Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, February 13, 2017

Winter Ascent of Copper Mountain - 10,303'

This last week has seen temperatures rise dramatically in southern Idaho, putting a damper on the excellent powder skiing we've had since late December.  Along with the high temperatures came rain to the lower elevations, further screwing up the skiing conditions.  Time for a climb!  A weather window was looking promising for Sunday, so John, Michael and I heading over to eastern Idaho to test our hiking legs by climbing an early season 10,000 foot peak.  Other than being above 10K feet, the reason that Copper Mountain was chosen was its close proximity (2 miles) to the highway.

As we made the 3 hour trip to Arco, Saturday afternoon, we were amazed at the amount of snow in the Camas Prairie and at Craters of the Moon NM. As we settled in for the night in our luxurious 3 bed motel room, we hoped that the snow wouldn't be too deep.

Luckily for us, the turn off to Long Canyon was snow free, allowing us to drive the two miles to the base of the route.  Surprisingly, the southern end of the Beaverheads had very little snow and the route to Copper did not look too difficult.  Not quite knowing what to expect, we loaded our packs with ice axes, crampons and snowshoes and were on our feet at roughly 7:30AM.
Copper Mountain is the peak to the left
The route follows mining roads for the first couple of miles before turning towards point 8555.  We put on our snowshoes early in the hike to stop the occasional post hole and made great time until a few hundred feet below point 8555.
John heading up the ridge

The southern Lemhi range 

John and Michael on one of the many mining roads

Heading up towards Point 8555

Self portrait with Diamond peak in the background
As we progressed upward, we encountered the dreaded Mountain Mahogany, which usually equates to agony of some sort.  In addition to the usual bushwhack through the mahogany, the snow changed from semi-solid to sun crusted with sugar underneath.  The agony began...
A large hole that John emerged from

Bushwhacking


Michael churning up with point 8555 behind him
Our progress slowed to a crawl.  The process was: lift one foot up, stand on the snow, have the snow collapse to shin depth, try not to slide backwards, lift the other foot up, try to stand on snow, have the snow collapse. Repeat.

Did I mention it was beautiful out?  Sunny skies and no wind, almost T-shirt weather.
One last bit of snow before the talus
As we bushwhacked through the mahogany, we moved back and forth on either side of the ridge in search of some consolidated snow.  For whatever reason, it was just not there.  So, with heads down, we plowed upward for the next 1200 feet at roughly 600 feet/hour.

At 9700 feet we finally reached the rock band below the false summit.  The talus, though loose, offered much better footing than the snow as we trudged toward the false summit at 10,000 feet.  By this time it was 12:30 and we had been at it for five hours.  With very tired legs, we plodded the final 3/4 mile to the summit.
Michael has never been so happy to be on loose rock


Michael and John with the summit of Copper Mountain behind them 

Almost there

All smiles for the summit shot
The weather was still spectacular at the summit as we chatted and fueled up for the hike back.  We had thoughts of making a small loop of the hike, but decided to play it safe and retrace our steps.

So after a short 20 minutes, we started back down.

The car (circled in red) is a long way down there
I'd like to say that the trip down was easier than the hike up, but as I sit here with aching legs a day later, I'm not so sure.  The sun had further affected the snow, and though the trail was broken, it was much more slippery than on the way up.   We all had our challenges on the way down with exhaustion causing multiple slips and falls in the snow.  There were multiple stops to ward off dehydration and replenish energy reserves, before we eventually reached the rig at 4:45.

It was a long grueling day, but it was with great friends and a gorgeous day!

Interesting limestone formations
Link to John's Trip Report: http://www.splattski.com/2017/copper/index.html

Stats:
Time: 9.5 hours car-car
Distance: ~ 9 miles
Elevation: ~4300 feet

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Moab Thanksgiving!

Double Arch
Dylan has been after me for some time to get down to Moab for both mountain biking and climbing.  He kept saying I didn't know what I was missing by not heading down to the desert.  Well, with nothing much planned for the long Thanksgiving weekend, Tamara and I decided we'd make it a short multi-sport family vacation.

We took off early Wednesday morning and met up with up Taylor and Dylan at Taylor's place in SLC.  After some great Pho for lunch, we made the short 3.5 hour drive from Salt Lake to Moab.  The red cliffs were looking pretty good in the late afternoon sunshine, but it was a little late to get out and do anything fun. So, we had dinner and some drinks before calling it a night.

Thursday morning we decided to do the National Park thing and headed over to Arches National Park.  Dylan, who had ridden his road bike through the park last spring, acted as our tour guide as we visited the attractions; Double Arch, Window Arches, Delicate Arch - you get the picture.  It was all very beautiful on this clear, cold, fall day.

Delicate Arch
I called these the "Sporting Wood" formations
After a long morning/afternoon of hiking through the park, and with a short window before dark, the girls dropped us boys off at Wall Street so we could climb a crack route called, 30 Seconds over Potash.  Well, at least he could climb it.  I struggled up it the best I could, but by the time I felt that I had a little of crack climbing technique down, my arms were just too pumped.  So I called it a day 20 feet from the top as it was turning dark.
Dylan on "30 Seconds Over Potash"
And yours truly trying to follow
That night we had a great Thanksgiving dinner, highlighted by the three pies Taylor baked the day before - apple, blueberry maple and pear cranberry.  Delicious!

