Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two Devils and a Baal

He Devil from Sheep Lake
John had put out an email a month ago to a half dozen folks asking who was up for a Seven Devils trip for Saturday.  After some texting and other email traffic, three of us were left.  I met up with Dylan's buddy, Dan, at 4AM for the short two hour drive north to McCall where we grabbed John and continued north.

After another two hours, we were at the Heavens Gate campground, and on our feet at 8AM in cool sunny weather.  NOAA had forecasted a 20% chance of thunder showers and with the storms we've been having the past week, we were excited with the conditions.

Our plan was to climb several peaks in the area, He Devil, She Devil, Mt Baal, and possibly Tower of Babel, were all on the list.  Rather than hike on the main Seven Devils loop trail, which is something like 9 miles to get to the center of these peaks, we elected to take the shorter, albeit steeper, Sheep Lake Climbers Trail.  This "trail" is more like a goat path, switchbacking up to a mountain saddle, travelling along a ridge with a couple of precarious areas on the north side of this mountain, and then dropping steeply down to Sheep Lake.

And speaking of goats...  Once starting up the trail, Dan spotted this guy.

We made Sheep Lake in a about an hour.  With He Devil towering in front of us, we skirted the lake on the south side and headed up to a saddle.  After a quick bite to eat, we crossed a large boulder field and gained the northern ridge of He Devil.  From here it was a great scramble up to the summit, which we obtained at 11:00AM.

The skies looked hazy, but with all the rain we have had lately, we figured the area fires were all out and it must just be moisture in the air.  Other than the haze, the views from the summit were spectacular.

Some of the many lakes in the area with Hells Canyon in the background.
The final summit block of He Devil
The next peak on the list was She Devil, just to the west of He devil.  Dan left us at this point, as he'd climbed She Devil years prior and had bad memories of some scree filled gully.

John had climbed She Devil from He Devil a decade ago and knew of a route that dropped off the steep southern side of He Devil.  We wandered around a bit and then descended down 50-100 feet, skirted to climbers left and found a steep, tight gully that lead down.  The loose rock required us to take this gully one at a time to prevent injury.

John dropping off the summit of He Devil
Down climbing the steep gully
Once down the gully John and I split up some.  I explored a route trying to stay high, while John immediately dropped down.  After putzing around a bit, I decided to just head down rather than risk the possibility of ending up on a cliff.  I found a ramp and dropped down through the scree to meet up with John at the saddle between She and He.
Once down in the saddle, it was time to head up again.  The route was well marked with cairns, which took some of the fun out of the ascent.  We purposely took a variation that ended up with a bit of class 3+ scaling of the summit block which we obtained at 12:30.
Ramp leading to the summit block
The final summit block to She Devil.
A look back at the route off He Devil (upper right corner).
Apparently She Devil is a few feet shorter than He Devil, though neither have officially been measured.  The altitude of each is approximately 9400 feet.  John and I debated this fact as we had another bite to eat on the summit of She Devil in the sunshine.  We were both feeling pretty good at this point and continued west towards Mt Baal.  The "peak" is in between She Devil and the Tower of Babel and looks great from Sheep Lake.  From our vantage point it didn't look too bad, but not as imposing as it looks from below.
It didn't take too long to obtain Mt Baal, probably 30 minutes after getting off the summit of She Devil.  From here we longingly gazed at the Tower of Babel.
Mt Baal
But, with Dan waiting for us at Sheep Lake, and it being a little after 1PM, we decided to head down.  After dropping off Mt Baal, we came to the source of Dan's nightmares - the dreaded gully.  It didn't look too bad, almost looked like we could boot ski all the way down.  But after several hundred feet it became apparent that this wouldn't be the case.  The rocks gradually became larger and the going much more difficult.
The gully

John "boot skiing" down
After 30 minutes and 1000 feet of hell, we joined Dan at the lake where I know he was laughing his head off as he listened to all the rocks falling down in front of us. The gully was tough going down, not sure if I'd like to try going up it.

From here it was just a short jaunt up another 600 feet over the goat trail called, The Sheep Lake Climbers Trail, back to a cold beer waiting for us at the car.  We arrived at the car a little after 3PM with very sore feet.

John's Trip report: http://www.splattski.com/2013/devils/index.html

Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation gain: ~4500 feet
Time: 7.25 hours

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