Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Peak 8808 - North of McCall

Peak 8808 to the left of center
Last Saturday John Platt invited a few of us to join him on a training hike for his 83 year old father.  Apparently, Tamara and I were the only ones that decided to go.  Probably because everyone else knew what a speed burner John's father, Richard, is.  Richard is planning on climbing the South Sister, near Bend, OR this summer for at least the 4th or 5th time.

We took off a little after 8:30 for a "mellow" hike to Twenty Mile Lakes east of Upper Payette Lake, but someone forgot to tell Richard this.  He was cruising for the first 2-3 miles, no stopping or waiting for the slow poke Fadgen's.  This first portion of the trail gained little elevation as we meandered through the thick forest with Bear Grass in bloom.

Soon we reached a junction, where the Twenty Mile Lake trail started up a steep slope with many switchbacks.  Here, I passed Richard and took the lead as he started to show his 83 years.  Once past the steep slope, the gradually rising trail entered an old burn (1994), but amongst the widow makers the Bear Grass stood proud.
As I turned to take pictures I noticed that I couldn't shake Richard, nor could Tamara or John. Oh, to be 83!
In a few hours, and another steep climb, we had reached the first of the Twenty Mile lakes - North Lake.  Here Tamara and Richard decided to take the two dogs (Shadow and Dieken) for a tour of the four lakes while John and I shot up to Peak 8808 for a quick summit bid.

Leaving my wife with the speed demon, John and I crossed the outlet of Long Lake and skirted a steep headwall to gain a little cirque.  We scampered up the cirque trying to stay off of the loose rocks as much as possible and quickly gained the ridge.  While gasping for air we both commented that we should stop trying to keep up with one another and slow down some.  I really think that we were still trying to keep up with Richard.

The ridge provided some great views:
Our objective
The ridge scramble provided plenty of fun moves; boulder hopping, crawling over and under fallen tress, all the while on semi-secure, lichen covered, granite rocks.  We dropped down to a saddle, climbed a high point and finally gained the summit.  What we had hoped to take an hour round trip had taken and hour and a half to reach the summit.  While we were making these moves we were getting radio updates on the other's progress - at East Lake, eating lunch, at Long Lake, etc. 

Summit views:
North and South Loon

We quickly snapped some photos and started debating heading down the east ridge, though it looked like it could be fun, we had to meet up with Tamara and Richard and this would prolong that event.  So, we traversed back the way we had come.
The tangled mess of the East Ridge
Once back at the saddle, we received a radio call that the other two were on the main trail and heading back to the vehicles.  We quickly down climbed through the cirque and headwall back to North Lake.  It had taken us 2.5 hours to summit and return and Richard and Tamara were now 45 minutes ahead of us.  John put the afterburners on as I tried to follow in his wake.

We finally caught up with Richard and Tamara as they were resting at the train junction below the first steep section at 4PM.  I was pooped, and we still had 3 miles to go.  We struggled to keep up with Richard as he set a fast pace back to the car, which we finally reached at 5PM.
Ahh, to be 83!  All kidding aside, this young man can really hike!
Distance - 13.5 to 15 miles depending on who's counting
Time: 8.5 hours
Elevation: Tamara and Richard - something like 2600 feet,. John and John - close to 4000 feet.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Party in the Lemhi Mountains!

Meadow Peak
Dylan and I were lucky enough to be able to join the IdahoSummits.com crew for an outing that was being filmed by Outdoor Idaho.  The show, called The Mountaineers, is to be shown on PBS in October.  The original plan was for us to climb Saddle Mountain, but when we arrived Thursday afternoon in the 95 degree heat and wind, the plan quickly changed to moving further north to Meadow Lake near Leadore to allow access to a cluster of nearby peaks.  With Meadow Lake being at 9100 feet and in the forest, we arrived with temps in the lower 70’s. Ahh!
Gilmore Peak
There were 7 climbers, with Dan Robbins, Jon Platt, Tom Lopez and Margo Mandella being the main focus, i.e., the stars.  Dylan, Mariel Platt, Steve Mandella and myself were the extras, or in Steve’s case, the tripod carrying Sherpa.  With Outdoor Idaho were Sauni (producer), Jay (cameraman extraordinaire) and Dave (ex producer and training for Mt. Borah).  After arriving and setting up camp, some of the stars were ushered down to the lake for interviews in the evening light, while the rest of us did the grunt work - setting up camp and preparing dinner for them.

The next morning was beautiful, low 50’s and bright sunshine - perfect for filming.  Our goal that morning was the peak directly above Meadow Lake called Gilmore Peak at 10,748 feet.  To say we took our time arriving at the summit was an understatement.  What would normally have taken a couple of hours ended up being close to 5!  But with perfect weather and great friends we didn’t mind the constant delays at all.  The trial to Gilmore is well maintained from the lake to the saddle at 10,200 feet. 
Looking at the ridge to Gilmore
Gilmore from the ridge
Dan traversing the ridge
Discussing what to do next
The rocky summit of Gilmore
Once on the saddle it progresses up the ridge to the base of the rocky summit block.  The summit bock was great fun scrambling up even though we had to stop several times for Jay to move the camera to different angles.  Once on the summit most of us laid around in the sunshine while the remaining stars were interviewed.

The descent was pretty typical, with a few stops in between for some short filming.  A few of us even got in a simultaneous glissade that hopefully will make the final cut.

Once back to camp it was time for some celebratory beers and some great food.  The campfire talk was lively that evening, with some great chatter about truck stops.
Portland Mountain
Dan’s original plan had us doing three peaks in a single day in this area, but due to the time involved with filming we couldn’t bag the other two on Friday.  The two remaining, Peak 0723 and Portland Mountain are our goal this Saturday morning.  Without the camera on, the stars became extras like the rest of us as all seven of us headed back up the same trail to the same saddle.  Instead of heading left, we make a right turn towards Peak 10723 and right away we spot a goat.  Too bad the film crew wasn’t with us for the goat viewing, and that’s all it was for me was a viewing.  I took a couple of zoomed in shots, but my camera was pointing at the sky!
John pointing out our route at Peak 10,273
It was a relatively quick walk up to Peak 10273 where we all stopped for a breather and a bite to eat.  Then it was back on our feet following the ridge to Portland Mountain.  The ridge would its way up and down for a little over a mile over a few false summits.  The last several hundred yards involved some great boulder hopping. 
Summit of Portland Mountain
Unnamed lake below Portland Mountain

We spent some time on the summit having lunch and drying our socks. It was another great day, mild with no wind, but clouds were building to the west over Mt. Borah.  It was time to head back.   In the space of 15 minutes these clouds moved closer to us and were getting pretty dark.  Just was we got off the boulder hopping portion we heard our first thunder boomer.  The majority of us bailed off the mountain at this point, sidehilling through the talus until we reached a point where we were forced to head down.

We were off the mountain and enjoying a couple of beers by 3PM when it started to rain.  It continued to rain as we danced around a stand of trees trying to keep the rain out of our beer.  But like usual, the rain stopped after a couple of hours, just in time for us to have another great dinner around the campfire.

Sunday morning saw Steve and Margo head for home and the remaining five of us (John, Dan, Tom, Dylan and I) make a move south to our final destination of the weekend – Meadow Peak.  Meadow Peak at 10,633 feet, is a broad mountain with a large distinct bench at 10,200 feet, midway between Diamond Peak and Portland Mountain.
Meadow Peak
We arrived at the base of the peak (7600 feet) a little after 7AM in bright sunshine and 60 degree temps.  The purple lupine really stood out amongst the sagebrush as did the paintbrush.  The first portion of this mountain entailed heading uphill trying to stay in the shade through open pines to an altitude of 9200 feet.  Along the way we scared up a nesting spruce grouse as well as a couple of herds of elk. 
Young bull
Once out of the pines we were faced with a steep slope that looked to be solid scree.  Fortunately, there were many islands of tundra like soil that allowed us to charge up without much sliding backwards.  In a short time we were resting on the edge of the broad meadow at 10,200 feet with our objective in sight.
This meadow was absolutely gorgeous.  It was filled with flowers, but they were all low to the ground and subtle.  As we started up the last slope we noticed a couple of goats feeding at the edge of the meadow below us. 

Dan approaching the summit
We obtained the summit a little after 10AM and were treated with this view of Bell Mountain.
Bell Mountain
After something to eat and drink and a few summit shots we started down at 10:30 and arrived at the vehicles in a little over an hour.  It was hotter than an SOB when we arrived in Boise at 5PM.
Splattski - The hairy and the hairless!

Overall, this was a fantastic trip.  Well planned Dan.  Greet friends, food, and fun!

Gilmore Peak – 1900 feet, 5.75 miles, 8 hours
Portland Mountain – 2600 feet, 6 miles, 5 hours
Meadow Peak – 3000 feet, 5.5 miles, 4.5 hours


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