Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Petros Peak 11050 Feet

The approach to Petros Peak

While we were in Washington DC last week I received a text from Dan Robbins wondering if we were up for a climb the following week.  After swapping a few texts we decided on Tuesday to try Petros Peak.  Even though Tuesday was the day I was supposed to return to work, I really needed another day off to clear my mind.  Nothing like being up on a peak to clear the images and sounds of a tremendous amount of people surrounding you.

We met up with Dan and John Platt at 5AM Tuesday morning for the 3.5 hour drive to the Northern Lost River mountains.  We decided to roughly follow the route John had attempted earlier in the year, but with a different take off point.   As it turned out this was a great idea as we were able to drive up to approximately 7500 feet and had a short approach hike before the trail turned steep.

John and Dylan surveying the route

Getting into a bit of snow now.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous as we headed up the mountain.  After the first hour we had gained over 1000 feet and were well above the trees looking at a tremendous amount of scree on the steepening slope.  At this point John, Dylan and I decided to move over to some snow while Dan figured the scree wasn't looking too bad.

We stopped to put on the crampons and headed up the mountain.  Since the snow had not frozen the previous night it was not very firm, but was still slightly consolidated allowing John to easily take the lead and kick steps for us.  The slope was approaching 40 degrees making for a fun climb even though our ice axes easily slipped down to the head.  It didn't take us too long to reach the top of the ridge where we stopped to wait for Dan as he struggled up the nasty scree.  I think we made the better choice! 
Dan heading up the scree with Dickey Peak in the background.
Once on the ridge we had a relatively easy stroll up the last 600 feet across a broad snow filled field.  We reached the summit in a little over three hours in fantastic weather.  There we all relaxed in the windless sunshine and had a leisurely lunch. 

Dan looking at the large cornice off the summit

Summit shot
View to the North
After 45 minutes or so we figured we had better get off the summit before the snow turned to mush.  The walk down the large snow field was pretty easy with minimal sinking.  Once we came to the steep snow field it was a little different story.  The warm afternoon had made the snow a little rotten.  John took a quick survey and decided we should just follow our steps down.  The was a little easier said than done as I kept blowing out the snow and sinking to my knees.  After what seemed like an hour we were all on the scree slope.

Looking back up at the summit across the snow field

Heading down the scree before the last snow slope.
Once down below the bad scree we decided to find an easier way down the steep slope and veered off into a broad gully.  We were able to plunge step down this gully and made fast time to the bottom.  There had been a tremendous avalanche sometime that winter/spring that deposited debris almost all the way to the car.  We followed this draw and we were continuously amazed at the amount of snow still standing from the avalanche.

Dylan standing next to an avalanche debris wall

We made it back to the car at approximately 3:30 in warm sunshine.  Total time was 6 1/2 hours with over 3700 feet climbed and 6 miles travelled.  All in all a great day to be in the mountains with my son and good friends.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Antares Peak Attempt - Memorial Day

With the Memorial Day weather forecast calling for it to be partly cloudy in Boise, we figured we stood a good chance at some halfway decent weather to attempt a climb.  We selected one of the peaks initially discussed for the Idaho Summits spring outing - Antares Peak (Peak 10651).

Antares Peak is at the southern end of the Pioneer Mountains and located north of Carey about 25 miles up a gravel road.  Well the road is normally gravel, when it's dry.  Monday morning saw this gravel road interspersed with long stretches of mud which made for a tricky drive in.  Luckily, the road was open all the way to Garfield Ranger Station.  The weather looked a bit threatening as we packed up and started up the hill at 10AM.

The plan was to hit the peak and then pick a bowl to ski down.  As we had pulled in we caught a quick glimpse of the peak through the clouds.  Little did we know that would be the only clear view of it we would get.

The first portion of the climb took us through some thick sage brush, which was still soaked from the previous day's precipitation.  It wasn't long before we were up in a bit of snow.
As you can see, we spent the better part of the day walking in the clouds.  By the time we had enough snow to put the skis on and start skinning we were really in the clouds.  We skinned up to about 9800 feet where we were in white out conditions and could not go any further.  Since we could only see about 10-20 feet around us we sat down in the wind and snow and had some lunch to wait it out.

After 20 minutes the clouds lifted enough to see about 50 yards, so we decide to bail and get off the mountain before things got any worse.  We picked a line and started skiing down, mostly following our skin tracks.  After dropping about a 1000 feet we exited the clouds (we could see again!) and decided to ski down a small bowl to a mining road.

Unfortunately, the snow pack was a little tricky.  It had snowed the night before covering all the older snow and exposed rocks with a nice 6 inch layer of fresh snow.  Great skiing as long as you were on the older snow pack which provided a nice base.  I started out great, but while looking for a better line drifted into some of the rocky areas and did a little rock skiing!  Luckily no one got hurt and we were able to ski close to the road for a relatively easy walk out in the snow/sleet/rain.

We will be back to this beautiful area to do some climbing this summer!

Stats: Approximately 6 miles traveled, 5.5 hours car to car and 3000 feet gained.

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