Peak 11967

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A surprising amount of snow makes Peak 11967 a lot of fun.

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

Michael and I were watching the weather. When it looked like the weekend was going bad, we dashed over to the Lost Rivers on Thursday afternoon.

Although it looks like this was shot over the roof some joint in Mexico, that is Lost River Peak towering over our own Mackay, Idaho.

11967 from Mackay
Center here is White Cap Peak, shot from a moving vehicle (the picture, not the mountain). White Cap
And this is Peak 11967, with the Vance Canyon couloir. After looking at this couloir, it would be a viable route either up or down. Vance Canyon

And here's Peak 11967 showing the aspects we climbed (Vance Canyon couloir is just barely visible on the right side).

This was shot from out in the valley and shows more of the mountain than we could see when we were climbing.

 

Vance Canyon zoomed in

This was our view from camp (between the dive-bombing mosquitoes).

After walking up Elkhorn Creek (canyon in the foreground moving right to left), we climbed above timberline under the broad pyramid-shaped scree pile just right of center. From there, we angled up and left into the snow. We cramponed straight up for a while, then angled left to the false summit on the right-hand end of the summit cap. Then we traversed the summit cap for about 400 yards to gain the last 3 feet.

Our route

So here's a closeup of the broad pyramid-shaped scree pile. It looks a little dark because we left the car just before 6am.

Talus cone
And here is what the scree pile looked like as we wound around to the left to gain the snow. Steep scree

We were so happy to get off that huge pile of loose crap, we didn't even mind the slightly funky snow conditions:

The top of the snow was a bit sugary, and deep enough to keep your crampons from fully biting the hard stuff underneath. But if you kicked to gain better purchase, you'd break right through the crust, sometimes going in past boot-top. So walk gently and hope those suckers hold!

Michael

After winding around and up for a while, we gained a rocky section leading to the false summit, in the background. So I removed my crampons and left them sitting in the snow. But when I stood up on the false summit, I could see the real summit, about 400 yards away, was slightly higher. So I tiptoed across the ridge without my crampons while Michael wisely did the traverse with his on.

Note the building clouds. NOAA said a 30% chance of thunderstorms after noon, and it was now 11.

Summit shot
This is the view south of White Cap, Leatherman, and Church. Leatherman

And north of Mount Borah.

Hefty cornices on the right shoulder, eh?

Borah
With the wind building and the clouds drifting across the Boulders and Pioneers, we figured we'd eat our lunch down below tree line. Snow on the descent

We descended this ridge instead of the bowl we had climbed.

Already the daytime heating was softening the top layer of crust leaving us to posthole into the rotten snow beneath.

Descent ridge

When we got to the end of the snowy ridge, we descended the previously discussed pyramid of scree. This was some of the Lost River range's finest, with hardly a solid rock anywhere. Michael counted three.

Overall, this was a great route and a fun climb. Just enough challenge without getting hairy. Highly recommended- if you can get it with decent snow on it.

Scree skiing

Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski