Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Saturday, March 8, 2014

White Rock Peak

The summit of White Rock Peak
Tamara and I have been doing quite a bit of skiing this winter and were planning on continuing to get out.  But, this latest warm trend put the kibosh on those thoughts.  With the snow conditions marginal at best, my thoughts turned to just getting outside.  The weather for Saturday was looking good, so after many emails, texts and phone calls during the week, I hooked up with John Platt for a snowshoe of a peak he had been eyeing.

I met up with John, his wife Julie, Deb, Mark and Tory (three others who I had previously met on the Idaho Summits spring outing last May) at the turn off to Warm Lake at 9AM in bluebird weather.  From there we drove the 40 mile twisty road to the trailhead at Poverty Flats Campground.  Yes, I said trailhead.  Too bad Tamara wasn't with us, since we are rarely on a trail when she's with us.  But, since she wasn't feeling well she didn't get to enjoy the "trail".

We all left the vehicles at 10:30 and after a bit of confusion on which trail to take, we settled on the unmaintained trail.  Yes, our "trail" consisted of a faint path with a large amount of deadfall crossing it.  Painful!
Looking back down the trail
It didn't take long for us all to get strung out on the brushy trail and after gaining the first 1000 feet I realized I was all alone.  I didn't have a map with me and knew it was a pretty straightforward ridge hike to the summit. But I didn't really feel like hiking it solo, so waited a bit until Deb caught up.

Not long after, we reached the snow line.  Rather than immediately don snowshoes, we continued on in boots, hoping that the snow was somehow frozen in the 40 degree weather. For a while it wasn't too bad with only an occasional punch through, but eventually it became obvious that the traveling would be easier with snowshoes.

During this first hour our blue skies had gradually filled with high clouds, but I was in a T-shirt and feeling good. 
Glimpse of the summit (far right)

Deb and I steadily progressed, trading out the trail breaking duties, until we reached a point within 500 vertical feet of the summit at 2PM.  We hadn't heard or seen anyone for the last couple of hours so we stopped for lunch while trying to stay out of the wind.  The group hadn't discussed a turn around time, and since it was getting late and we hadn't seen anyone else, we figured we'd head back rather than continue up. 

After dropping a couple of hundred feet we ran into Mark and Tory.  Since it was 2:30 at this point and they had recently seen John and Julie, we all decided to keep heading for the summit.  I was still feeling good at this point so I put the pedal to the metal and started cruising up.

There wasn't much to see since the trees were so thick, but as the steepness moderated I finally saw our objective through the trees.  About a 1/4 mile away was a rock pillar, and it actually looked kind of white (in a grayish sort of way).
Final ridge to the summit
I made the base of the 40 foot rock pillar at about 3:30 or so.  There wasn't an obvious route up these rocks, especially with snowshoes, so I took a few pictures for Dylan to drool over.  This was going to have to be my summit. 

I found a cozy spot at the base of the rocks and waited for everyone to join me.  First there was Deb, then Mark and Tory, and finally, John and Julie.
Deb making the final 50 feet

Mark and Tory remembered that they had brought up Steve's Fireball Whiskey from the New Year's Eve Cervidae hike, so we passed that around for a quick pick me up.  After some high fives, and a bit of food, it was time to get down.  After all, it was after 4PM by this time and we'd been out for over 5 hours and had hiked 3500 feet in our snowshoes.

 I'd like to say we made quick work of the hike down, but it wasn't to be.  The snow conditions had deteriorated and it was tough going.  I do know that Julie and I ended up on our rears more than once!

Link to John's trip report: http://www.splattski.com/2014/white_rock/index.html

My GPS plot:

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