UPDATE: After consulting Lopez’s “Idaho, A Climbing Guide”, it appears we were on the north ridge of Lame Jake Peak.
So Layne P., Paul F., and I had an idea to ski Diamond Peak last week. The weather didn’t cooperate, so we moved it to yesterday. We’d seen Dean’s photos of the south face and knew that the coverage looked pretty thin, but hey, it could be OK. Once we turned onto Pass Creek road and headed west though, the magnitude of carrying our skis up the mountain hoping it would have some coverage sank in and we bailed on that idea. But just across the canyon to the north stood a high face with what looked like pretty decent coverage. We quickly changed plans and the adventure began.
Fortunately, Layne was driving his ’88 4Runner with some beefy tires, which made the drive down various 4-wheeler roads quite fun. The only snow drifts we crossed were frozen hard and uphill (meaning downhill on the way out when they were soft, and boy were they soft!) We got pretty close to the approach ridge and started hiking.
The ridge climb was really not bad, just enough crotch-deep postholing and bush-snagging to make us appreciate how generally open and good it was.
We were a little concerned that the surface wasn’t softening up, we had a high overcast and a chilly north breeze for most of the climb. We switched to crampons higher on the ridge, but probably didn’t even need to, but it was good practice. We were tempted by a HUGE open bowl on the north side of our ridge, but it had a more northerly aspect with rock hard cups up top, and it was shorter, so we stayed our course.
Once on top we took a leisurely stroll down the ridge to gawk at the amazing vista of mountain ranges visible. Wow, so much potential out there.
By the time we got back and clicked into our skis, we’d almost waited to long. The clouds were gone, the northerly breeze didn’t really affect the easterly aspect we were skiing, and the snow was nice and soft. Now, the point where I kick myself, I adjusted my GoPro wrong so all of my footage of the upper bowl is pointing down too far to be useful. But trust me, it was lots of fun. At the bottom of the bowl, and visible on Google Earth, is a super fun canal-like feature about 10 feet wide.
We dropped down the obvious slide path and really expected to bushwhack from there on out. But, to our great surprise and enjoyment, we were able to ski all the way down to where we needed to climb back out of the canyon to the truck.
It was a great adventure, and rekindled something in me. It’s been a while since I’ve gone somewhere new, with no information, no idea of whether the idea will work, and been able to look back and feel that sense of accomplishment. It was just a great adventure with great friends. Thanks guys!