|Smiley Mountain (left) and Peak 11,151 (right) in the morning Alpenglow|
Dan texted me earlier in the week with an idea to make the 3 day Memorial Day weekend a 4 day weekend – I was all ears! His plan was to climb a couple of obscure peaks in the Smiley Lobe portion of the Pioneers on Friday – Peak 11,151 and Peak 10,995. After looking at the proposed route, I suggested something a little spicier, and Dan offered a “loop” to include Smiley Mountain.
Dan, Dylan and I took off after work, Thursday, and met up with Deb Rose and Tom Cox just outside of Iron Bog Campground at dusk. Deb and Tom were game when I suggested we add in Smiley since friends of theirs were planning on climbing it that weekend.
5AM came early for some of us, and after a quick bite to eat and some coffee, we were on the road at 6AM. The plan was to hike the NE ridge of peak 11,151 from Antelope Pass, cross a saddle to adjoining Peak 10,995, and then head over to Smiley. Since Dan had already climbed Smiley, he offered to be the shuttle boy.
We were on our feet at 7AM, in the cool morning sunshine, just below Antelope Pass at around 8700 feet. The NE ridge was a relatively easy walk as it undulated for several miles, though there was the occasional detour allowing us to get in a little class 3 scrambling.
After a couple of miles, the first two objectives came into view.
|Peak 11,151 just poking up|
As we moved higher, the head of Anderson Canyon open up before us. I mentally added this on next year’s list for a ski tour.
|Head of Anderson Canyon with Peak 10,995 (right)|
We all reached the summit of Peak 11,151 around 10:30 and gawked at the views! We had great views of the main Pioneer range, as well as the Lost River Range.
|Looking back down our route|
After a bit of discussion, it was determined that Dylan and Tom would head north and tag Peak 10,995 while Deb and I would meander our way south towards Smiley Mountain.
|Dylan sucking up to Mr. Idaho Summits (Dan)|
With Dylan and Tom off to their next objective, Deb and I hung with Dan for a bit before we bid him goodbye and started down the south ridge of Peak 11,151. Smiley Mountain looked like it was several miles away and we could just make out a route that would keep us out of the snow.
|Route from 11,151 to Smiley Mountain (left most bump)|
By the time they caught up with Deb and me, we had just reached the ridge overlooking Lake Creek, with its half dozen frozen lakes. The views of the seven summits of Alcyon Peak were stunning. This, too, was added to my mental list.
|Deb on her way to Smiley|
|Tom and Dylan|
|A few of the seven summits of Alcyon|
|I found this one to be my favorite|
With all four of us together, we moved at a reasonable pace up the North ridge of Smiley. The route was smooth with the exception of the last few hundred feet, where we encountered a little talus. No problems though, and we were on the summit of Smiley (11,508’) at 1:45PM.
|The final few hundred feet|
After high fives and a few summit shots. we dropped down the south ridge for a much needed lunch break. Here we took off our boots and refueled for the final leg. The proposed meeting place with Dan was in view but it looked a long, long way off.
|Follow that broad brown ridge to the trees - that's where the truck is|
We were all a bit tired at this point, so after a half hour, we started down the miserable scree filled hell that is the south ridge of Smiley Mountain. Though I was told that the south ridge was the “standard” route for climbing Smiley, I’ll take our route any day.
We all got through the 1000 vertical feet of ankle breaking talus without incident, and all that was left was several miles of gradual downhill walking back to Iron Bog campground. At this point Dylan put on the afterburners and I did my best to try and keep him in view.
|Looking back at Smiley Mountain|
At 4PM the truck finally came into view. All that was left was a short, steep, thigh high, sagebrush filled slope. Nothing like a bit if fun to finish the day off! I was back at the truck with Dan and Dylan at 4:30 with Tom and Deb joining us a few minutes later.
Stats:Peaks: 3 (Dylan), 2 (John)
Distance: 13.25 (Dylan), 11.5 (John)
Elevation Gain: 4700 feet (Dylan), 4000 feet (John)