Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An Adventure on Hum Ridge Peaks

Last week my buddy, John Platt, emailed me a picture of a ridge, northeast of McCall, he wanted to try that included five peaks.  With the picture in mind, and always open for an adventure, I wholeheartedly agreed.  I probably should have put a little more thought into this decision.
Photo John sent me with the peaks highlighted in red.  Doesn't look too bad.
Knowing we would be in for a long day, I left Boise at 4:30AM for the 2.5 hour drive to McCall.  After dropping one vehicle off 8 miles from our trail head, we were walking up the Duck Lake/Hum Lake trail, a little before 9AM, in bright sunshine. 

John and I haven’t been out since Memorial Day, so we spent time catching up and before we knew it we were on the saddle above Hum Lake allowing us to get a better view of the day’s plan.  Hmm, it looked like we were in for a long day.

We had a couple of options here, we could drop down to Hum Lake and then back up to gain the ridge to peak #1 (Peak 8380), or we could climb up and over Humdinger Peak (Peak 8573) and then traverse the same ridge to peak #1.   We chose option #2, even though John had previously climbed Humdinger Peak.
Humdinger Peak left of center
We were now off trail, boulder hopping our way up the mountain.  I love this kind of climbing, but as we progressed up the mountain I was hoping that the other peaks would be a little more straightforward.
John downclimbing a large gendarme
Once on the summit of Humdinger, we relaxed, fueled up, and plotted our next steps.  Peak #1 looked a long way off, but it was early, not too hot, and we were still fresh.
Peak #1 in the center of frame
We carefully traversed the ridge to peak #1 picking our way across the large granite boulders interspersed with occasional deadfall.  It took a bit of time, but eventually we had the summit in sight.  This peak did not disappoint with a nice scrambling finish to the top.  It was now noon and our next peak looked pretty close compared to the distance we had just traveled.
Summit of peak #1
While our traverse from Humdinger to peak #1 was boulders interspersed with deadfall, the traverse to peak #2 (another Peak 8380) was the opposite; deadfall interspersed with the occasional boulder.  Not fun!

On our way to peak #2
Peak #2
Even though the distance between these two peaks was less than the previous two, the persistent deadfall slowed us down significantly.  Oh, and it was starting to warm up.  We didn’t spend too much time on the top of this peak; after all it was now 1:45PM.  Where had the time gone?

Thankfully the ridge between peaks #2 and #3 was not covered in deadfall, but we did have a large boulder field to negotiate.
It's getting hot!
Close up of peak #3
We picked our way through the rocks, staying on climbers left of the ridge, before eventually gaining the ridge at the summit block.  Like peak #1, this peak (Peak 8565) provided a great scrambling finish to the summit.  It was now almost 3PM, and after looking at the ridge to our next peak, we mutually agreed that it wasn’t in the cards for today.
Ridge to peak #4
Looking back from summit of peak #3 - Humdinger (way back in center), peak #1 (right) and peak #2 (left)
Our plan was to drop down to the North Fork of Lick Creek and follow the trail to our vehicle.  First we had to get off the summit, which proved a little challenging.  Initially it was straightforward as we circled around the rocky summit and followed the gentle north ridge down to a grassy lake basin.  From this point, John chose our route based on how close the contour lines appeared on the GPS.  Down a ramp here, cross through some trees there, peer over the edge, and try to repeat.  Damn, this is getting steep!

Bailing off peak #3
With some belay assistance from a few small pine trees and other shrubbery, we carefully picked (slid?) our way down the steep granite slabs to the valley floor.  It took quite a while to drop the 1800 feet down to the trail, and it was still warming up. 

Unfortunately I stopped taking photographs at this point, so you’ll just have to allow me to drone on for a while.  We followed the trail for a short while until it disappeared in a mass of deadfall, alders and huckleberry bushes.  Occasionally we would pick up an indication that there was a trail (blaze, old cut logs, etc), but for the most part we picked a direction and did our best to bust through.

At some point I heard John’s Camelbak gurgle, indicating he was out of water.  I still had half a quart of Gatorade and ¼ of my bladder, so we shared this as we attempted to negotiate the bushwhack hell we found ourselves wallowing in.  Eventually, the liquid ran out, requiring an emergency spring refill.  Damn, this water was cold and good!

After a short rest hydrating, we continued climbing over the deadfall and under the alders, trying in vain to find the trail but continuing down the valley.  We were each living out this misery in silence, walking for an hour with cramping legs, until we eventually stumbled upon the trail.  After a short, painful (literally) elevation gain, the trail eventually winded its way downhill.  After dropping another 1500 feet over the course of a couple of miles, we crossed Lick Creek Road to the parked truck at approximately 8:30PM.

What a fun adventure!

John's trip report with stats and map: http://www.splattski.com/2015/hum_ridge/index.html

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