Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Scorpion Peak - Idaho Summits Spring Outing

Scorpion Peak from Pincer Peak
Saturday (June 4th), I spent the day with 19 of my closest friends climbing in the Southern Pioneer Mountains, on the annual Idaho Summits Spring Outing.  The majority of us met up Friday evening at Copper Creek Campground north of Carey, Idaho. Here we enjoyed some excellent Jambalaya produced by George Reinier (through In Da Wild Chef) as we got acquainted (or re-acquainted) with each other.

Surprisingly, we were up and hiking around 7:30AM Saturday morning in clear blue skies. It is usually hard to get this large of a group coordinated, but Dan did a great job. The route started up an old mining road and made for easy walking.  Unfortunately, this road ended abruptly at the first creek crossing.  The snow melt fed, swollen creek didn’t have an obvious crossing point and the group took a hard left up the steep hill to try and bypass the creek.  In theory, this route might have worked had our objective been a different peak (Antares) rather than Scorpion.  But, eventually everyone dropped back down to the creek and had to endure some major bushwhacking and a couple of creek crossings (or not) before Scorpion Mountain came into view.

At this point the group split up, with 6 of us (Tod, Bill, Carey, George, John and me) electing to go straight up a snow filled couloir we had spotted, while the majority stayed left to gain the west ridge. 

After separating from the group, we quickly gained the snowfield at about 8500 feet and proceeded to head straight up toward the summit.  With the warming temperatures, the snow varied from slightly mushy to slurpy (those are climbing technical terms!) as we moved upward.  At about 9700 feet we moved right to obtain the couloir we had noticed from below.  This necessitated a bit of snow swimming until we reached a rock band that allowed us to drop down into the couloir.

Here Tod led the five of us up the 35-40 degree couloir, kicking steps in the slightly firmer snow.  It was hot at this point, with the sun bouncing off the snow creating an oven-like affect. 

John R.

Eventually we reached the end of the snow, a couple of hundred feet below the summit.  After a short break, we continued up the rocky ridge to a false summit.  At the false summit Tod and I noticed a set of footprints crossing a snow filed below us.  We were both a bit dumbfounded as we assumed that we were the first ones up.  
Tod following the mystery footprints

Scorpion Summit
The short down climb
We made the short down climb and used the existing footprints to make the spicy traverse across the short snowfield.  A minute later we were on the 10,545 foot summit at 11:15AM.

After a few minutes we noticed someone coming up from the west ridge route that we didn’t recognize.  It turned out to be Rob F, who had started off that morning alone up the east ridge. The tracks we had followed across had been his – mystery solved.
John Platt approaching the summit
As it was a warm, windless afternoon, the hour wait the seven of us had before the others started straggling up was very pleasant.  Eventually all 20 of us were on Scorpion peak.

After a group photo, six of us (John P, Tod, Brett, George, John R and myself) headed over to Pincer Peak on the interconnecting ridge a little before 1PM.  
Pincer Peak in the center
We had a great walk traversing the ridge with varying snow and rocky sections.  The last portion of the ascent went straight up some loose rock, but all in all it was relatively straightforward.  We gained the summit of Pincer Peak (11,650) at about 2:15.

We briefly looked across the next ridge to Antares Peak (which Dylan and I attempted to ski five years prior http://fadgenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/06/antares-peak-attempt-memorial-day.html ) but decided against it. 
Antares Peak from Pincer Peak
A bit of down climbing led us to a narrow snow chute we had spied on the way over.  This chute provided a 600’ glissade, making the descent that much more enjoyable.

Rather than bushwhack down on the creek bottom, we elected to follow an old mine road out and even scooted by the creek without having to cross it.  Just as we emerged from the canyon we could see the dust of the rest of the group driving back to camp.  Oh well, what’s another mile of walking?

Another great Idaho Summits outing!

Time – 10 hours
Distance – 8 miles

Elevation – 4400 feet  

No comments:

Blog Archive


About Me

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