Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gladiator Peak

Gladiator Peak
It’s Thanksgiving again so that means it is our annual trip back to Hailey, Idaho.  With almost a week in Idaho I am hoping to climb a few mountains, so this report of Gladiator Peak is number one for the week.  I attempted Gladiator last Thanksgiving with my friend Mike, and we were battling snow thigh high from a different route than this, so I had to come back and give this mountain another try.
Early Morning in the Boulders
I did some research this time via and, both websites I frequently used when climbing mountains in Idaho.  For this trip I would hike the southwest ridge.  I wanted to wait for it to be light so I left Hailey about 6am and was to the pull-out on HWY 75 by 7am.
For TH parking on this trip I drove north on HWY 75 past Galena Lodge then just before the first switchback I parked at the pull-out on the west side of the road.  It was dark still being just after 7am, so I took my time getting geared up.  If anyone is going to follow my GPS Track for this report I would follow the southern traverse rather than the northern traverse to the southwest ridge.  There is much less dead fall to contend with, my hike out was quite nice though. 
Summit Ridge
Once I met up with NF-182 I headed up the steep slopes to meet the southwest ridge, after gaining the ridge it mellowed out a bit.  Don’t get me wrong, it was steep and I was huffing and puffing but I was at least on the planned route now.
Something I forgot to mention was I left my snowshoes in the truck.  I didn’t think they would be too effective, and I wanted to shed as much weight as I could.  The snow was hit-and-miss, so some parts of the route they would have been good and some parts with the powder it wouldn’t have mattered too much.  I weigh about 260 and with a pack I find snowshoes more of a drag in the early season, so that’s why I left them in the truck.  I was dropping mid shin for quite a bit of the trip which slowed me down, but I just took my time with it.  This is where the mental toughness of solo hiking comes in.  I just don’t rush myself and take it one step at a time.  Eventually the goal of the summit is usually had.  With the perfect weather today I knew I had plenty of time.  I love solo hiking, and I primarily did solo when climbing in Idaho, so it was nice to get a trip out by myself.  Solo climbs are great for clearing your mind.
Turkey Tracks
It was basically a trudge, but I still thought I was moving at a decent pace.  When I first saw the summit from below I thought it was the false summit.  So, when I found I was on the false summit, I was happy to see I wasn’t too far from the true summit. The last 500ft or so to the main summit ridge was time consuming, but the view was endless.  After attaining the summit ridge I saw I had a bit to go to get to the far end, and from what I have read online that is the true summit.  The funny thing was running into turkey tracks along the ridge.  That sure is fitting for turkey day.
The crux was the traverse over the far northeast end of the ridge.  The snow was powdery and filling in the holes around the rocks.  I took my sweet time but made it over to the true summit a little before 11am.
I didn’t feel any wind till I was on the summit, so I put on my down jacket and had a snack.  The views were out of this world today.  This was one of those days where you just sit there and take in the view for as long as you can.  Castle Peak was looking amazing, one I have yet to climb.  I foresee a trip coming up for that in the near future.
Castle Peak
It was time to head down so I got my stuff back together.  Typically I don’t do the Cliff Gels, but I had one today and it helped immensely on the way down.  It seemed like I was making good time down the mountain so I just kept going till I hit the forest service road.  There was nothing exciting to note on the trip down.  I just knew I needed to get back for turkey dinner.  I took a different route back to the road heading more south to avoid the ups and downs and the downfall area.  This is the route I would do again, and maybe bring some snowshoes.
It was a great adventure today, and now it’s nice to be back with the family and enjoying all the smells of Thanksgiving.  The plan for Saturday is the Cross and Avalanche Peak, so hopefully there is a new TR coming soon.
GPS Track
Date: 11/28/2013
Starting Elevation: 7,636ft
Gladiator Peak: 10,243ft
Total Gained Elevation: 3,000ft
Class: 2
Distance:  5.81 miles
Time: 4:17 moving, 1:35 stopped. 
Climbing Partner: Solo

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