Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, June 1, 2015

Doublespring Peak - 11,611'

Doublesprings Peak over my left shoulder
With plans to climb Sheep and Bowery Peaks in the Boulder Mountains on our minds, John and I met in Banks at 2PM last Saturday afternoon.  I knew we were in for a good day when he got out of his truck wearing the same short I had on – a “Get Wild in the Woods” T-shirt, courtesy of our buddy the Wild Chef (or is it the "In the Wild Chef"?) - Steve Weston.

We made the long drive to the East Fork of the Salmon excited for the anticipated 14 mile, 6500 foot day we had planned for Sunday.  The high temperatures from the last few days had swollen the East Fork, and since our trail was on the wrong side of the river, it wasn’t looking good.  We scouted a ¼ mile up and a ¼ mile downstream of the Bowery Creek trail for a crossing and came up with two options – either wade across a slightly wide spot or cross a long log way above the water.

John thought the log would go, but after cutting off quite a few of the branches, I told him I was not excited to give this option a try.  Next up was to try and wade across our "wide spot".  With John spooling out a rope that I had looped around my wrist, I proceeded out into the cold swift water.  After 20 or so feet, we ran out of rope just as the river reached my thighs.  The next 10 feet across looked deeper and swifter that the portion I had already crossed, so we decided this wouldn’t work either.  Damn!  

So on to plan B.  We kicked around a few peaks and figured since we were in the vicinity, we might as well try Doublespring Peak.  Rather than make the hour drive to Doublespring Pass, we set up camp at a small campground at the junction of the East Fork and Main Salmon on Highway 75.  We had a nice dinner, and a bit too much wine, before we drifted off to sleep in the warm evening.

With an early start, we were at Horseheaven Pass a little after 8.  After a bit of fumbling around, we were on our feet at 8:30 heading up Cayuse Canyon.  The skies were clear and it was already getting warm as we hiked up the inevitable cow path, which then became a 4 wheeler trail, and is now almost a jeep trail.

Other than stopping to admire a fresh bear print in the slushy snow, we quickly cruised up the canyon and made good time to 9400 feet.   The basin really opened up at this point and our objective came into view.  After a short break, we continued on up with John dropping down to test the snow quality (slushy!), while I stayed on the rock above. 

Our first view of Doublespring Peak from Cayuse Canyon
Due to the poor snow quality, we did our best to stay on the scree all the way up to the saddle at 10,400 feet.  Once on the saddle, we had fantastic views of Dickey Peak and the Christian Gulch area peaks.  Though the sun was shining brightly, the wind had picked up, necessitating adding a layer.
J Platt photo

Peak 10,878
Dickey Peak
Christian Gulch area peaks
Heading toward the summit
From the saddle, all that was left was 1200 feet of mostly snow covered ridge.  We took turns leading, alternating between kicking steps in supportable snow and plunging shin deep in the rotten snow. Forty five minutes later, we were on the summit at 11,611 feet!  Of course, the views all around were fantastic!
John approaching the summit with Peak 10,878 behind him
Summit!  (J Platt photo)
North face or Borah
Unsure of the high point (Plan B - no map!), we traversed the summit ridge to the western edge.  Upon looking back, it appeared that the eastern edge was the high point, so we headed back the way we had come.  After a few summit photos, we plunge stepped our way back down to the saddle.

Once out of the snow and back at the saddle, we found a place out of the wind and had a leisurely lunch.  While eating, we discussed climbing the peak to our left, Peak 10,878.  Realizing that there was no better time than the present, we dropped our packs and scampered up the 400 or so feet to the summit in less than 15 minutes.  Another couple of quick photos, and we then headed back down to the saddle to retrieve our packs.
Heading down from Peak 10,878
Summit of 10,878
Though I neglected to bring my “fast” pants, I was still hoping to glissade some of the snow on our descent.  I made one attempt to glissade, but promptly sunk in too deep after sitting down, so sliding was not going to happen.  With glissading out, we plunge stepped our way down, doing our best to stay on the snow until it disappeared.  Once back to the "road", we made great time back to the truck for a couple of celebratory beers.
One last look back...
It is nice to have a Plan B!

Trip Stats:
Length: ~ 8 miles
Elevation: 4000 feet
Time (to summit): 2:45
Total Time: 5:45

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