Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Cross and Avalanche Peak

The Cross 
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.
Avalanche Peak
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 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.
GPS Track
Date: 11/30/2013
Starting Elevation: 8,656ft
The Cross: 9,225ft
Avalanche Peak: 9,443ft
Total Gained Elevation: 1,500ft
Class: 2
Distance:  3.83 miles
Time: 2:16 moving, 35 stopped. 
Climbing Partner: Solo

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