Little Alps, OR

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A new area, the Little Alps, is an instant hit.

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

I told Michael I would go anywhere he wanted. He picked the Little Alps, a collection of peaks around Anthony Lakes, which sounded like a grand adventure to me. I had been here about 25 years ago with Carl, so I had little memory.

We left Boise at 5:30, and despite the ground fog and a bit of ice, we were on our feet a little before 9:15 (Boise time, because we had entered Pacific Time zone). We parked at the Anthony Lakes Nordic Center (requires a Recreation Parking Pass) and proceeded around the lake on the snowshoe trail.

That's Lees Peak on the left, Lakes Lookout Peak on the right.

Morning

A little closer at hand, this is Gunsight Peak.

One peak not yet visible is Angell Peak. From this vantage point it is right behind Gunsight.

Shortcut
We followed the map and roughly followed the skiers' up-track. When we got to the top of Lees Peak, it was with some trepidation that we realized that this rocky block on the right was slightly higher than the (much easier) rocks just to the east (behind the photographer). But if you look closely you can see my boot prints in the snow. I tagged the top, but I did not stand on it. "Good enough for who it's for." Skinning
In this picture, you can see the easier, slightly lower (maybe two feet?) summit. Camas Prairie
From the lower summit (where we could stand easily) this is the summit of Lakes Lookout Peak in the near distance. Camas Prairie
As we started over to Angell, we got a better view of the top of Lees. This sort of explains why I wasn't too eager to stand on top. Camas Prairie

Then it was up Angell Peak. We had spied a route through the rocks that looked quite narrow. On arrival, it was a super-highway.

Camas Prairie

The card-table sized summit of Angell was crusted in rime with a coating of snow, but we each stood on it anyway. There was an awesome couloir right underneath, but no skis. Wah!

That's the summit of Lees Peak in the background.

Upper mountain

Then it was time to head over to Gunsight. It looks different from this angle, but you can still see the prominent notch (so being a little fuzzy in the head, I kept calling it Notch Peak).

If you look closely, you can see the ski area parking lot to the left of the peak.

Mariel cranks some turns

But first we had to negotiate a very steep hillside. For this section, we removed our snowshoes and booted it. As we neared the end of the traverse, the snow was so hard I could no longer kick steps. I felt much better knowing my crampons were in the bottom of my pack.

Then we continued just a bit farther along the ridge in our boots. This was a wonderful opportunity for mid-thigh and deeper post holes.

After putting our snowshoes back on, we started working our way down, across, and then up the ridge through amazing sastrugi. We occasionally fell off 6' walls of powder, then clambered desperately back up the other side, slipping and sliding on the powder treadmill.

Mariel cranks some turns

And then we were on Gunsight Peak.

We found a steep and slippery descent route that included a shortcut and a gully that was steep enough to allow a butt glissade, even though there was about 6" of powder. Yeehaw!

 

 

Note: We really enjoyed this day, and I thought the snow today was very safe. But I would caution anyone following our tracks to know how to read avalanche conditions. We got into some very steep terrain.

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