Bull Trout Point


The other side of the highway from Copper, Bull Trout Point is a very scenic tour.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Super Dave e-mailed me with an invite for a snowshoe trip and a list of possible objectives. After some discussion, we decided on Bull Trout Point, a cool-looking ridge walk (the open ridge on the left in the linked picture) I'd looked at from the top of Copper Mountain .

We left Boise at 6am, with me feeling a little groggy from the previous two days. We got to the Bull Trout Lake turnoff around 8:30 and prepared for the cold- it was in the single digits- the kind of cold that makes the insides of your nose crinkle. Fortunately, there was no wind.

The route starts along the Bull Trout road, then turns right and crosses through a section of "pecker pole," skinny little lodgepole pines that are too close together, But after a bit, it opened up.

The snow was incredibly deep, and we knew that some snow instability existed- both from the current predictions and some random whoomping. We moved up the valley, contouring and following safe terrain to gain the ridge.

As we headed up the ridge, the sun came out. It looked like a beautiful day was in store. The deep snow made climbing the ridge a ton of work. We resorted to taking 30 steps at the front, then switching off. We bemoaned our smaller team- we were originally going to be 5 or 6.

Climing up the ridge


But after much perseverance and sweat, we made the ridge top. As you can see, it was awesome. Wonderful views, interesting snow formations, and much better progress on the flatter and wind-blown snow. From here, it is about one and a half miles to the summit.

Speaking of snow formations, the entire ridge was lined with cornices ,and the north side dropped off precipitously. This particular cornice seemed to have teeth. Even though he saw that a photo might be dramatic, Dave refused to pose on top of it. Dave and the evil cornice
Here is a shot showing a precipitous drop. However, some of the chutes past the cliff looked skiable. Cliffs

As the ridge climbs toward the summit, it bobs and weaves a bit, but generally was much easier going than it had been climbing up the side.

Near the top, there were two small gendarmes. The snow on the sides of the gendarmes made me nervous- it was quite steep, and looked like it would get steeper as you went around them. So I climbed over them, but it wasn't necessary- they were safe to traverse around, and neither of them had any size (but you couldn't really tell that from below them).

If you don't understand what I'm talking about here, take an avalanche class in Stanley or Boise. And watch this movie (it's long...).

Upper ridge

And then we were on top at about 1, just four hours from the car. After just a few minutes, a light breeze generated sufficient wind chill to chase us off. When I checked the Banner Summit weather station today, I saw that the temperature started dropping at about noon. We felt it.

Summit dorks
The clouds were moving around all day, but for most of it we were in the sun. This shot is looking back at our tracks coming down from the summit. Tracks on the summit

And this one is to show how deep the powder really was. John is in over his knees, and that is with good-sized snowshoes.

I wanted to cry for my lack of tele skis.


Super Dave's trip report

Deep snow

Mr. Natural Home | 2007 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski