Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, February 20, 2012

2nd Peak - Soldier Mountain

The President's Day Weekend was upon us and we didn't have anything planned together.  Tam was still a little injured from the Bull Trout trip last weekend and Dylan was off on a scout campout.  Ralph (Luddite) had posted something on IdahoSummits.com about skiing 2nd Peak on Sunday and I had the nerve to ask about it being an open invite.  He replied with, "The more the merrier."  With Tam basically telling me to get out of the house so she could get some school work done, it was on!

I met up with Ralph, Chris and Bob at the Soldier Mountain ski area on a gorgeous, sunny morning. A little after 9:00 we were heading for the ski lift.  Taking the lift is a real time saver, eliminating 1500 feet of climbing.  Can't beat that!

View of 2nd Peak (center) from the ski patrol hut
We stopped at the ski patrol hut to check in with the patrol before heading through the OB gate.  From this hut, you need to drop a couple of hundred feet down a hill before starting the ascent.  The tracks down this hill had been made by snow machines and were frozen and crusty.  In trying to pick up some speed to go as far as possible up the opposing hill, I caught an edge and took a hard header.  Dang that hurt!  After shaking off the cobwebs from the fall and swallowing my pride, I put my skins on with everyone else and we headed up. 

Chris charging up the hill

It was a great morning. When I rolled through Fairfield earlier the temperature was 6 degrees.  It was just as cold during the climb, but with the sun shining and little wind I was in my base layer in no timem sweating profusely.  Chris found a zone and was charging up the mountain leaving the three of us lagging back.  After an hour of us chasing Chris, he finally stopped so we could take a break and admire the views.  After Chris's run, it was Bob's turn to lead the charge up the hill with his splitboard.

Somehow I got in front of Bob and Ralph to take this photo
I was excited to be with these three guys. All three of them are big climbers and I wanted to see if I could keep up with the pace (I think I did). Also, after last weeks long tour with minimal skiing, I needed someone to show me the choice runs.  Since Ralph grew up in the area I figured I could learn a thing or two on places to ski.  Once we got through the trees the route opened up and became obvious.  As did the potential of the area.

Almost to the ridge
Looking back down

The summit is in view

Ralph showing great form

1st Peak and Big Bowl - wind scoured
 As we progressed up the mountain toward the summit, the clouds started building and the wind picked up.  We stopped just short of the summit of 2nd Peak for lunch and to make the transition from climbing to skiing.  Here I added a couple of ibuprofen to ease the shoulder pain from the header I took on the first hill.

Ralph's plan was to ski one of the step chutes in Big Bowl, but the snow looked a little dicey to me.  After hearing Chris tell Bob that the snow was crusty and that Ralph had made it down without a problem by doing jump turns, I knew it was way too much for me.  I headed to skiers left and found some decent powder by the edge of the trees and headed down to meet the other three in Big Bowl.

2nd lap!
Since the snow up top was a bit crusty we decided to stay in the trees for some additional powder shots.  Here we had boot top powder and great skiing.  So great in fact that we did a couple more laps. 

As we skied out I couldn't believe how many bonus powder shots we were getting.  Unlike most exits, where you're fighting crust and ice on the edge of a gully, this exit consisted of short runs in the shade that offered excellent skiing.
Looking back at our turns (first run in purple and laps in red)

 We finished up with a boot up a couple of hundred feet to the ski patrol shack before a long run down Soldier's groomed runs.  My legs were dead tired, my neck and shoulder were killing me, but I was stoked.  What a great day to be in the mountains with like minded skiers.
Thanks Ralph, Chris and Bob!

Trip Stats:
House to house - 12 hours
Car to car - 7 hours
Over 3000 feet climbed, 3 laps
Unlimited amount of smiles
A sore neck and shoulder

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