I had met Kevin last year at a snow
skills seminar I gave to some of
the fellow Idaho Summits regulars and
had told them that if they ever wanted to
climb,give me a call.
Well, Kevin called and wondered if I would
be interested in a weekend trip in the
Sawtooths--I'm always willing to go if I have the
time, so we started planning. We were supposed to
meet at about 4pm to head out of town, but at 5pm when I was still
at work I told him to go to Grandjean without me. So he and Matt headed
out of town and I eventually got to the trail head at about 11pm.
We headed out in the dark up the Baron Lake trail, neither Kevin or
Matt were very familiar with the area, so as the sun came up they were
pretty amazed at the scenery. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get to
Moolak Creek and head off the trail up the mountain.
A little bushwhacking and a couple of ticks over the next hour took us
to the snow fields below the West face. The conditions were pretty
good and we only post-holed in a few spots. The snow held pretty well
and we swapped leads kicking steps as we worked our way up to the
West ridge. The closer we got to the ridge, the deeper the post holes got
and we eventually got off the snow and onto the rock on the ridge to
make life easier.
We started scrambling up to the summit block and Matt was doing very
well for his first "Technical" Sawtooth summit. As the ridge ended and the
final 100 feet of the summit block was left, we started scrambling up the
somewhat rotten rock. It seemed like Kevin and Matt were a little tentative
at first through the mostly 3rd class section to the summit block, but they
got more comfortable as the climbing continued and before long we were
on the summit in perfectly clear blue skies and little to no wind.
After the obligatory summit shots and lunch we headed down.
I had told them about the 3000 foot glissade possibility back to the trail,
so it was scramble down the South ridge and then into the softening
snow for the ride down the mountain, I have seen more snow in the
couloir in past years, but other than a few rocky spots we were able to
glissade and scramble back to the trail.
I had warned both Kevin and Matt about the never ending trail back to
the car and they both believed me after the 3 hour hike back. I have
hiked that trail dozens of times and it seems to just keep getting longer
After a stale donut and some warm Gatorade, it was a nice drive back to
Boise to just miss the time cut-off to meet the 10-10-24 criteria I had
made up many years ago to test my fitness.(Minimum of 10 miles on
the trail-Minimum of 10,000 total vertical feet-24 hours doorstep to
The difference was it used to take me 24 hours to recover--now it
takes about 2 weeks.