Nip Benchmark Snowshoe

Date of trip: 01/28/2017

Mileage: 4.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1144 Feet

Time: 4:10 Hours

Class: 2

Partners: Tom, John, Tamara, Carrie, Josh, Mark, Jen, Tory

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Nip Benchmark7373353Salmon RiverStanley, IdahoNoNo44.2519, -114.9404

Trip Report

A few days of inversion conditions in the Treasure Valley had me looking for an escape to the mountains. I found a few options. Then I received a instant message from Tom on Facebook... he was looking for something to do as well. So were Mark and Tory. Soon the group size ballooned as people accepted invitations.

Our goal for the day bounced around, but we settled on Nip Benchmark directly north of Stanley. We figured we could utilize a groomed snowmobile trail from Lower Stanley, then up the south ridge.

With temparatures well below zero in Stanley, we agreed to a later start; meeting in Stanley at 10:15am.

The drive was fine except for a brutal stretch of icy roads between Banks to Lowman. Once out of Lowman and on Highway 21, the sun was out and the roads were mostly free of snow. It was fun seeing all of the deer, wild turkey, and elk along the sides of the roads.

We stopped in a few areas near Banner Summit to scope out Copper Peak (a popular back country ski area) and to take a shot of the bathroom with 5 feet of snow on it.

We arrived in Stanley a bit behind schedule. While waiting for the others, we noticed a local walking to the store in a sweatshirt, shorts, and unlaced boots. I guess when you are used to -30 degrees, the current -5 seems balmy. Once everyone had arrived and used the facilities in Stanley, we moved onto Lower Stanley. Here we found the groomed trail, but had to improvise on parking.

Our planned route worked great. We even found a snowmobile track to help get us to the main south ridge at around 6700', where we took our first break.

The day was fabulous, and other than a cold first 20 minutes, the temparatures were now pleasant with no wind to speak of.

After the break we headed up the moderately steep slopes to the summit. John led us right over the benchmark's location and then picked a fine lunch spot... evening digging out a platform to sit.

After great conversations, views, sun-soaking, and rest it was time to head down to Stanley for a beer!

We figured a loop would be in order. I checked the GPS for the best route and then led us out. While a shorter route than our way up, it was a bit grueling traversing ridge after ridge, before we finally pointed our toes down a neat gully and finally got back on the solid footing of the groomed trail.

Turned out to be an awesome winter day in the mountains. Awesome views and great company!


Getting There

The trailhead is right across the highway from Bridge Street Grill in Lower Stanley.


Hiking Directions

Follow Nip and Tuck Creek from Lower Stanley for 1.25 miles. Then gain the south ridge and follow it to the summit.


Photos

View Slideshow

Driving up Idaho 21
Driving up Idaho 21
Nip Benchmark from Stanley
Nip Benchmark from Stanley
Banner Summit bathroom
Banner Summit bathroom
Carrie on the groomed trail
Carrie on the groomed trail
The group comes up the groomed trail
The group comes up the groomed trail
Tamara snowshoeing with the Sawtooths beyond
Tamara snowshoeing with the Sawtooths beyond
Carrie enjoying the sun
Carrie enjoying the sun
John and Shadow lead us up to the ridge
John and Shadow lead us up to the ridge
Our lunch spot near the top of the peak
Our lunch spot near the top of the peak
North Sawtooth Mountains
North Sawtooth Mountains
Neat rock garden we snowshoed through
Neat rock garden we snowshoed through
The group coming down from Nip Benchmark
The group coming down from Nip Benchmark
Descent Ridge
Descent Ridge
Descending to the groomed trail
Descending to the groomed trail
Neat gully we descended
Neat gully we descended
Nip Benchmark from the trailhead
Nip Benchmark from the trailhead
Sawtooth Range as we depart Stanley
Sawtooth Range as we depart Stanley
Carrie and I near the summit
Carrie and I near the summit




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