Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bull Mountain Utah

Last Sunday six hearty souls took off on a short journey to reach the high point of Box Elder County Utah – Bull Mountain.  The weather forecast for the day was a 20% chance of snow with up to ½ inch accumulation.  The plan was to tag the summit at roughly 9900 feet by following a route detailed on Summit Post. Together - Dylan, Dan, John, Margo, Steve, and I departed the trailhead a little before 9AM with our snow shoes attached to our packs in slowly falling snow.  It was a great start to the day.

As we progressed up the trail the snow thickened but our spirits remained high.
Steve and Margo

An hour into the journey the trail disappeared into a mass of jumbled deadfall.  John, with his keen navigation skills, directed us through the thick jungle of fallen trees as the snow continued unabated.  And John continued to direct us through the deadfall, and John continued to …

Eventually we wound our way out of the deadfall into a gully containing thick underbrush.  We were all smiles as we continued onward and upward through the thick snow with the tangled alder grabbing at our feet.

When the snow became shin deep and the brush had lessened, we put on our snowshoes and continued upward – still smiling.  It was hard no to – the snow was fantastic!  The only way the snow could have been better is if we were on skis!

The Summit Post trip report mentions a creek crossing at 8000 feet and we had our eyes peeled and altimeters out trying to find the crossing.  At certain times, when the snow wasn’t so heavy, our visibility was up to 50 feet, allowing us to feel confident that we were headed in the right direction.
At roughly 1:30, after 4 ½ hours of climbing and bushwacking we figured that we were in the wrong drainage.  With no chance of making the summit, the decision was made to turn around and head down.  We were still all smiles as we again negotiated the mass of deadfall, this time in snowshoes!

After another 2 ½ hours we made it back down to the trailhead where John pulled out his trusty tape measure and determined that there was 9” of snow piled on the cars.  We quickly loaded up and got off the mountain and out of the falling snow.

What an excellent day to be out enjoying some beautiful weather with great people!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

House Mountain

House Mountain
This past weekend got off to a bad start.  I had been looking forward to at least one day of chukar hunting, but when getting home Friday evening I noticed that Shadow had opened up the wound from Nevada.  I thought it had healed, but…

 Anyway, I was feeling a little bummed Saturday evening until we received an email from John asking if we wanted to get out Sunday morning for a little hike/snowshoe up an obscure mountain.  With Dylan already having plans, I made the mistake of accepting without asking Tam.  She gave me a little crap, but probably realized it would be best if I got out.

Did I mention we left Sunday morning?  The plan was to meet at John’s house at 5AM, so I was up at 4AM getting ready!!  Wow that was early, but surprisingly I had no trouble waking up.  It’s amazing how easy it is to get out of bed when you’re leaving on an adventure.

I met up with John and Michael at the designated time and quickly loaded my gear into John’s truck in the dark.  It wasn’t long before we were parked at the “trailhead” and were getting ready to go.  At this point I realized that I only had one gaiter.  I was a little perplexed and worried at the same time.  Perplexed because I knew I had brought two and worried that with only one gaiter I would possibly be fighting snow filling the other boot.  Oh well, time to head out.  The temperature was a crisp 19 degrees with a slight wind.

Upon leaving the truck we immediately headed up at a steep angle through the sagebrush with our head lamps blazing.  There wasn’t too much conversation until we reached a point where the steepness subsided enough had to catch our breath.  At about this point the sun peaked over the mountains.

As we progressed higher through sagebrush, buck brush, and alders the wind started picking up a bit.  We tried to stay off the ridge tops to minimize the wind, but there didn’t seem to be much refuge.  Other than the wind it was a spectacular day with the Owyhee’s in clear view.

John and I switched to snowshoes when the snow was over our ankles and we had moved high enough to be out of the brush.  I had been worried the whole time about filling my boot with snow, and felt much better once the shoes were on.  Michael, who was charging ahead, continued on a ways before stopping to put on his shoes.

After another hour or so I was bringing up the rear as we hit the summit at 7700 feet.  Unfortunately there really wasn’t a spot where we could get completely out of the wind on top, so I downed a PBJ, John took a quick splattski (http://www.splattski.com/2011/house/Assets/Images/summit_big.jpg) and we then heading back down.

