Picnic Point


Art named this one Picnic Point.

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Art and I had been talking about a shortcut to Boulder Peak since we skied the road last spring, then Brian and I snowshoed it. It's Winter Carnival today, so we decided to avoid town and give it a shot. We parked at the snowmo trail head on Lick Creek road and skied down the East Fork to the outlet.


Then we cruised across the empty bed of Little Payette Lake. The snags reminded me of walking on the beach in Oregon.

As you can tell from the photo, there was a little fluff (frost, actually) on top of a somewhat-supportive crust. It seemed to support Art, but not me. boohoo.

Skiing the lake

Here's your next avalanche waiting to happen. It's hard to believe that the frost feathers could get bigger, but they are still growing.

Our wax was working reasonably well in the frost on the flats, but under the drip zone of trees was solid ice. And in steeper terrain, the frost would give way under the ski tails, making climbing miserable. I put on my kicker skins, which only helped some.


But there just wasn't much snow to start with. As we headed up the valley, there wasn't enough to cover the downfall, nor the willows. After a pretty short discussion, we changed objectives and decided to climb the rocks. The duckbills on cross-country boots make this an especially appealing task. But hey- it was mostly on dry ground. In January!

Art found a cool gully route through the cliffs. It was very technical Class II. Gully

Almost there.

We admired the glacial erratics.

On top, there were too many trees to get really photogenic. You can see lots, but it's always between branches. Here's Nick Peak. Nick

We scrambled back to our skis, then headed back. On our 'groomed' track, we were able to scoot pretty good.

We took a break on a downed log, sitting in the sun for a leisurely lunch. The topics ranged widely, per usual. Sorry, we didn't solve any world problems.

Map Map
After we got back to the truck, we took a quick spin to the end of the road to check on the ice. There might be a route here, but it's too thin for screws so you'll want to throw a top rope. We'll have to give it a go later in the week. Ice

From there, we headed over to ski the Crestline Trail. The State of Idaho has blocked off the trail head (for private use!), so we drove down the road a bit to find a place wide enough to park, then we shortcut it and skied up to the yurt.

By this time it was quite warm and the snow was corning up in the sun. Because neither of us was packing klister, this turned into an endurance event.

The trip back down was quick but tricky because the snowmachines had rutted it up and packed it hard (actually, this made it hard to climb, too, because you couldn't get your wax down on flat snow). Trying to stay on your feet at speed was a challenge as your skis engaged or disengaged from the ruts at random. Yeehaw!

All told, we skied about 9 miles with maybe 1500' of climbing. That's not a lot, but it was tough conditions. We need more snow!

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