Copper Mountain Ascent

Date of trip: 05/04/2017

Mileage: 7.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3158 Feet

Time: 6:11 Hours

Class: 2

Partners: JJ, Steve, Margo

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Copper Mountain103031523BeaverheadBlue Dome, IdahoNoNo44.1736, -112.8313

Trip Report

The spring weather in Idaho was up to its usual diversity. Rain one day, sun the next, windy the next, then back to winter the next.

I was watching the forecast and finally saw back-to-back days of warmth and high pressure. The only problem was that it fell on a weekday. I had been talking with JJ about it, he was in even on a weekday. Knowing that Steve worked a unique schedule, I contacted Margo and him to offer an invite. They were in. So a week out, we just needed the weather forecast to hold... and it did!

So JJ and I left Boise on a beautiful, warm spring afternoon. We cruised across Idaho, taking in views of a lot of water in places it normally isn't and green hills and white capped mountains; beautiful!

We finally reached the Lemhis right at sunset. So once we found a spot along Birch Creek to camp, we had little light to setup tents. We got it done and eventually settled down in the lawn chairs for a late night beer before heading to the tents.

We arose early to catch the sunrise on Diamond Peak and the rest of the Lemhis, then it was off to meet Steve and Margo. We jumped in Steve's FJ Cruiser and headed up Long Canyon Road to around 7100' where the road narrowed.

The hike up the road went well, minus one tricky section on the icy north slopes where the trip leader should have just stayed on the road and not worried about losing a bit of elevation. Enough about that though ;-)

Once we got to around 8200', the sun was out and we could see the remainder of our route. It was a stunning day and the views were opening up all around us... this is fun!

Around 8600' we encountered snow on our ridge. 3 of us had decided to leave our snowshoes in the vehicle. The snow was hard as a rock minus a random posthole - so far so good.

We eventually reached Point 9414 where we could see the remaining route. We just needed to cross a 1/4 of a mile snowfield and then we were on scree.

The snowfield crossing wasn't terrible and soon we were on a game trail crossing the scree to the main summit block.

The final ridge was freshly drifted, but the snow was firm under a few inches of soft snow, which provided good traction. Soon after, we were standing on top enjoying incredible views, and sun (with no wind!).

With 1500 feet of prominence and its location, Copper Mountain provided great views of mountains in 3 states (Montana and Wyoming included).

On descent, our small snowfield crossing had completely changed and was now slush. As Margo repeated many times, at least we were going down.

At Point 9414, we decided to cut straight down the ridge to the road. I hadn't really studied the route, but agreed to it. There were several times it looked like a bad idea, but I was always able to find a nice slope around a tower or narrow section, so it turned out to be just fine and saved us time and distance.

Eventually we reached the vehicles and hung out in the sun, drinking beers and telling stories. We all agreed it finally felt like summer. What a great day with great friends!


Getting There

Traveling on US 28, turn east onto the signed Long Canyon Road. We followed the road to approximately 7100' where there is a sign indicating that the road is becoming Trail 184 and entering the national forest. This is also where the road becomes very narrow anyway.


Hiking Directions

We followed Long Canyon Road north until it reached 8200' at the end of a long switchback. We then turned east and followed the ridge to Point 9414. From Point 9414, we crossed a flat area where the terrain transformed from trees and grass to scree. Follow the scree slopes north to the top of Copper Mountain.


Photos

View Slideshow

Diamond Peak from our camp
Diamond Peak from our camp
Southern Lemhis from Birch Creek
Southern Lemhis from Birch Creek
Diamond Peak from Long Canyon Road
Diamond Peak from Long Canyon Road
Copper Mountain from 8200'
Copper Mountain from 8200'
JJ heading up the ridge
JJ heading up the ridge
The Lemhi Range from around 8400'
The Lemhi Range from around 8400'
Steve and Margo hitting the snow
Steve and Margo hitting the snow
Copper Mountain from around 9400'
Copper Mountain from around 9400'
JJ on a nice game trail through the scree
JJ on a nice game trail through the scree
JJ on the summit plateau
JJ on the summit plateau
Final summit ridge
Final summit ridge
JJ on the summit
JJ on the summit
Myself, Steve, Margo, and JJ
Myself, Steve, Margo, and JJ
Descent ridge used
Descent ridge used
Copper Mountain after the hike
Copper Mountain after the hike




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