We had some great conversational topics on the way down so the time went quickly and it took my thoughts off my aching knees.  We reached the truck at roughly 1:30 for a round trip time of 6 ½ hours.  We traveled 9 miles with 3800 feet elevation gain.

A great day getting out on snowshoes for the first time this year with excellent company.

P.S. – I found my other gaiter sitting on the road behind my car!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Opening Day of Chukar Hunting in Nevada

**** **** Mountain
A couple of weeks ago was our annual get together for the opening weekend of chukar hunting south of Battle Mountain Nevada.  I have been getting together with an assortment of guys for this trip for over 20 years.  The constants in these twenty years have been John Woods, JD Driskell and I.

This year it was us three, Dylan, Brian Tufte and his son Alex and Little John. 

We all arrived Friday afternoon in spotty weather.  We had snow on the ground in Owyhee and it sprinkled for most of our 5.5 hour drive.  Dylan wanted to scout out an area for climbing purposes, so after setting up camp we were off.  While doing this scouting, Shadow got caught up in some barbed wire and cut up her leg a bit.

By Saturday morning it had cleared up a bit and was partly cloudy with almost no breeze.  JD's scouting information told us we could return to our normal area for the Saturday hunt so we were once again in familiar territory.  It wasn't long before the first covey was spotted on the drive in.  Dylan and I let JD and Brian go after these birds as we headed further up the road to a wide spot next to a spring.  Once out of the truck we made a long loop down to some lower rocks before we finally started running into some chukar.  After a couple of coveys flushing I had shot my limit while Dylan was short a couple of birds.  Nothing too dramatic on the hunt, just easy Nevada walking and great shooting.

Shadow with a limit of birds

"They should be right there..."
The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to get Dylan into some birds and hanging with the guys.  Eventually Dylan did get his limit that afternoon as did JD.

Saturday evening was spent cooking up chukar in the Dutch oven.  This year I made an Indian curry dish and from all the groaning it was well liked.

Sunday saw the group split up.  A few went back to the Saturday hunt, a couple others went elsewhere, while Dylan and I headed to **** Creek.  Once at our hunting spot we quickly got into a covey and shot a few birds.  Unfortunately, this was the only covey we saw at **** Creek.  So off to the next spot, ******.  We didn't see any birds at ****** which was a little strange considering the amount of water in the area, but it may had been hunted that morning.

After this hunt we took a little deviation.  For some reason I allowed Dylan to bring his climbing gear for our chukar hunt - go figure.  Because of this fact and the rock cliffs in the area, he figured it was time to climb.  With no birds in the area, I figured what the hell and agreed.  He packed up his gear, we kenneled Shadow, and we took off for the rocks.

He ended up climbing one pitch of rock that looked pretty tough and took him a bit of time to conquer.  We named the route "Dreaded Black" after the lizard that crawled over his hand a couple of times.  After climbing we didn't bother to do any more hunting and just headed back to camp for more hanging with the guys.

Once again a great time was had during the opening weekend in Nevada.  Can't wait till next year.

Shadow resting with her barbed wire wound

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pavlos Peak - Idaho Summits Fall Outing 2011

When the call went out for the fall outing to occur on Sunday October 2nd I was quick to plan a weekend that allowed some bird hunting and peak bagging.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), Dylan had a Homecoming Dance planned for Saturday night so the bird hunting plans were squashed.  Instead, we decided to make an alpine start and leave town at 4AM.

Unfortunately, 4AM wasn’t quite early enough and we were the last two to roll into Christian Gulch around 9AM.  After quick introductions, quickly packing up some final items and taking a few group photos, we were off.

The group heading up the elk trail

The first part of the hike was a little bushwhack through the trees until we stumbled upon a great elk trail.  We followed this trail to a saddle above point 9076.  There were eleven of us, Dylan and myself, Margo, Dan, Steve, Dave, Alex and Sean who we had previously climbed with.  New to us were George, Leslie, and Eric. The weather was great for hiking, a slight overcast with temps in the 50s.

