Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, August 12, 2013

Leatherman Peak - 12,230 Feet

Leatherman Peak on the left
At the Outdoor Idaho climb in the Lemhis last month, Sherpa Steve Mandella mentioned that he wanted to climb Leatherman this summer.  Last week we messaged back and forth before settling on Monday, August 12, to go for it.  I took off a day off from work and left from Boise in the smoke and haze, while Steve left from Pocatello in clear skies.

We decided to make the trip a little easier on us and met at Amy Lou's Steakhouse in Mackey for dinner, before starting the hell that they call a road to the West Fork of the Pashimeroi.  After a two hour grind, through a road similar to the one to Hell Roaring Lake road, we arrived at the trailhead, quickly setup camp, and opened a beer.

The alarm sounded early at 5AM, but after a quick cup of coffee and something to eat, we were off on the Leatherman Pass trail at 6 in the early morning chill.  Our plan was to follow Dan's route: http://www.idahosummits.com/leatherman/leatherman.htm and make any necessary changes as the conditions allowed.

We made quick work of the trail portion, passing quickly through the trees and small meadows until we popped out into the gorgeous upper meadow.  After being in smoke filled Boise, the scenery really stood out vibrantly in the early morning sunshine.
From the upper meadow at 9200 feet we could see the path that Dan described headed up through the talus. Looked like a goat trail, zigzagging straight up.  We initially headed up this trail, but the rock was extremely loose, so we headed climbers right in search of more solid footing.  The right side, or the North ridge, looked steep, but definitely within our abilities.

As we progressed up to the cirque at 10,800 feet, we continued to move right and obtained the North ridge, which now didn't look too steep from this elevation.  Turned out to be a great move.  We completely bypassed the loose scree on the "trail" in favor of solid footing interspersed with just enough loose rock to keep the blood flowing.  Unfortunately for me, this rock was also very sharp and guess who forgot gloves?
Steve M Photo
Halfway up the North ridge looking down.
North ridge
In short order, we were high fiving on the summit at 9:30.  The views were spectacular!
Pass Lake
West Fork of the Pashimeroi
Summit Spattski!
It was a bit windy and chilly on top, but we sat up on Idaho's second tallest peak speculating on the names of all the peaks around us.  We should have known them all.  But....  After a leisurely lunch, the  wind started picking up and the clouds started moving in, so we figured it was time to head down.
Bad Rock Peak
Mount Borah
We followed the "trail" down hoping for an easy descent.
Steve starting the descent

The trip down was uneventful, a bit of scree skiing intermixed with trying to maintain our footing without falling on the jumbled rocks.  In an hour we were back at the upper meadow where Steve set a fast pace back to camp.  I did my best to stay on his heels.

One last look

Once back at camp, Steve had some special Back Country Scottish Ale from Lewis and Clark Brewery waiting on ice.  Since it was quarter past noon, we each had a cold one - and they were great!

Distance: 8 Miles
Elevation: Approximately 4100 feet
Time: Summit - 3.5 hours, Car-Car - 6.25 hours

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