The next morning was another cold, clear beautiful day as we all headed to Klondike Bluffs for a little mountain biking.  Though Tamara, Dylan and I are avid mountain bikers, Taylor just occasionally dabbles in it, but Tamara is just getting over a shoulder injury caused by crashing her mountain bike the previous week.  So, with this in mind, Dylan selected an intermediate trail that didn't involve too much slick rock.  Though intermediate, everyone still had a blast!
Taylor on Klondike Bluff
Staying warm
Group shot
The afternoon was again set aside for some rock climbing, but this time he took us to The Ice Cream Parlor for some slab climbing.  The three non-injured Fadgen's then did a little bit of climbing to round out the day.


We were all feeling a little beat up Saturday morning, but the slick rock was calling!  Dylan and I decided to ride Moab's famous "Slick Rock Trail", while the girls elected to head back to Arches NP and hike the Devil's Garden.  Tamara and I had ridden some slick rock the previous spring outside of Zion NP http://fadgenfamily.blogspot.com/2016_04_01_archive.html, but nothing like this.

We arrived at the nearly empty parking lot at 9AM.  Though it was a brisk 35 degrees, it didn't take long for us to heat up. The riding alternated between technical and easy, and you had to pay attention for the majority of the 10 mile loop.  Though I laid my bike over a half dozen times on both rock and sand, no major injuries were sustained.  We were pretty spent after completing the 2.5 hour ride, but...



There was more climbing to be done!  Another route that Dylan had on his list for the weekend, "Pocket Rocket" https://www.mountainproject.com/v/pocket-rocket/106297965 beckoned.  After a quick call to verify that the girls were still at Devil's Garden, we made a beeline down Potash Road heading for the route.
Taylor and Tamara at Landscape Arch
The crux of this route is a roof move right off the ground. After flailing for a bit on this, Dylan easily lead the remainder of the route and set up an anchor.  My turn.  I'd like to say I breezed up it, but I couldn't even get started.  I gained the roof section and had a heel hooked over a bulge, but just couldn't pull the rest of my body up to reach the first hold.  Let's just say that I was weighed down by turkey and beer.  So after a few minutes of really flailing, I asked Dylan to lower me and called it a day.

That afternoon we took a 3 hour tour and drove the La Sal mountain loop down into Castleton and then on to Fisher Towers.  Dylan had climbed Ancient Art in Fisher Towers http://fadgenfamily.blogspot.com/2015/02/ancient-art-stolen-chimney.html in Febuary 2015 and was looking forward to showing the area to us.

It did not disappoint.  The geology of this area is very unique and not to be missed.  As we hiked around the area in the sunset, the glow from the red mud was stunning.  The view of Ancient Art from the ground was equally stunning as well as terrifying.

Ancient Art corkscrew top with Dylan hiking below

All in all we got in several hikes, a couple of mountain bike rides, some rock climbing, quite a bit of laughs and a great time, as a family! 



Monday, November 21, 2016

Prescott and Inspiration Peaks - Nov 5, 2016


The Lemhi's in the early morning alpenglow
A couple of weeks back, John offered up a dozen peak selections for a Saturday trip.  Though all looked interesting, I liked his idea of climbing Mounts Inspiration and Perspiration in honor of fellow mountaineer, Larry Prescott.  Larry passed away from medical complications while climbing these peaks the prior weekend (Oct 29th).  Though I had only met and climbed with Larry once earlier in the year, his death was a shock.  A shock because he was a lot like me - 56, in pretty good shape and loved to get out and climb peaks.

After a warm night in our triple bed motel room in Arco, John, Michael and I met up with John's friend, Jeff, who drove down from Salmon.  After a quick stop at the Charcoal Kilns, we proceeded up the four wheel drive "road" in Michael's FJ until we found a convenient turn around spot.
Getting ready in the cold canyon
It was clear and cold as we walked the remainder of the four wheel drive road before it turned into an ATV trail. At the end of the trail, we took a hard right and wondered through the open forest before gaining the north ridge to Peak 10,546.
Michael heating up as he moved into the sun
It wasn't long before we were above tree line and had the rugged north ridge of Peak 10,456 in our sights.  Unfortunately, the view of our first peak of the day, Mount Perspiration, was blocked by Peak 10,456.
Peak 10,456 and it's north ridge
 Once out of the forest, we also were in the hard crusty snow, and we opted to put on our crampons.
Heading up in the sunshine
John and Jeff stop to catch their breath


The snow depth was pretty variable, necessitating some rock cramponing.  Just after the large gendarme shown in the above picture, I removed my crampons to make a tricky move across the rock.  John and Jeff followed, while Michael looked around and found an easier way around the rock without taking off his crampons.
John finishing up the Gendarme
The final ridge to Peak 10,456
After reaching the summit of Peak 10,456, we removed our crampons and then proceeded up the gentle, snow free slope to Mount Perspiration.  Someone on the Idaho Summits forum had provided the GPS location of where Larry passed, so the four of us stopped at this point to ponder the meaning of life.  We enjoyed the amazing views while discussing re-naming the peak in honor of Larry. Though there is no official USGS name, Peak 10,693 will now be called Prescott Peak in our minds.
There's our peak - Prescott Peak
Mt Inspiration
John almost to the summit
As it was getting late, we only spent a short time on the summit of Prescott Peak before we dropped down the steep 400 feet to the saddle between Prescott and Mt Inspiration.  With little snow to contend with, we made good time to the summit of Mount Inspiration at 10,715 feet. 
John and Micheal heading down to the saddle

The final steep push to the summit of Mount Inspiration
We were all a bit tired as we re-traced our steps down Inspiration, up Prescott, and then back to the FJ.  A long, satisfying day in the beautiful Idaho mountains with some great friends.

If I figured one thing out that day, it was to continue to live life to its fullest.

Diamond Peak and Bell Mountain (L-R) from Prescott Peak
 John's (Splattski) trip report: http://www.splattski.com/2016/prescott/index.html

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