Dave enjoying the rest

The pace was rather brisk as we topped out above the tree line.  I stuck around there waiting for Dan, Margo, and Steve and after chatting with them a few minutes I looked up and the others were almost out of sight. 

Once out of the tress the crux of the climb was in view - a long band of rocks that allowed a little bit of scrambling while enjoying a steep drop off the north side.  Once over this band though, it was a straight forward hike to the summit at 11,109 feet.

Dan motoring on up!

Margo enjoying the crux

Summit views

Once on the summit the wind picked up and it was getting chilly just sitting around. While we waited for Dan and Margo I quickly ate a PBJ and some trail mix while the others were getting antsy to move on to Petros.  I was undecided on Petros since we had climbed this earlier in the year but decided to join them at the last minute.
Petros with the route highlighted

The route between Pavlos and Petros takes you down the scree filled west slope of Pavlos and along a broad flat saddle filled with solid scree.  Dylan commented afterward that it was so smooth you could play soccer on it.  It was an awesome sight!

The soccer field

The climb up Petros involved another slog up a steep slope filled with larger rocks to a cliff band.  At this point Leslie and I decided against going any further since the cliffs looked a little loose.  Sean lead off selecting the best route, quickly followed by Dylan and the rest. Quite a few times I’d hear “Rock!” followed by the sound of rocks tumbling down the mountain.
The summit to Petros
Sounds like the group quickly tagged the summit and then spent a considerable amount of time finding a route down.  From my view point the group played it safe as each person individually descended out of the cliffs before the next proceeded.

Once down off of Petros, everyone but George proceeded back up the west ridge of Pavlos with Sean quickly leading the way.  George had decided to hit another peak on the way back (sorry – not too sure which one) – this guy is a mountain goat!  The climb back up Pavlos was pretty brutal because of the wind, which had really picked up.  Not too sure about the wind speed, but occasionally it made it hard to breathe.
Fighting the wind

Once back on top of Pavlos we all had an easy stroll down to the cars following our ascent path.

The trip stats were approximately 7½ hours car to car, approximately 8.5 miles, and 4600 feet gained.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slick Rock!!!

Dylan has been pushing me into rock climbing (very willingly I might add) for most of the year.  We have been to the Black Cliffs locally several times, but were yearning for something different.  He's been bothering John Platt for most of the summer to take us to Slick Rock, and yesterday was the day.

John got in touch with his old climbing buddy, Tom McLeod, to have him join us, with the plan being John and I doing the "Three Cracks" trad route and Tom and Dylan doing the bolted "Memorial" route. We met up at 9AM in McCall and after a very short detour to pick up Tom, were staring at the enormity of Slick Rock by 9:30.  It was a bit chilly as we gathered gear but quickly warmed up as we made it to the base of the rock. Once at the base, John gave me a few instructions on multi pitch climbs, and we were off!

Dylan and Tom hydrating before starting
With my limited leading skills I didn't even bother to ask John to lead a pitch, I just sat back belaying as he led and laid out the protection for the eight pitches. There were a variety of moves required during the climb with plenty of hand holds in the varying sized cracks. At the top of the second crack there was a great move where you had to move up over a bulge with limited hand holds - exciting!  Probably the most fun for me was the top of the last pitch where we had three undercling moves on large flakes - great fun!  In what seemed like an hour, we were at the top enjoying the view.

John getting ready to belay me with Dylan and Tom above
While John and I were plodding up enjoying ourselves, Tom and Dylan were leapfrogging one another exchanging leads quickly moving up the rock.  There were a few places where I had the opportunity for pictures and was glad that I took the shots that I did because they quickly were out of sight.
Dylan belaying Tom after a lead
Dylan on a belay anchor

Even though their route was a bit tougher than ours, they still beat us to the top by  half an hour or so.

Enjoying the view from the top

I had anticipated being a bit scared from the height and exposure, but really enjoyed looking down while being anchored on belay.  While climbing, you are so concentrated on making the right moves that you are not aware of the exposure.  This is a great way to live for the moment, as nothing else is on your mind.

The most difficult part of the climb was the "trail" down, but we all made it back to the car with no mishaps.  Once back at the car, Tam (who came up with us to mountain bike and watch) joined us after a 20 mile ride, and we spent a few moments recounting the fun we had.  From there we drove back to McCall to tour John's cabin, which he is refurbishing.  After grabbing his wife Julie, we all headed over to the Blue Moose for burgers and beers.

The total elevation gain was a bit over 800 feet, but since we did 8 pitches of 200 feet rope, we probably climbed about 1500 feet in 4 hours.

I'd like to again thank Tom and John for taking the time to show a couple of neophytes the ropes (pun intended)!  We will be back soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mt Adams - 12,276 Feet

The picture of Mount Adams that I had taken three weeks prior has been haunting me.  I don't know if it was done subconsciously, but Dylan's airline ticket to Boise was fully refundable.  After an OK from Tam, I canceled the ticket and communicated through Facebook to Dylan that we would be climbing Adams on the return to Boise.

John Platt gave us some climbing beta and the idea that we should complete the climb in a day rather than spend a night halfway up.  Good call John. 

A car door slamming at 2:30AM woke me from a nice sleep.  As much as I tried, I couldn't get back to sleep.  The plan was to be on the trail by 5:00AM but I was up a little after 3:00 brewing coffee.  It wasn't much longer before I kicked Dylan out of bed for our oatmeal and Hostess Ho-Ho (those things will kill you!) breakfast.  We were walking by 4:00AM in a light breeze.

The best thing I like about hiking in the dark is the lack of awareness of the trail steepness.  Don't know if it was because of the dark or the Ho-Ho's, but we were really cruising.  When it became light enough to see, we were crossing what was left of Crescent Glacier on our way to making the Lunch Counter in about three hours.

At the Lunch Counter we stopped for a quick bite and enjoyed the views.  There were quite a few tents set up all around and some of these folks had just started up Piker's Peak (the big false summit) ahead of us.  At this point we started noticing that the wind was starting to blow some, but we were making great time as we passed several groups of climbers.

Dylan getting ready to pass.

The boot path up Piker's Peak which doesn't look steep in this picture.

 Once we reached the midway point on Piker's Peak the wind really picked up and we took a break to put on our jackets.  This was a little easier said than done in the wind!  In another hour we were at the top of Piker's Peak and looking for a wind block.

Dylan and the only available wind block
 We figured once on Piker's it would be a short stroll to the summit.  Not too sure of the exact distance or elevation gain (I heard 1/2 mile and 600 feet), but we were a little discouraged at the view of the summit.  The wind was starting to beat us down a bit (it must have been blowing 30mph), so after another quick bite to eat we were off for the summit push.  The last bit above the second false summit about killed me.  It was a short easy stroll but I was struggling a bit while Dylan (who had been at sea level for the last three weeks) was pretty strong.
The summit as viewed from Piker's Peak
In another hour we were on the top!  It had taken us 6 1/2 hours to reach the summit of our first Cascade volcano!
Cold but happy climbers.

Mt. Rainier in the haze.
We spent a bit of time on the summit hunkered down out of the wind as we enjoyed a PBJ sandwich and changed into our glissading pants.  If you look closely at the picture showing the boot path up Piker's Peak you will see some glissade paths to the left.  The best part was to begin!  We removed our crampons, sat down in the path and were off!  It was as I would imagine a bobsled track would be - twisting and turning all over the place. In a very short time we were back at the Lunch Counter with wet and cold butts. 
Dylan beginning the glissade.
The rest of the hike down was a mixture of trying to boot ski and walking down through the majorly cupped snow.  It was a long walk that we interspersed with glissading, when the slope would allow, until we were below Crescent Glacier and the snow was gone.

In another 45 minutes we were back at camp where we rolled the tent and sleeping bags into one big ball, shoved them into the back of the Suby and were on our way back to Hood River.  There we enjoyed pizza and a couple of beers at Double Mountain Brewery before hitting the sack at 8:00PM.

BTW - I met up with a guy that responded to my sign about finding a camera on the mountain.  His group had spent the night at the Lunch Counter and he said that the wind was blowing so hard that he didn't sleep a wink.  Like I said at the beginning - good call on the one day trip John.

Trip Stats - 13 miles, 6700 feet gained and didn't feel too bad the next day.

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