Here we contemplated continuing on vs. dropping down, and finally decided to just head down.  Tom Lopez took the lead traversing down the steep loose slope and eventually came to a gully that allowed us to bypass some small drop offs.  The rock was loose in the gully, so we took our time and dropped down through the tight slot individually.  I was worried about Shadow here, but she mastered it without any problems.
Heading down
Dan downclimbing the gully
Once out of the gully, there was an area that allowed a couple hundred feet of some sketchy boot skiing, so Shadow and I took advantage of it to drop down onto the basin holding a small patch of snow.  Once everyone regrouped at this point, it was just a matter of continuing down through varied terrain back to the main trail.
There are three people up there somewhere

“Just a matter of continuing down through the varied terrain” – well the terrain definitely did vary- from a flat dried pond area to very steep, dry creek beds.  This portion of the hike was pretty painful as Tamara and I were tired and starting to get sore.  We eventually did finally make it back to the main trail and picked up our pace as the others were a bit out in front.

A look back up the basin
Still dropping with Peak 10158 in the background
When we got back to the car everyone was in the shade waiting for us.  As Steve and Tom took off for Boise, the rest of us had a celebratory beer before eventually heading over to Wise Guy Pizza in Hailey.

Turns out the trip was a bit over 10 miles (10.4) and we gained more than 3300 feet.  A long day in the mountains with some great company.
The following day there was some discussion on what the peak should be named.  After some back and forth Tom Lopez put his foot down and called it, Shadow Peak.  I can only assume he liked her tail whacking him in the face on the summit…  Thanks, Tom!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bozeman Adventures

Last weekend saw Tamara and me make another trip to visit Taylor in Bozeman.  Now that she's out of school, she decided to stick around Bozeman for a while.  I can't say that I'm disappointed as I really love that town.

After spending Thursday evening with my old college buddy, Phil, in Idaho Falls eating good grub, drinking beer, and reminiscing, we arrived in Bozeman around lunch on Friday.  Taylor suggested we meet her at I-Ho's, a little Korean place close to campus, for a bite to eat.  The plan was to float the Madison River that afternoon, but the building clouds during our excellent lunch caused us to change our minds.

Rather than risk floating the river in a thundershower, we opted to go for a little hike and postpone the float until Saturday.

Fifteen minutes later, we were at the trailhead for Drinking Horse Mountain.  I figured if were going to do a little hiking we might as well get a peak in - right? The weather had cooled and the clouds were building as we headed up the trail, and it wasn't long before we reach the top of the 5582 foot mountain.  The views from the top were outstanding!

Luckily, the rain held off until we were 50 yards from the car, and then the sky opened up!

After a quick shower we were off again.  First stop, a walk around downtown for the "Art Walk", where the shops serve wine and allow you to peruse their goods.  Dinner was at a great little pizza place called, Pizza Campania, and then it was over to Santa Fe Reds for a couple of margaritas.  For some reason Taylor had the bright idea that she and I should do a tequila shot, so after some thoughtful consideration I threw caution in the wind.  It never happened.

Figuring that Taylor needed to sleep off the margaritas, Tamara and I got up a little early for a mountain bike ride.  Since we didn't have any particular route planned, we spent some time on the web reading trail descriptions and finally opted for the Bozeman (Sourdough) Creek  trail.

The route started off on an old logging road following Bozeman's main drinking water source.  This is a pretty popular trail and we passed quite a few people heading back down.

At the five mile mark, we took a hard left off the logging road and onto a single track. Initially, this single track wound its way through thick brush and the morning dew chilled our legs. But, eventually the trail became steeper, and our legs started heating up as the trail turned more technical.

We eventually topped out at Mystic Lake - 8 miles from where we started.

After a few quick photos from the lake edge, we precariously crossed the creek using the log "bridge".  Luckily neither of us fell in.

After wandering around for a few minutes we eventually found the logging road again and screamed downhill back to the car.

Once back in Bozeman, we hooked up with Taylor again and then headed 30 miles West, to float the Madison River.  The weather that afternoon was markedly different than the previous day - minimal clouds and warmer.  It being Saturday afternoon, the launch point was pretty packed, but we did find a parking space. Unfortunately we didn't have anything to carry the camera while floating, so the only picture I have of the sweet ladies is below while they're getting ready.

The float was great!  Very relaxing as we chatted and slowly floated downstream.  Unfortunately, we had chosen the closer take out point and were finished floating in an hour.

That evening we enjoyed a great dinner at the Montana Ale Works.  We love getting over to Bozeman and seeing Taylor!


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