Monday, April 28, 2014

Dickey Peak 11,145 ft
High point: Pahsimeroi Mountain Range, Idaho

Dickey Peak
Dickey Peak has been on my list for several years. It’s accessibility from Highway 93 and short, steep approach has been appealing. I also knew it had back country ski possibilities and was looking for Lost River options for Steve. An excellent weather window was forecast for Easter weekend, 2014, so we set our sights on Easter Sunday and headed out from Pocatello a little before 5 a.m.  Driving through Mackay, we immediately noticed the snow was coming off the south and western aspects of the Lost River peaks quickly. As we turned off the road to Arentson Gulch and were able to evaluate our west/northwest ridge approach, it was immediately obvious that there would be no “skinning up” for Steve. Scattered snow patches along our approach were going to mean a few wardrobe/gear changes along the way.

The Pashimeroi Mountains
We parked off the road at 7,459 feet, which we later learned would be a good spot. We started out about 8.15 a.m. The dry land section proceeded quickly and then we were in the lower level snowfields. We were able to make our way all the way through this section with the rare, knee to crotch-deep post hole.  The wind was light and the temperature comfortable as we moved from the continuous snow field to pick our way thought the scree field and snow patches of the steepest section to the upper ridge. 

At about 10,680 feet is where we chose crampons and axes to proceed to the summit. The snow was quite good but on the warm side in places. It could have been kick stepped for the most part, but it was faster not to. The wind stayed light and calm and it was deliciously silent, except for our movements. We were at the summit around 2.30 p.m., which is exceptionally slow (totally me there) and included gear changes and adjustments,. With no wind, perfect temps, and silence, it was so pleasant….nothing was threatening and other than knowing there would be warm(er) snow to deal with down low, no real reason to rush…it truly was a Sunday stroll.

The summit views were stunning, as they are in spring: crisp blue sky, bright white snow, and dark terrain features, punctuated with greens and browns as far as the eye could see. At the summit we looked at our descent options. There was a number of glissade options, but most of them involved a long traverse across Dickey’s base to return to the car. So we headed back toward our original glissade option that paralleled our ascent. As we set up to glissade our biggest concern was snow depth. If the snow was thin, we’d either have to plunge step down or go back to the ridge and take the screeway. Steve went first. Yea! It was perfect, so perfect in fact that I started sliding before I had my axe positioned.  Millisecond correction later and it was everything I (we) could do to not just slide all the way down the gully. What fun! 

We then hiked over rocks back to the lower snowfield and donned snowshoes for the lesser-fun section. The snow trolls had great fun placing random (post) holes for our pleasure and their entertainment. It wasn't horrible, but it might have made the top five. Back on dry land we headed over to the road to find it had turned into a river. Good thing we hadn't taken it farther up. Soon, we were back at the car, beer, chips, sandals and smiles.  On Easter Sunday, I am grateful to still be on mountain tops in exquisite weather! For more photos of this Idaho classic click here!    

4.6 mi (round trip)
3,832 ft (Garmin) gain
Total time: 10 hours (if you're not lollygagging you can knock this off much, much faster)
Weather: clear, below freezing (start) ~ 45 degrees (high) on mountain, no wind

1 comment:

deb said...

Great TR with good details! Still on my list and this trip report is very motivating. Thanks for sharing this, Margo!