Rice Peak


A long ski gets a really cool and remote (especially in winter) Rice Peak.

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

This trip was actually Plan B, taken when our ski around Crater Lake was cancelled due to avy concerns. So after skiing Sargent's yesterday, we loaded up at a casual hour and skied away from the Warm Lake highway right at 11.

This would be our last view of the peak until we were almost to the top.

Off in the distance

It looked like the snomos were going to make it easy traveling, but the tracks you see here were melt-freeze, so it was like skiing on semi-conglomerated ice cubes. Very, very slow and unstable.


Crossing the highway

As the day warmed up, the snow softened and we were feeling a little happier. Even so, skiing in to Stolle Meadows takes some time. Then the meadows themselves appear to go on forever.

When we skied through here in 2006 there were tons of wolf tracks. This time none. Not one.

Stolle Meadows

But there were other things to look at. This shot to the west is Cougar Rock (another climbing shot for Ralph).

Cougar Rock

And this one behind us, so now looking North, is Thunderbolt.The Dear Tom Lopez book says Thunderbolt may have the best views of all the Salmon River mountains.

Thunderbolt Mtn

We made really good time, skiing in about 11 miles before setting up camp. Bonus: there was still enough sun left in the day to dry out our sweaty gear.

During the night we had our only notable wildlife encounter when at about 1am I heard a flight of geese pass overhead. They must have closed out Foresters and were heading for more nightlife in Boise.

Winter camping?
After a long winter night in the tent, we were eager to get going the next morning. But first you have to melt some snow. And it's cold. Bird found it all pretty entertaining. G'day mate!

From our camp, it was only about half a mile to the start of the trail. Bird is coming DOWN in the picture, so it is obviously out of order, but when we skied through here in the morning it was too dark for a good picture of the trail sign.

There are actually three different trails that take you to the lookout. But this one looked the best for skiers.

Trailhead sign

The early parts of the trail were barely discernible, and then it was impossible. No problem. We cruised through the woods chasing open spots and comparing our surroundings to the map. Neither of us had ever been here, and other than a quick glimpse near the car, you don't see the peak until quite late in the trip. So navigation was interesting, but fun.

This is the first real view you get.... and you're almost there! Our first peek
Because you've been following a series of drainages, gaining the summit ridge was also the the first time we could really see the surrounding area. Gaining the summit ridge
Because we couldn't see it from afar, we had been wondering if there would be a safe way to the summit. It was with some relief that we determined it was. Steep, but safe. Lookout
We skied in and around the cornices and sastrugi until it was simply too steep. Then we booted the last 200 yards or so. Booting

Summit. It was right at 4 hours for the climb.

For a look at the lookout and surround area in summer, check out Pictures of Cascade.

We hung out for a bit, but the wind seemed to be coming from all directions, including blowing straight up. I checked the door on the dilapidated lookout, but it was nailed shut. So we stuffed a much-needed bite of food and headed down in search of a quiet place for a real lunch.


Awesome views in all directions, but I'm only going to share this one tasty bit. You'll have to go see for yourself.


We got back to the tent for a round trip of about 6 hours. Then, with a low combined IQ, we decided we could make it a 19 mile day and ski out. Let me tell you, that last half mile seemed to go on forever.


Mr. Natural Home | 2012 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski