Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Miners Peak

Trailhead view of our objective
Last week John Platt had sent me a great picture of a big snowfield on Pollack Mountain and all I could do during the week was dream of skiing it.  But due to all the snow, we couldn't get to the trailhead - bummer.

The alternative plan was to climb to a lookout on Miners Peak, deep in the South Fork of the Salmon River mountains.  Though it looked like a big day, I talked Dan into joining us for a little training hike.  We left Boise at a little after 6 and met up with John and Julie Platt at the turn off to Warm Lake right at 8AM.  Once they climbed into the truck, we took off for the winding hour long drive to the trailhead at Reed Ranch.  We were on our feet and moving at 9:30 in fabulous conditions.

You can just make out the lookout on the right
The hike started at roughly 4000 feet, and after crossing the river we followed an ATV trail for the first mile.

Tamara heading out with snowshoes on her back

Crossing the South Fork of the Salmon
Once beyond the ATV trail we turned up on a well marked trail.  Someone had recently ridden the trail on a motorcycle and cut away the deadfall that had fallen across the path.  Unlike the "trail" to White Rock Peak in the same area ( http://fadgenfamily.blogspot.com/2014/03/white-rock-peak.html ), this was a welcome relief.

The trail stayed on the south side of the ridge keeping it snow free for the first 1500 feet.  We made reasonably good time even though we did stop for a couple of union breaks along the way to remove layers and have a bite to eat.  Once we reached 6000 feet we hit constant snow and were surprised to find it holding our weight even though it was relatively warm.  Unfortunately, this didn't last too long so we strapped on the snowshoes and continued upward.

Tamara all smiles in her new shell
The trail meandered through the trees not allowing us to see our objective until we were about 1500 feet from the summit.  You can just make it out on the photo below.

Getting closer

John contemplating the route to the top
For the most part we followed a well worn trail and an obvious ridge as we moved up.  We eventually came to a small bowl where you could just make out the trail cutting across it.  Since I was leading at this point, I decided to not follow the longer trail but rather headed up a steeper ridge with several large boulders.  As the route turned steeper still, John had caught up and he moved forward, up and over a small cornice to the summit ridge.

Heading up the steeper section

John leading us over the summit ridge.

The final 50 yards
Upon reaching the lookout, we searched in vain for a spot out of the wind to have lunch. We settled on a spot only slightly out of the wind, but in the sun, on the rocks seen below.  We spent close to an hour here - talking, eating and lounging in the sun.  But with the clock ticking  - it was 3PM after all - we loaded up and started back down.

Other than the snow becoming slushy and making the decent of the steeper sections a little slippery, the trip down was long and uneventful.  We finally arrived back at the truck around 5:30PM and were all a little beat from the great day.
Dropping off the summit ridge

Mileage - Approximately 12
Elevation - Approximately 4000 feet
Car to Car Time - 8 hours

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