Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Dylan and I had been talking about climbing Castle Peak in the White Cloud Mountains for a few months and with the remaining summer schedule filling up I quickly decided that this was to be the weekend. Our plan was to spend a few days hiking around the peak while staying at a couple of different mountain lakes. I had read a trip report of a similar trip and with topo maps we headed out early Friday morning.
Friday's hike consisted of heading up from the 4th of July Lake trail head and crossing over a pass into Antz Basin and up to the Born Lakes. Once at Born Lakes we then slogged over a 10,000 foot scree pass overlooking Four Lakes Basin.
From here we dropped down to Four Lakes Basin and on down to Quiet Lake for the first night. It's a beautiful lake that is seldom visited, with an awesome view of the north face of Castle Peak. This side of the mountain is way beyond our skills to climb, our plan is the south face.
So we spent an uneventful evening trying to fish amongst all the mosquitoes. Dylan ended up catching a large rainbow trout on his second cast. We had him for an appetizer and didn't catch a single fish all weekend after that.
The next morning we packed up and were off to Chamberlain Basin. We left Quiet Lake at 9300 feet and dropped down to another lake at 8200 feet before picking up the main trail. From here it was a steady climb up over Castle Divide at 10,000 feet. Once on the divide it was only a couple more miles to reach Lake 9197 in Chamberlain Basin, our home for the night.
Sunday morning we woke at 7:00AM so we could get an early start up Castle Peak before it got too warm. Dylan fixed up his special crepe breakfast with homemade strawberry jam (Tam makes the best!) and we were off by 8:00AM. From reading other trip reports the climb up Castle requires taking a large gully that slopes to the west (the large gully going from right to left in the top photo). This gully takes you up to the ridge and then it's a short scramble to the summit. This all sounds very easy, the problem was that there was snow in the upper end of the gully requiring us to do a little route finding on the way up. After about three hours, and one bad decision where we had to reverse direction and take an alternate route, we made the summit at 11,815 feet.
From this vantage point, the highest in the White Clouds, you are supposed to be able to see over 20 lakes. We didn't count but there were definitely many to be seen.
The scramble down was a fun time as you can see, but we made it down without any problems.
Once we got down off the mountain and back to camp we packed up to leave. The plan was to head out to Washington Lake and spend Sunday night there. This would allow a short 2-3 mile out out to the trail head in the morning. I talked Dylan into heading all the way back to the car, stop in Stanley and get a pizza at Sawtooth Luce's, and to get home to spend the night in our beds. He agreed, but toward the end of the 8 mile hike out in the heat, I could hear him muttering to himself about someone's stupid idea. That is until he dug into the pizza...
All in all we figured we must have hiked 20 miles in the three days.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
We had just talked about the odds of someone swimming while we were approaching Staircase rapids. Our guide didn't think there was much of a chance of anyone swimming. Not much sooner after he made this statement we high sided on a large rock at the beginning of this 1/4 mile long Class 4 rapid. Since the majority of the "large" guys were all on the downward side, the boat flipped and we all were pitched out.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Once again it was time to pick Dylan up from camp. This time it was a Luther Heights Bible Camp trails camp. He had been backpacking in the White Cloud mountains from Monday through Friday and climbed a couple of 10,000 foot mountains. We thought we would surprise him with a short overnight camp followed by a hike.
We stashed the trailer outside Sun Valley and headed over Galena Summit to pick Dylan up at Lake Alturas. Once he was safely on board we headed back, hooked up the trailer and headed over Trail Creek Summit on the hour long dirt road into Copper Basin. A pretty uneventful hot night other than the ferocious mosquitoes!
The morning dawned clear and a little warm as we all headed up the 3 mile trail for Bellas Lakes. The hike was relatively short, taking us from about 7800 feet to 10,000 feet. It was gorgeous out, wildflowers were everywhere, very green and the bugs were not too bad - as long as you were moving. The plan was for the girls to kick back at the lakes and fish and read while Dylan and I attempted to climb Pyramid Peak.
After a little fishing at the first lake (Dylan caught 5 and I caught 2), we took a roundabout bushwhack up to the second lake. Here, the girls (including Shadow) bid us goodbye and we were off.
Pyramid Peak (above left) is a seldom climbed mountain in the Pioneer Range. There isn't a trail to the top, but after looking it up in "Idaho - A Climbing Guide" I knew we had to reach the east ridge to make the summit. The problem was, getting to the east ridge was an SOB. A lot of climbing in decomposed granite which is kind of like climbing in coarse sand - very tough on the legs. After obtaining the ridge, it was a short scramble to get close to the summit, followed by a steep little pitch to the top. At last, the summit at 11,628 feet.
This is one of the views we were rewarded with. (Click on the photo to blow it up) The lake on the left is the first lake we came to and the small spot of blue in the middle of the picture is where we left the girls.
Another view from the top:
Dylan and I scurried off the mountain quickly by boot skiing down the decomposed gravel and we even got in a short glissade down a patch of snow. All in all it took us 3 hours to summit and get back. A total of a little over 3800 vertical feet from camp to the summit.
Once back with the family, we all packed up and headed out for the warm hike back to camp. A beautiful day with all of us in an absolutely gorgeous place in the middle of nowhere.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
We spent Thursday and Friday lounging around camp, fishing, canoeing and dodging rainstorms. Even took Shadow out for her first canoe ride. She would not get back on the boat after her maiden voyage!
Friday was my birthday and I had the luxury of cooking a chocolate cake in the dutch oven followed by me cooking my birthday dinner of chicken cacciatore in the same dutch oven. It was all good though. Happy 49th!
Saturday dawned nice and foggy we headed out to pick up Dylan at Camp Bradley. Unfortunately we arrived way too early and spent the next hour helping the scouts break down camp. I should have known better, but at least the sun was out at this point. Once back to Stanley Lake it was more time in the canoe fishing until once again the rain moved in. As you can see, Dylan caught the largest fish of the weekend.
That night we headed into Stanley (pop 100) for an old fashioned 4th of July fireworks show. Luckily we left the rain at Stanley Lake (even though the town of Stanley is only 10 miles away). There we spent a couple of hours listening to a twangy country trio singing about how their love was like a volcano, playing on the teeter totter (well Taylor and Dylan did) and watching the fireworks. Looked a little like a drunk fest was happening, but since we had the kids...
We woke up Sunday morning to more rain and figured we needed to get dried out, so we packed up and headed home.
All in all a very relaxing, beautiful, 4th of July weekend for the Fadgen family.
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