Wildhorse peak 3-13-2010

>Sometimes, when you least expect it, a plan comes together. This fall, a few of us hatched an idea to outfit the old fire lookout on Wildhorse peak in the hopes of spending some considerable time touring and skiing that end of the White Knobs. While provisioning, we thought of everything but the consequences of a crummy snow year and after more than two months of waiting in vain for something significant to fall from above, I skinned on up.
Although the trail on the lower 2/3 of the climb was covered with blown in snow, the hillsides were disappointingly bare. The weather on Saturday was pretty rancid but I moved along at a normal pace until the snow changed dramatically at about 8,700’. The last half mile was,,,,, endured. 36” of Trap-door rubbish left me kicking hard for every step miserable step and my mood started circling the drain with the realization of how absurdly dangerous the skiing would be. I plugged along for more than five hours on a hike usually accomplished in less than two and I was damn glad to tumble into the shack when I finally hit the top.
The wind was blowing way too hard to chance opening any of the shutters and even though I was comfortable, I hit the sack feeling like I was sleeping in a tool shed. At about 4:00 am the wind quit completely and the next day dawned bluebird and utterly still. After all that whimpering and lamentation, I spent one of the best winter days I’ve had in the mountains lazing about in hot sunshine while enjoying one of the finest vistas in the state.

Murphy swims by. The dogs were exceptionally well behaved once the snow got deep. They either stayed in my tracks or had to jump like monkeys to make their own.

The clouds were really starting to break up as the wind pushed them out. 6″ of new snow blankets the Lost River range. The summit of Mt. Borah (middle) hides in what’s left.

Room with a view
I couldn’t resist trying some turns, the aspect is east facing, 25 deg. I’ll burn up the better part of a stick of P-Tex as my pennance.


7 responses to “Wildhorse peak 3-13-2010

  1. >Awesome…the Bedstead, Goat, Hyndman, Cobb, Old H. Quite the view! The photo of Murphy made me smile ;-). Sadly, winter is coming to a close…but then that opens up new possibilities! JB

  2. >I love the stuff you are doing Wes. I hope we get to ski some lines this spring before it all goes into the Columbia River

  3. >Wow that sounds like quite the fun adventure. Definitely worth the trek, such a good feeling to wake up to in the morning. Good going on getting the fire lookout up and going. The pics are amazing. Quite the view from your windows.

  4. >Nice Wes! Aki said you guys had revamped the lookout! Awesome! I've been trying to get some info on snowpack on the east side of the Pios… sounds a little grim. Are the snowmobilers riding around the Wildhorse turnoff? Or is there not enough snow for that? Any and all info is much appreciated. Thanks Wes!

  5. >Marc, The road is only plowed to the Wildhorse Creek Ranch, beyond that it's packed by snowmobile and although it's not deep, I was only able to drive about a half mile further. Early this winter I took a drive to Wildhorse CG and noticed the snow was quite a bit deeper on that side of the valley. I talked to some guys who had been up the canyon on snowmachines and reported big ice dams on the road but not much snow. Conditions in the Pio's look much better than the White Knobs but they're still pretty thin and unless we get something significant this spring, it will be a short season back there. I've been hoping for a winter shot at Mustang Peak for a few years now, maybe it's time to look at a ski off of of it. Wes

  6. >Thanks for the conditions report Wes! I've been trying to get over there this winter, but it hasn't panned out. I agree with you that it might be a short spring! I just came out of the Perch area in the Sawtooths and was surprised to find that it felt and looked like May, not the middle of March! Look for a post on South Central with some pics from our trip.Cheers, MarcPS – Is Pass Creek and/or Double Springs Pass drivable?

  7. >WOW, that is awesome! You haven't missed much over there this winter, I've had my eyes on it and the snow just hasn't come in. Pass Creek and Double Springs are still both closed, but I'd bet it won't be long before they open Pass Creek, there's not much snow in there.

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