Castle Peak with Outdoor Idaho

Date of trip: 08/13/2016

Mileage: 13 Miles

Elevation Gain: 6000 Feet

Time: 16 Hours

Class: 3

Partners: Carrie, Sauni, Tom, Jay. Zach, Tim

GPS Track: NA

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Castle Peak118154035White CloudObsidian, IdahoNoYes44.0398, -114.5867
Peak 1040510405305White CloudStanley, IdahoNoNo44.0195, -114.6060

Trip Report

3 years ago, friends and I climbed Gilmore Peak with the Outdoor Idaho cast for the show "Summit Idaho". I had a great time, the show turned out spectacular, and I really enjoyed hanging out with the producer Sauni and cameraman Jay.

Fast forward to this year and Sauni contacted me and asked if I would be interested in leading a trip up Castle Peak for a show called "Beyond the White Clouds" about the new Boulder-White Cloud wilderness area. I had previously done Castle Peak in 2002, but let her know I was interested.

We bounced around dates, but settled on a 4 day trip starting August 11th and ending August 15th.

She again let me choose my crew. Since my wife has been into climbing recently, I asked her. I then reached out to a few friends not on the previous show. Both accepted.

Instead of carrying heavy packs and eating dehydrated meals, Sauni arranged for horses to carry in our gear and they would provide beer and prepackaged meals. Dang, this is sounding great!

So we set off on August 11th to hike into Chamberlain Basin with just our day packs.

Just before the trip, 2 friends cancelled for important family issues. Luckily Tom Cox could make it on short notice (thanks Tom!). That left Carrie and me for the trip in, with Tom meeting us at the lake the next day.

We headed out around 1pm on Thursday, with the plan to hike to Washington Lake, hit the "splattski" cutoff over the ridge and then drop into Chamberlain Basin and hike to Lake 9197 (Lower Chamberlain Lake).

The crew for this trip was Zach and Jay (videographers), Tim (tripod carrier and still photographer), and Sauni the producer.

Once we got to Fourth of July Lake, we started filming. In 3 years, I had forgotten the filming routine. It basically goes like... let the crew setup, hike a few minutes, stop, let the crew go ahead a few minutes, let the crew setup... you get the idea.

I had also forgotten about being mic'd up, how the camera is in your face, etc... The process was all new to my wife and she was curious why I didn't explain to her in detail how she'd be doing close-ups and being asked questions - sorry dear :-)

We eventually made it up and over the steep gully and started dropping into Chamberlain Basin. In the grassy meadow below, we saw 5 mountain goats. My wife got to check that off her list and was very thrilled!

The crew filmed the goats and then caught up to us as we dropped to our home for the next 4 days. Sure enough our gear was there for us and we quickly setup tents and then ate a wonderful meal and enjoyed a beer before heading off to bed.

The next day Carrie and I were on our own as the crew interviewed a wilderness ranger, an ICL employee, and our horsepacker (for a different show). Later they would interview me about Castle Peak and then film Carrie fishing. A great low-key day before the big climb of Castle on Saturday. Tom arrived late Friday to finish off the hiking team.

With fires in the area, we just hoped for decent skies for the climb, but we dawned to perfectly blue skies on Saturday, just like they had been on Thursday and Friday.

The going was slow with the film crew... not because they couldn't move fast, but because they captured nearly every step up the peak we took.

Eventually we reached the final 400 feet of tough scrambling. Tom, Carrie and I climbed up it as they filmed below, then the crew brought the gear up and passed us to setup on top. Once we summited, they did interviews of all 3 of us, captured the views, and then we took dozens of group photos.

It was an awesome day. I was thrilled the whole crew made it to the top. Jay is still a stud, climbing up difficult class 3 terrain with a camera in one hand and a large pack on. The haze held off until late afternoon, so we climbed in clear skies most of the day.

We eventually descended with the camera put up now. Once off the steep section, I could relax a bit. Then once we hit the final 800 feet of descent it was almost laughable watching people slip and slide down the scree. I guess I laughed too hard, as they started rooting for me to fall. I almost did, but a pirouette saved face for me (to Jay's disappointment).

That night the beers and dinner tasted especially great and hanging out with the crew was awesome (hearing the stories of old episodes and the back office politics).

On Sunday, half the group hiked out on the trail, but three of us (Jay, Carrie, and myself) hit Peak 10405 and dropped into Washington Creek from there.

We met the others at Washington Lake and then headed out to the trailhead.

My wife and I both agreed that this one of our favorite trips to date. The people, the scenery, the food, the climb - all of it!


Getting There

Fourth of July trailhead located 15 miles south of Stanley off of Idaho 75 (turn east). Follow the gravel road (suitable for sedans) to the end of the road (about 15 miles). There is a large area for parking, toilets, etc. at the end of the road.


Hiking Directions

Fourth of July Lake trailhead to Washington Lake. Up the gully at the southern end of Washington Lake over the ridge into Chamberlain Basin, then down to Lake 9197.

Climbed the south face of Castle Peak.

Out the trail heading south from Lake 9197 to the 9800' saddle between Peak 10405 and Point 9876. We then hiked the ridge to Peak 10405 before descending down to the trail in Washington Lake drainage.


Photos

View Slideshow

4th of July Lake
4th of July Lake
The crew in the steep gully coming up from Washington Lake
The crew in the steep gully coming up from Washington Lake
The Boulder Mountains on the hike in
The Boulder Mountains on the hike in
Castle Peak on the hike in
Castle Peak on the hike in
Goats on the hike in
Goats on the hike in
Lower Chamberlain Lake
Lower Chamberlain Lake
Our camp on Lower Chamberlain Lake
Our camp on Lower Chamberlain Lake
The crew doing some filming in Chamberlain Basin
The crew doing some filming in Chamberlain Basin
Carrie fly fishing in Lower Chamberlain Lake.
Carrie fly fishing in Lower Chamberlain Lake.
Jay and his camera
Jay and his camera
The crew lugging gear up the gully
The crew lugging gear up the gully
Nearing the scramble above the gully
Nearing the scramble above the gully
Looking northeast from Castle Peak
Looking northeast from Castle Peak
Carrie being interviewed by Outdoor Idaho on top of Castle Peak.
Carrie being interviewed by Outdoor Idaho on top of Castle Peak.
Looking north into the White Clouds
Looking north into the White Clouds
Selfie on top of Castle with Jay filming and Carrie laughing.
Selfie on top of Castle with Jay filming and Carrie laughing.
The crew down climbing Castle Peak
The crew down climbing Castle Peak
Jay checking out flowers on the hike out
Jay checking out flowers on the hike out
Tim and Zach arriving at the saddle south of Chamberlain Basin
Tim and Zach arriving at the saddle south of Chamberlain Basin
Carrie and Jay approach the top of Peak 10405
Carrie and Jay approach the top of Peak 10405
Jay, Carrie, and Me on Peak 10405
Jay, Carrie, and Me on Peak 10405




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