Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dickey Peak 11,141 Feet - The Tres Habaneros Route

Dickey Peak had been on my mind since John mentioned it a few weeks ago.  It had several things I was lacking in my life lately - altitude, snow, and adrenaline.  Knowing it was high on Michael's list, I sent them both an email on Monday suggesting we go for it.  A few emails later we had a plan.

Rather than do the typical 4AM start from Boise, we decided to head over to Challis on Friday afternoon and roughed it in a motel.  So, I put out a few emails to the large selection of Challis motels inquiring about a room for 3 guys.  I received the response from Deidra at the Northgate Inn saying she had a room with 3 queen beds at a great rate - Done!  Though Deidra wasn't much help on a restaurant selection, she definitely lived up to all the Trip Adviser reviews.  By the way, we had an unexpectedly fabulous burger at the Tea Cup Cafe and Bakery.

We rolled out of bed in the warm conference room (yes our room doubled as a conference room) at 6AM and were on our feet staring at Dickey Peak at 7:30.  Though it was a bit chilly at 25 degrees, we quickly warmed up as we marched across solid snow the two miles to Dickey's base.

Petros Peak 
Along the way, we discussed possible route options.  Since John had climbed Dickey via its north gully a few years prior, he suggested Michael and I select the route.  I liked the look of a large sweeping gully on the right (south) but as we got closer I suggested we modify it a bit by choosing a north (left) leaning gully that started on the south side. Michael seemed up for any route, as long as we stayed off the endless scree and it finished on top.

For the most part the snow was firm allowing us to make good time.

We stopped at 8500 feet to put on crampons and then continued on up.

As we turned left and started up the selected gully, a few fist sized rocks came whizzing past. Though the rocks missed us by a good 20 yards, I was wishing I'd brought along the helmet I had left back in the truck.
John surveying the many options
Once we reached the confluence of the three snow chutes, seen in the photo above, the route steepened and we had to make a decision.  The chute to the right looked like it was less steep, but the snow had a 2" wind crust over sugar, so it was a no go.  The center chute had some old wet slide debris and seemed solid, so it ended up being the choice.

The higher we progressed, the steeper it became.  The last 1000 feet didn't involve switching back across the face, it was just kicking steps, planting the ice axe and going straight up.  By this time we were in full sun, it was getting warm, and the snow was starting to get soft.  The route was a bit spicy, hence the name.
Michael, wondering when it will end.
With the ridge in sight, we angled to the left and gained this ridge at 10,400 feet.  From here it was only another 200 feet to the false summit or North ridge.
Glad to be on the spur ridge
Michael, glad to be on the ridge with John right behind
Our objective was only another 500 feet above the false summit.

The snow was extremely variable the rest of the way up.  A small portion would hold our weight, but this was interspersed with large patches of sugar snow under wind crust.  We gingerly picked our way along the ridge enjoying the views and reached the summit at noon.

There was a slight breeze on top, but after putting on our down coats we sat down to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Now all we had left was the downclimb.  None of us were too keen on retracing our steep route down the chute, so we opted to come down the northern most gully.  We retraced our steps to the false summit before dropping into this gully.

The snow in this northern gully wouldn't support our weight at all, and we plunged to our shins with each step.  After stopping to remove our crampons, Michael tried a butt glissade.  Even though the snow was soft, he had no trouble maintaining a good speed.  Soon John and I joined him and we dropped 2000 feet in a short 10 minute span.

Our route - red is up, blue is down
Once out of this gully we stopped to retrieve the snowshoes we had stashed on the way up.  The temperature was now somewhere in the high 40s low 50s and the snow was becoming a sloppy mess. All that was left was the 2 mile trudge across this sloppy mess back to the truck.
"snow" shoeing!

John's trip report: http://www.splattski.com/2015/dickey/index.html

Class: Spicy!
Distance: ~8 miles
Elevation: 4300 feet
Time: Summit - 4.5 hours, Car to Car - 7.5 hours

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