Hiking day number 2 in Idaho. This ended up being a solo venture, but it was a great snowshoe. The Cross and Avalanche Peak are lower mountains in the northern Boulder Mountains. This was a very easy snowshoe that would be great for all levels.
Drive HWY 75 north to Galena Pass, on the north side of the pass park in the pull-out on the east side of the road. This is the trailhead for both of these mountains. I don’t know that this is an official TH, but based on the amount of tracks I saw it gets plenty of use. I put my snowshoes on in the parking area and I was off around 8am.
Follow the main track that leads to the southwest ridge. Once on the main ridge there were numerous ski/snowshoe tracks from here on out. Find the correct tracks to follow (snowshoe or ski) then simply follow the route to the summit of The Cross. I decided to have a bit more fun and do a more direct route on the south side allowing me to take in the morning views of the Boulder Mountains. After a short steep climb I was on the rocky summit of The Cross.
From The Cross I could see Avalanche Peak was still a ways away and there was no real snowshoe track leading in the direction I needed to go. Easy fix; plow my own road. After dropping down a hundred feet or so off the summit I saw some additional tracks heading to the east. I followed a snowshoe track to the flat saddle between the two mountains till the track died out. The track also appeared to have what looked like Wolf tracks, but I cannot confirm that. The animal tracks were fresh while the old tracks seemed really old and crusted over. No animal sightings other than a squirrel or two though.
I just plowed my own road up most of Avalanche peak which was fun to do. At some points the snow was hard and I was able to stay on top and other points I would drop to shin level but never deeper than that. I was mainly following my GPS to the summit so I arrived at what I though was a summit on the southwest. After recalling Dan’s pictures from www.idahosummits.com the summit on the northeast looked more like where he topped out at. That was a simple two minute walk over and then I was finally on top of Avalanche Peak.
|Pano Looking South|
|Me on the Summit of Avalanche Peak|
The clouds were starting to lower a bit, and the wind was chilly so I took a quick fuel break, snapped a few pictures and started on my venture down the mountain. I met up with my ascent track minus the walk up to the south summit and it was a quick walk down to the saddle area. Instead of re-ascending The Cross, I followed another track around the north side that kept my additional elevation gain to a minimum.
In no time at all I was back to the parking lot and another trip was in the books. This was a great snowshoe after a fun climb of Gladiator a few days prior. The Boulder Mountains seem to be talking to me a little bit right now, so I guess I will have to come back and climb them all. Such a beautiful range that I neglected all my years living in Idaho…shame on me! Hell, I may even try to squeeze in another hike tomorrow. It’s the addiction I tell you. Have fun and be safe out there.
Starting Elevation: 8,656ft
The Cross: 9,225ft
Avalanche Peak: 9,443ft
Total Gained Elevation: 1,500ft
Distance: 3.83 miles
Time: 2:16 moving, 35 stopped.
Climbing Partner: Solo