I’ve had this little gem squirreled away from my alpine climbing days of tromping around the Lemhi and Lost River Ranges. This season in particular, has been filled with motivation to explore the alpine again albeit with a different objective in mind. Instead of seeking out ephemeral mixed climbing routes I’ve become quite addicted to exploring the vast ski mountaineering potential in the Lems and Lost River Range. Both are beautiful and unique ranges filled with seemingly endless potential for adventure.
I left home at 3:45am to meet up with Turbo at Sage Junction. We wanted an early start to take advantage of the cold overnight temps before the rapid warming of the June sun increased the avalanche potential.
We made quick time from the car to the mouth of the couloir where we stowed our skis and put our spikes on. The bottom of the couloir was littered with old avalanche debris but shortly after smooth soft snow filled the gut of our steep arching chute.
We ascended the couloir quickly; taking turns swimming upward. As we neared the top, a small sluff poured down the gut. Our position along the climbers right wall kept us clear of the fast flowing debris. Just above us i could spy the top of the ridge, not too far away. Turbo watched for debris as i darted across to a safe perch on the opposite side of the couloir so i could get a good look at what was above. Another larger sluff poured down as i reached my safe little nook. I could see that a snow bench above the right wall, near the top was getting baked in the sun and small wet sluffs would release and drop into our couloir. After the third sluff, all within a few minutes of each other, we pulled the plug on continuing the few hundred feet to the summit.
Back across the couloir and in the safety of a dihedral, we put our skis on and one at a time, leapfrogged down a safe line along the skiers left edge of the couloir.
The Perspiration/Inspiration Cirque is one of the more rugged alpine zones I’ve experienced in the Lemhis. Abundant couloir lines exist on a variety of aspects. I know I’ll definitely go back to explore other high quality possibilities. The Perspiration Couloir is worthy of the “CLASSIC” tittle with its simple approach, aesthetic position, and validity of line… how could it not be??