Sun Valley Fall Weekend 2010


Three glorious days of climbing in the Sun Valley area.

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

This weekend was sort of to celebrate my "double-nickle" birthday, mostly at the request of my daughter Mariel. But I figured that if I was headed up to Sun Valley on a gorgeous weekend, I might as well make the most of it.

Friday- Kent Peak

I had climbed Kent Peak back in 2008 with Art and Carol, but I don't mind visiting old mountain friends- every outing is a joy and every peak has more than one mood. I might have tried one of the peaks on my wish list, but wanted to entice my buddies to play hookie. I also watch their wish lists, so knew how to toss out some bait that couldn't be resisted by Super Dave and Michael. And that meant Kent Peak.

We rolled out from Boise at 5 so started up the trail to West Pass in the shade. When we got to the saddle between Kent and the Cone, we couldn't decide which one looked better.

This route has some seriously large talus fields to deal with. There are better ways, but I made some of the same mistakes as last time. To illustrate how big things are, try to find Michael in the picture. Ridge

The upper ridge is fairly narrow and quite loose. So is the summit ridge. Here Super Dave is about ready to tag the top.


This picture shows one of the many catwalks along the ridge top. And you want to be on the top of the ridge, despite the loose rock and dropoffs.


One of the joys of regular partners is watching their skill develop over time. Michael is a good example. Here he is on a steep, loose section showing his breakdance moves.

For a less flippant trip report, see the trip report from Super Dave.


Saturday- Murdock and Malorey Peaks

Michael and I had climbed several peaks above the West Fork of Trail Creek last November. On that outing I had spied a delicious ridge walk, but we ran out of clock. When I suggested going back, Steve and Alex checked their extensive peaks lists and found a pair of empty spots. It was on. Then Doug joined us to make it one math-challenged and three math professors.

We had discussed several possibilities for the day, and as we walked up the valley (trying to stay on trail) we dreamed up a few more. Everything looked good (see below), but where exactly were our peaks?

Mount Everly

After a few stops with the map and foggy minds trying to recollect the trip reports we had read (my mind is just foggy- theirs were probably all working on theorems), we finally decided to walk to the head of the valley and start with the north ridge of Murdock.

When we got there, is wasn't obvious where the summit was- or which one, for that matter. But we finally decided that the little bump near the center of the picture was the summit, and the way to get there was to follow the vegetation up just right of the summit.

Murdock Peak

As we got higher, it became obvious that we were on track.

It was also obvious that Malorey, immediately behind Alex and Steve, is a little steeper.

Malorey Peak
When we got to the top of Malorey we were having so much fin doing this most excellent ridge walk that we decided to keep going. And going. And going. You can probably walk the entire ridgeline to RockRoll Peak. But first we had to go to the bump in the center, then off to the right. Ridge
From the right-hand bump in the previous picture, this is looking farther out our ridge. Up and down, repeat as necessary. That's the high Pioneers on the distant horizon. More ridge

From the next bump on the ridge, this is looking back at the high Boulders.


We finally reached a point where we were looking down at this, the saddle visible on the left of the opening panorama shot. The pups had sore feet so we needed to head down instead of following the ridge even farther. had we, I think we could have walked to the highpoint in the distance, Rock Roll Peak (which I climbed back in 2004).


Alex's pictures

Rock Roll Peak

Sunday- Grays Peak

I asked Mariel what peak she might be interested in. She picked Grays. This is again a peak I climbed with Art and Carol in 2008. But I was actually excited to climb it again, especially with my daughter and at her request.

So we rolled out at an appropriately casual time for denizens of a mountain town, starting up the trail at the crack of 8:45.

Fall is here, folks. It was cool as we headed up the trail from Federal Gulch. And that was a good thing, because although these two were casual about getting started, it was anything but casual as we headed up the hill.


We hit the saddleright at 10am, which means 3.5 miles and 1800' of gain in about 1:15. Good thing it was cool.


We had a 'breakfast' of Hailey Coffee Company breakfast burritos (well, part on one), yet still got to the top in another 90 minutes. Despite the previous poor weather prediction, it was one of those wonderful Idaho autumn days- clear as a bell. We named peaks for a while and stuffed our bellies with the rest of those burritos.

Grays summit
Then it was time to head down. Art on Everly

We decided to make a loop of it, so on the return we followed the ridge just left of center. The trail we ascended follows the creek bottom just left of the ridge.

On the way down the ridge we followed fairly constant elk trails with only a few short hiccups. The ridgetop was nice because there was a constant breeze along with constant views.

When we got back to the car it was about 70°. Nap time!

This was a fabulous weekend for the old man. Many thanks to all my partners.

View to the NW

Mr. Natural Home | 2010 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski