Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Saturday, December 22, 2012

First Ski Trip of the Season - Copper Mountain

We are excited to have Taylor-O home for the Christmas break but needed to get out and ski.  So Saturday, Tam decided to stick around the house with Taylor while Dylan and I decided to head up to Copper to check out the conditions.

We arrived at the parking area just before 9AM to relatively calm, but cloudy conditions. 

As we heading up the hill, the clouds, wind and snow started moving in. 

Dylan lead the way as he charged up the hill following an established set of skin tracks.  I huffed and puffed while trying to keep up.  You'd think with all the trips up Cervidae lately that it would be easier.  Must be the altitude.

As we got higher the wind really picked up and we had horizontal snow blowing in our faces.  You have got to love horizontal snow!  Since it was blowing like crazy we decided to not continue up to the summit and stopped just above the lunch tree.  Once there, we pulled our skins and took turns heading down.

The snow was absolutely fantastic!  Boot top powder over a great base.  In no time we were down the hill quite a ways with big smiles on our faces.  We quickly put the skins back on and headed back up the mountain for another lap.

Once we made it back up to the lunch tree again we huddled in out of the wind and snow to share a chicken salad sandwich and a cup of tea.  It was time to continue up a bit further to make another lap.  As Dylan was clipping into his bindings he discovered that one skin was not adhering to the ski.  Crap!  How do you fix this?  We had no clue on a repair and now could not continue up. So stripped the skins and headed down for the last run.

The snow was still fabulous and even better once we were in the trees.  In no time we were down.

Unfortunately, we were so caught up in the great snow that we went down a little too far and had to do a little extra walking to get back to the car.  Oh well, no worries.

It was a great start to the season, hopefully it just gets better!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Well, not slacking in the sense that we haven't been doing anything lately, but slacking in the sense that I haven't been updating this blog.  This is for the six of you may happen to read this thing.

With the ski season yet to start we have been trying to keep in shape to be prepared for when we get the opportunity to make a few laps. 

A little over a month ago, Tam and I visited John up in McCall for a little snowshoe trip to Snowslide Peak.  You can read the trip report here: http://www.splattski.com/2012/snowslide/index.html

Here are a few of my pictures of the trip.
Smiling faces!

Tam powering up the trail
Snowslide Lake

Summit View

The following week, Dyan and I went up to visit John again for a hike up Pollack Mountain.  Again thanks to John for doing a trip report: http://www.splattski.com/2012/pollock/index.html

Here are a few of my photos from that trip:

Dylan and John snacking
In the fog
Almost to the summit
Damn, I look good!
On Thanksgiving Day we got out on a pre-meal hike/climb of Stack Rock outside of Bogus Basin.  John wasn't with us on this trip, so no trip report.  Note the lack of snow:

Our first view of Stack Rock

Tam wondering what we got her into

Stack Rock

Heading up

Made it!

Summit shot

Over the Thanksgiving weekend Dylan and I got out to do some chukar hunting in addition I headed to Cervidae for some conditioning.  I made it up the 2000 feet and 2.5 miles in 52:30 and was feeling good about myself.

The following week Dylan and I headed back to Cervidae with him trying to run up it and me doing my best to draft him.  He made it car to car in 1:05 and I made it to the top in 50:10 and car to car in 1:25. Still trying for that 45 minute summit.

Today (12/8/12) we woke up to an inch of snow on the ground and our objective was Shaw Mountain.  Shaw is actually part of the Boise foothills and we've been up it a few years ago.  We took off in the cold wind and made good time up and the Squaw Creek trail.

Summit Shot

The love of my life!
It turned out to be a great day.  Cold, windy, with occasional snow flurries.  Dylan and I summited in 2:10 and  we met up with Tam a couple of hundred feet below the summit.  Total time was four hours and we travelled 10 miles and gained 3000 feet!

We should be in shape for some skiing - just need a bit more snow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mount Washington - New Hampshire

I had the privilege of going to New Hampshire to meet up with my folks for a moose hunt last week.  Wayne and I hunted hard for a few days, even turned down an easy shot at a cow moose, with the hopes of getting a bull.  Though we saw several bulls, we didn't get an opportunity for a shot. Oh well, that's hunting.

