Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bench Lakes Ski Trip - in July??

Inspired by Ralph (Luddite) and Jim C. from the Idahosummits.com forum, Dylan and I picked Sunday July 17th to do a Sawtooth triathlon - hike, ski, and fish.  Or as Jim C calls it - Cutthroats and Couloirs. Earlier in the week Ralph told us about his earlier Bench Lakes ski tour in late May and he figured there would still be enough snow above the 5th lake to get in some turns.  We were on!

After an early 4AM start we were at the Redfish Lake trailhead at 7:00AM in 37 degree sunny weather.

Happy Dudes
 We made quick time in the cool morning and before we knew it (actually an hour and fifteen) we were at the first two Bench Lakes looking at our objective - any good looking snow at the base of Mt. Heyburn.

Mt. Heyburn with our line to the left

As we progressed up to the third lake the trail petered out and we bushwacked up to the fifth lake hoping to spot some hidden snow filled couloirs.  But it wasn't to be.  The best line we could see was down the ridge below the Thumb.

The "Thumb"
 Unfortunately, there was not enough snow in the lower elevations to do any skinning so we kicked steps to the top of the snow field.  At this point it was getting warm and the exertion of kicking steps was beginning to take its toll.  The weather though, remained gorgeous and the views were outstanding!

Kicking steps above the fifth lake

After a little sweat we were at the base of the thumb, where we quickly put on skis and were off!  The snow was firm with a soft corn/slush layer on top making for smooth turns in the sun cupped snow.

It didn't take long for the ski run to be done and we hiked back down to the fifth lake for a little fishing.  Like the snow, the fishing was a little sparse, though Dylan did end up catching one small brookie.

After the fishing, it was time for a quick bite to eat and then we hit the trail for home.  By the time we reached the car at 4:00PM it was 82 degrees.  It was a long hot slog back but well worth it. All told we did a little over 13 miles and had a ball!

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