Matt's 12er Record Write-up
On Tuesday, the 19th, drove to the Lemhis, and Diamond Peak. Arrived at the trailhead, and waited until noon. My purpose in starting at noon was to use only half the day, and then travel in the dark. I had climbed Diamond previously, so it went fairly smoothly- about 7:15 total time. After finishing the mountain, drove to Lost River Range.
In the morning, Wednesday, 20th, I was at Mount Idaho. I had not climbed this mountain, and it was a tough one for me. I had short sleep, and I was not in "climbing mode" yet. I started at 0600, and ended up bonking about noon. I took my time, drank some electrolytes, and ended up finishing in about 12 hours--very slow. I saw your name in the register on this mountain! Since I was running late, my brother used the time to hike into the base of Mount Church and Donaldson Peak. He found us a decent place to spend the night. When I got back to the valley, I shuttled over to Jones Creek, took a spit bath, and hiked up to meet him. I arrived shortly after dark, and he guided me in with his flashlight.
On Thursday, 21st, at about 0600, I climbed the saddle, and then onto Church. I then retraced my steps to Donaldson. On the descent, I followed someone else's skree-ski path, and ended up getting cliffed. I had to lower myself over a ledge, and drop the about four more feet. This day was tough for me too, because I am not strong at exposure and scrambling. It helped a little that I had climbed Donaldson on a previous exploration trip. I got to the bottom at about 1800 (again, a pretty slow climb). I took another spit bath at Jones Creek, and then drove to the East side of Leatherman. this road was slow, and it took about two hours. I started up the trail at about 2030, with the plan of camping in the meadows near Leatherman Pass. I never made it, (too dark) and ended up camping about halfway up the trail. It rained pretty good that night.
On Friday, 22nd, I was on the trail at six, and summitted Leatherman not too long after. As I climbed the ridgeline, the rain clouds covered the peak, and I hiked in the clouds for the last 300 yards (very cool!). I was back at the trailhead at 1215. The gray rain clouds followed me all the way out, and it was raining off and on most of the day after that. This climb was easy, beautiful, and fun, I would recomend it to anyone, but the access road is really bad. I think I could have climbed another mountain in this day, but with thunderclouds everywhere, it wasn't a good idea. I had a good bed this night, but the thunderstorm kept me awake worrying. According to a local, it was the worst storm they had had that summer.
On Saturday, 23rd, I was up at 0430, and drove to the base of Lost River Peak. I started in the dark at about 0500, and was in the scree by daylight. I summited Lost River, and then started my descent down the super-gully. At that point, I saw another party coming up (the only other climbers I had seen up til then). I later found out that two of these men were climbing their last twelver. I don't recall their names, but there license plates were from Jerome and Twin Falls. I waited about ten minutes for them to clear the chute, and then descended the main route to about 10,500 feet. At that point, I turned Northeast, and traversed into the scree basin below Breitenbach. I climbed Breitenbach and then came down Pete Creek. I finished these two mountains in a little under 12 hours. I am very proud of this climb. I had scouted for traverses earlier in the summer, but I could not find any that were within my ability. This traverse at 10,500 was the closest I could get, so I did it old-school! Alot of climbing. I hurried over to Borah, and hiked into the small campsite at 10,600. I felt lucky to get it, because there had been 35 cars in the parking lot that morning!
On Sunday, 24th, I was up at 0600, and was on Chicken-out ridge pretty shortly. It doesn't match the hype, and I felt it was considerably easier than many other of the twelvers. I am grateful that the snowbridge was gone due to the drought and the hot summer. I was off the mountain by 1145. Since I had finished earlier than I had planned, I decided to hustle over to Hydnman, in the Pioneer Range, and try to finish in daylight. I got to the Hailey area, and the trailhead in the earlier afternoon, about 1345. I had climbed Hyndman earlier and had kind of planned that I might have to hike it in the dark. As it turned out, I was able to get up and down pretty quickly. It took me a litle more than 5 and 3/4 hours round trip. I mountain biked the flat. Hey, it's legal!!!
I finished at 127 hours, 38 minutes.
I rank the twelvers in the following order for difficulty:
1. Mount Church and Donaldson Peak (climbed together)
2. Mount Idaho
3. Lost River Peak
4. Diamond Peak
5. Mount Breitenbach
6. Borah Peak
7. Hyndman Peak
8. Leatherman Peak
I would reccomend that anyone climbing these mountains should spend the money to get good gear. I really saved myself a lot of suffering and wasted time by having the following: Trekking poles, a hydration bladder with a bite valve, an internal frame pack, scree gaiters (homemade, thanks Grandma!), good boots with a HEEL, 5-mile walkie-talkies, good topographic maps (7.5 minute), top quality jacket.
During the week, I wore the nylon off my trekking pole tips, wore the sides out on my boots, wore through the cable on one of my scree gaiters, wore the seat out of a pair of shorts.
I packed the following every day: 3-4 liters of water and gatorade, lunch, camera, walkie-talkie, jacket with a hood, gloves, long stretch pants, extra socks, headlamp, duct tape, athletic tape, knife, compass, map, reflective emergency blanket, helmet, hat, pen. Other things might be useful: suncreen, cd-player(scree fields are mind-numbing), chapstick, On nights when I spent the night on the mountain, I took my sleeping pad, and sleeping bag, along with extra food.
I had trouble with low salts on two occasions. I bonked twice during the trip. To avoid this, I drank alot of strongly mixed gatorade, and took a electrolyte supplement tablet. The weather was highly variable, so one day it might be 90 degrees, and the next might be 40 at the summit.
I saw the following wildlife: humming bird, mountain goat, chipmunks, squirrels, pika?, deer, golden eagle, various hawks, horned lizards, pine hens, blue-tailed skink, night hawks, lots of jays, coyotes, several others....
My crew was invaluable. My older brother Ben hiked with me, or preceded me on five of the eight approaches. I always summited alone, but the theory was that if I needed assistance, he would be close enough to come and help me. But since he didn't often go above 10,000 feet, he was also fresh enough to bail us both out if we needed it. Also, he was able to locate and reserve campsites. My dad did the driving, and cooking for the first three days: cold canned stew and ravioli! My grandpa brought his motor home into Mackay Reservoir on Friday. This really made the last few days more pleasant. My grandma is alot better cook than my dad.
We lost two tires on the van (but they were rotten to begin with), and we blew the alternator on the Explorer. We were lucky to get it repaired on a Saturday in Mackay.
I want to dedicate my record to my Uncle John L. Darrington, First Lieutenant, Military Intelligence, US ARMY, stationed in Balad, Iraq.
I wish good luck to the other parties that are setting out for a record attempt on Labor Day week-end...but not too much luck.
Thanks again for keeping track of the record for the climbing community. Your website saved me a lot of time and effort.