Since I was in the vicinity on New England's highest peak, I decided a climb of Mount Washington was in order.  I talked to Tom Martin, who I climbed Mt. Rainier with back in August, the night before to see about heading up with me, but he had obligations that afternoon.  He did point out that the wind was blowing 70mph on the summit, gusting to over 100mph.  This may have factored into his decision for not joining me. The forecast was for diminishing winds the next day, so I figured I'd head over and at least take a look.  This is the view I had on the approach (ignore the splotches - I need a new camera and Christmas will be here soon!).
Mount Washington from North Conway
Per Tom's beta, I stopped at the Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center to obtain the latest weather information.

Weather info posted at the visitor's center (notice yesterday's weather)
The winds had diminished somewhat, the sun was shining, and the weather prognosticators said it was going to be a nice day, so I started up the Tuckerman Ravine trail.  Unlike our trails out west, these trails seem to really be just old stream beds.

I quickly made great progress up the "trail", doing my best to not twist an ankle. In a little over an hour I traveled the 2.3 miles to the Hermit Lake Shelters where I stopped for a quick bite to eat.  Also, unlike out west, these trails have resting areas interspersed along the trail, like these shelters. I was a little surprised that there wasn't a food vendor serving hikers.  From the shelter I had a great view of "The Headwall".

The trail became steeper as I approached The Headwall and a portion of the trail was climbing rock steps.

The trail stepping up
The headwall was a gorgeous sight.  Water was cascading down the right side, and per the map, the trail was supposed to go up this right side.  Huh?
Approaching The Headwall
Once at the base of The Headwall, the "trail" disappeared.  However, I did see some yellow arrows conspicuously pointing upward so I followed them.

Scrambling straight up the rocks following the arrows, I quickly gained the saddle.  I should point out that I had barley noticed a breath of wind until I crested The Headwall.  At this point the wind was blowing pretty good from the left to right, but I had no idea on the speed.  There was also some ice on top, but with the temperatures above freezing, it was quickly melting.

Looking back down

A bit of ice
Once above the treeline, the "trail" became nonexistent, but there were these 6 foot cairns leading the way upward.  I followed them the best I could but deviated from the path to stay out of the ice.  Just when the ice started to get thick, I looked off to my right and there was a parking lot!  Parking lot?  I should mention that there is a road to the summit as well as a cog railway.  I did a bit of down climbing to gain the parking lot and then cruised up a set of stairs to the summit area.
Stairs?? up

Sign up top
The wind was really howling as I winded through several buildings on the summit.  I saw a couple of people near one building, so headed over and entered.  To my surprise, there must have been 40 to 50 people standing around inside.  Turns out they had taken the cog railway up and were waiting for the train to take them back down.  While warming up, I had another bite to eat, then suited back up and started my way down.
Summit self portrait
Rather than down climb "The Headwall", I decided to take a different route down on the Lion Head Trail.  I followed some cairns down, hoping that this trail would be more trail-like.
Lion Head Trail cairns
I'm not too sure if I made the right call or not.  The Lion Head "Trail" was steeper, rougher, and rockier than the Tuckerman Ravine trail.  In some places this "trail" resembled a rock quarry more than a trail. To top it off, the wind was blowing directly at my back, almost pushing me down the trail.  After several sections of class 3 down climbing, I met back up with the Tuckerman Ravine trail and cruised back to the visitor's center.

While at the visitor's center, I verified from the ranger that the wind speed, while I was on the summit, was blowing between 40-50mph.  We discussed the differences between trail out west and those on Mount Washington, with her laughing at my description of the so-called trail.  I must say that even though this peak's summit was below our typical starting point here in Idaho, this was one tough climb.

Distance: 8.2 miles
Time to summit: 2:45
Car to Car time: 5:15
Vertical feet: Approximately 4200.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mount Heyburn - 10,229 Feet

Mount  Heyburn is supposedly one of the classic Sawtooth Mountain climbs.  It has a long approach, a bit of scrambling, then finishes with two pitches of 5.4ish climbing up the Stur Chimney.  Our original plan was to leave early Sunday morning but Dylan talked me into heading over Saturday night so we could get some extra sleep.  Past trip reports as well as conversations with others told us that this was going to be a long day.

We arrived at Redfish Lake at 11PM, and after pitching the tent, we were asleep by 11:30.  We had a moderately good night’s sleep (we were just short of being cold) and we were up and hiking by 8:30.  In hindsight we should have gotten an earlier start.

Rather than start at the normal Bench Lakes trailhead, we started up by Redfish Lodge and took the Sean shortcut that Super Dave told me about.  We had hiked the Bench Lakes trail last summer (http://fadgenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/07/bench-lakes-ski-trip-in-july.html) and today cruised up to the first lake in short order.  It seemed like the trail to the upper lake was a little more marked than last summer and we gained the upper lake as storm clouds started moving in from the west.
Upper Bench Lake
After refilling our Nalgene bottles from the lake (great tasting algae water!) we headed up the steep scree slope to the first saddle.  At about three quarters of the way up to the saddle the rain started.  We found a large boulder under the Petzold Coulior and hunkered down, donned our $0.98 throw away ponchos, and ate lunch. 

I figured we would wait a half hour before we called it a day, but we stuck it out, and after an hour the skies cleared somewhat.  We headed up to the saddle where we could look out west and get a clear view of future weather.  Although the wind was blowing, the skies were relatively clear, so we continued on up.

This saddle took us to the west side of Heyburn and we progressed up to another saddle between Heyburn and the West Pinnacle.  Here we could see our objective, the Stur Chimney. 

The Stur Chimney
The trip report on Summitpost was vague on how to get to the chimney.  It mentioned scrambling up to a ledge.  We could see where we needed to be, but didn’t see an obvious route.  So we selected a route to the right of the chimney that looked good, hoping to find a ledge that would lead us over to where we needed to be.  Our planned route didn’t work out. 
Looking up our route that didn't work out

After a bit of down climbing with a short rappel thrown in, we found the ledge we needed.   Here we put on our climbing shoes and helmets and ditched the packs.

Setting the first anchor

At this point it was 3PM.  Where did all the time go?  Dylan wondered out loud if we should call it a day because of the time.  I had been thinking the exact same thing and voiced it to him.  We looked at each other and then the clear weather, and decided to at least head up to the first belay station.  I figured if we were off chimney by 5PM we would be good. 
Ready to go!
It was a given that Dylan would lead and I would follow up and clean.  He set the first belay anchor, we tied in, and he was off on the first pitch.   After a short 10 minutes or so he had reached the first belay station, an alcove below a huge chockstone.  After he was off belay I started up.  Although the granite was crumbly in places with lots of small loose rocks, the climbing was relatively easy with plenty of hand and foot holds.  The first portion required a stemming move (it is a chimney after all) and as I performed this I realized that I had a Gatorade bottle in my small summit pack.  Nothing like trying to move up with a large plastic bottle jabbing you in the back!

After a couple of minutes, I joined Dylan at the alcove and we were all smiles.  This was a blast!

Looking down

Looking up
The second pitch’s first move was a little airy as it required a move out to the right of the chockstone.  Dylan handled it like a pro and was soon yelling down to me that it was my turn to head up.  Without looking down, I moved right and above the chockstone and was soon cruising up to the final anchor point.  After few moves I stopped to take a couple of photos and then continued up where I joined Dylan for smiles and high fives.

We then each took turns climbing the last 10 feet to the summit while on belay for these summit shots. As you can see I didn’t feel the need to stand on the small pinnacle.

At this point it was 4:30 and it didn’t look like we would be down by 5.  Oh well, we were way too happy to be concerned at this point.  After a quick call home to Tam, we made the three rappels down to our packs. 
Here we changed back into hiking boots for the last rap, using this small tree as the anchor point.

Once down, we made another quick call to Tam to let her know we were safely off the climbing portion and beginning our decent.

The decent was uneventful. As we quickly cruised down, all we could talk about was what great adventure this was to tackle our first Sawtooth climb and how hungry we were.  The goal was to make it back to Redfish Lodge before they closed.  At the turn off of Sean’s shortcut, we had to turn on our headlamps and walk the last 15 minutes to the lodge in the dark.  It was a little after 8:30PM, the lodge  hadn’t closed yet, and we enjoyed a cheeseburger and fries before making the drive home.

Trip stats:
Mileage – about 10
Vertical – about 4000
Car to Car time: 12 hours.

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