Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow, Rock, and a little Ice on Cervidae

At the end of last week, a freak storm blew in from the west and dropped a record amount of snow, and brought single digit night time temperatures with it.

Short on time, and without my skis (they are in the shop), I still wanted to get outside this last weekend and take advantage of the early start to winter.

My friend Troy was equally short on time, but I promised we could leave Boise at 8am Sunday morning and be back by lunch.  He was in.

Destination:  The rock route on Cervidae!

The "rock route" can be seen high on the ridge on the right side of the photo. 

When we parked the car, the thermometer read 8 degrees F.  We crossed the road, hopped the fence, and began trudging uphill through 8-10 inches of dry fluffy powder.  I had forgotten my gaiters by the door at home, and was quickly sorry as my boots filled with snow and my toes tingled, and then went numb.

As we trudged uphill in the cold shade, we looked across at a beautifully snow covered Lucky Peak.

Troy, with a white Lucky Peak in the background.
At the base of the rock route, we threw on some crampons, enjoyed a little hot cocoa, and then headed up!
The initial 15 foot headwall is harder than it looks to surmount, and probably the crux of the route.  After toying with going straight up and over, and then looking down at the ankle breaking talus below, we both decided to take the easy way and traverse in from high and right.  After all, this route was supposed to be class 3, and we were here to have fun!
Troy, at the top of the initial headwall.  Pulling over the top proved to be a bit trickier of a move than we were willing to commit to over the crappy talus landing, so we opted for an easier traverse in from the right.  
More fun mixed scrambling followed.  
Troy, approaching another formidable obstacle, which we skirted on the left.  
There were a few small drips of ice, but not too much.  At one point Troy decided to take off his crampons since they were a  bit awkward on the uneven, snow covered rock.  Shortly after this he regretted the decision, as we had to pull over an icy bulge right at the top of the route.  After a few false starts, Troy managed to pull the move in complete control, even without his spikes. 

Troy all smiles after finishing the route!
After topping out the route, we followed the ridge up and tagged the summit.  On top, we enjoyed some well earned victory beers!


After leaving the summit, we ran, jumped, and hooted our way down the west ridge, ending right back at the car with huge grins on our faces!  Overall a pretty good adventure only a short drive from home!

video




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