Second Peak


After a ride up the chairlift, we ski Second Peak in the Soldier Mountains

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

Dan wanted to climb Third Peak, and I convinced him that skis were the right tool. So we set out to ski from the top of the Soldier Mountain ski area (after riding the chairlift). Dan and I drove up from Boise, while Mariel drove down from Hailey to meet us in Fairfield.

Dan and I got there early so we could get some pictures. Smoky Dome is in the clouds, with Third, Second, and First Peaks in the sun.

Sunrise on the Soldiers

Dan was trying, desperately, to rent some AT ski gear. Eventually we gave up, patched together a standard alpine setup, and grabbed the chair a little more than an hour later. When we got off the chair at just before 10:30, Dan switched to snowshoes and we were off.

BTW- a single-ride lift ticket is $10, and the chair opens at 9am. The ski patrol would like you to check out of the area at the hut at the top, then check in when you return. They were very friendly.

The hill at the top of the road in the background hides the top of the chairlift. Yes, we will have to climb this hill on the way home- ugh!

Starting the climb
Looking the other way, Second Peak is very inviting. You can also see what we got to ski back down on- this wide groomer extends all the way to the summit, although not quite so wide in spots. Second Peak and bowl

It was a beautiful day and quite warm-note Dan's bare hands. We stopped for lunch and just generally enjoyed ourselves. At this point in the climb, we are about to access the ridge, where the conditions changed considerably.

Up high on Second Peak

The backcountry guides were very friendly and we talked with them several times. So we knew they were going to blow the top of the bowl. We watched them set the charge, then all three of us played "Waiting for Godot" with our cameras out and ready. After what seemed like a 20-minute fuse, it went off with a massive percussion that impacted our bodies, even from this distance.

Big bang

The last 3/4 mile follows the top of the ridge, where the wind was absolutely howling. We had stopped to dress before we got into it, but it was strong enough to push us around. Mariel didn't feel comfortable tagging the summit on her skis, so she walked the last few steps. Here she has been pushed off her feet by a gust.

We tried to estimate the wind speeds, but we were low. When Dan got back to Boise he checked the weather station web site to see that it had been blowing 38 and gusting to 50.

We scooted down off the lee side of the summit where we found some protection in amongst some old trees. Again, warm and sunny. So we had a little more lunch, took some pictures, and relaxed. Then Dan switched into his alpine gear and it was time to brave the wind once again. Snag and Camas Prairie

Mariel was a little tentative for her first turn, fearing the wind would blow her right off the face. But when she realized her edges would hold her, she disappeared enthusiastically down the hill. Dan and I followed, but with the snow blowing across the track, you had to lean into it a bit.

Once we got off the ridge, we just had turn after turn of perfect grooming. Off-piste was a variety of sun crust, wind crust, etc. so we skied the corduroy the whole way. Big fun.

Dan's report.


Mr. Natural Home | 2008 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski