Lime Mountain Backpack

Date of trip: 06/17/2017

Mileage: 12.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 4150 Feet

Time: 9:18 Hours

Class: 2

Partners: Carrie

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
South White Knob10805345White KnobMackay, IdahoNoNo43.8583, -113.7272
Lime Mountain11179319White KnobMackay, IdahoNoNo43.8464, -113.7476

Trip Report

Late in the week, Carrie suggested we go backpacking on the weekend. This caught me off guard a bit, so I went into action to find a suitable place. I wanted to find somewhere without a long approach, not too much snow, and scenic. My searching led to this trip.

My plan was to drive to the end of Alder Creek Road in the White Knob range west of Mackay, Idaho. We'd park at the head of Stewart Canyon and follow the ATV track up Stewart Canyon to the saddle between Lime Mountain and South White Knob (Peak 10805). Then we'd setup camp at the saddle and climb South White Knob and Lime Mountain from there.

The first obstacle was to get to the trailhead. I had heard like 15 years ago that Alder Creek Road was treacherous. Zach and I drove it 8 years ago and it wasn't that bad, but still you needed a 4x4. Fast forward to this year and I think the road is better. I didn't feel the need for high clearance at all, and other than a few wet spots, the road is in great condition.

The drive in was beautiful and I was stoked we made in without beating up the rig. Now it was time for the backpack in. In addition to the typical pack, we had more weight due to carrying our snowshoes.

The hike in immediately called for a creek crossing. It wasn't too bad, but took some patience to find stones to keep the water out of the boots.

About a mile later, we had to cross the creek again. This crossing required some acrobatics... not so easy with a large pack on.

We enjoyed the hike in the canyon. The canyon was green with the snow covered White Knobs providing a great backdrop. We passed several huge avalanche chutes and an cabin. Around 9000' the road had snow on and off. Luckily we could either skirt around it or it was short enough that walking over it was a good option.

At around 9500', the snow fields were long enough that I broke out my snowshoes. This made the walking easy, but also took some weight off my back (much needed at this point). Despite the weight of the pack, elevation, and all that... it was a gorgeous day with a light breeze and cool temps.

Eventually we made it to the final switch back to camp. The only issue was that a 15 foot cornice separated us from the saddle. I found a less steep section on the drift and kicked steps up it. Nothing like a little snow climb with a full pack. My steps did the trick and we were at our campsite.

We simply pitched the tent in the middle of the ATV trail where it was flat. This spot had terrific views both down Corral Creek canyon and Stewart Canyon.

After getting camp setup, we headed up South White Knob. This was a quick and fun hike to a peak with really nice views! We could see the entire Lost River range from King Mountain all the way north to Dickey Peak. Mount Borah and Leatherman Peak really stood out.

The top of South White Knob is quite flat and filled with small wildflowers. With no wind and perfect temperatures, it was quite nice. Only the call of dinner got us to start heading down to camp.

After capturing the sunset and melting snow for water the next day, it was off to the tent for a card game, then rest. Around 10pm, the wind started blowing. Around 1am, it was blowing quite hard. That continued throughout the night. I counted my blessings that my wife sets up the tent for a hurricane every time we put it up, so it held strong despite the wind.

The next morning, Carrie wasn't into my planned ascent of Lime Mountain. She wanted to sleep in, read, and get a head start on packing. So just before 8am, I headed out.

To get to Lime, I dropped into the basin below our saddle and made my way to a ridge that would get me to the saddle between Lime and Cabin mountains. This ridge looked tame from camp, but once on it, it had a steep snowy section for a few hundred feet that were a little spicy without an ice axe.

Eventually I reached talus, then after another 200 feet of that, I was at the top of the ridge. The new obstacle was that a huge cornice separated me from the other side of the ridge. It wasn't that steep in front of me, but I didn't know what was ridge and what was snow. With cracks on both sides, I did my best to cross the cornice quickly and get onto solid ground on the other side. From there it was all rock to Lime Mountain.

The views from Lime Mountain were great. I could see the ridge over to Shelly Mountain. Views of the Lost Rivers were great, but the views of the Smiley Lobe of the Pioneers and Copper Basin were the highlight. From the top, I could see our tent perched in the saddle below me. With the wind and chilly temps, it was time to get down.

I eventually made it back to the tent. A quick rest, rehydration, and clothes change got me ready for the hike out.

The hike out was uneventful and we both were encouraged to get the heavy packs off our backs and wash off in the creek. What a wonderful way to spend Father's Day weekend!!!


Getting There

There are several ways to get to Alder Creek Road. We Googled directions to Mammoth Canyon and Google Maps led us right to it.

Basically you want to follow Alder Creek Road to where the ATV road heads up Stewart Canyon.

On my previous trip up Alder Creek Road, I suggested a 4x4. I don't think that is required anymore. You'll want a vehicle with decent clearance, but the road isn't that bad. That said, it might not be too fun when wet without a 4x4, but that goes for many of Idaho's backcountry roads.


Hiking Directions

We backpacked up the ATV trail in Stewart Canyon to the saddle between Lime Mountain and South White Knob. Here is the track for that:
GPS track to camp

From the saddle, we climbed up South White Knob, which was easy class 2.

The next day I scrambled up Lime Mountain. Here is the track for that:
GPS track to Lime Mountain


Photos

View Slideshow

Carrie early on in the hike near an old Cabin
Carrie early on in the hike near an old Cabin
Hiking towards Redbird Mountain
Hiking towards Redbird Mountain
Redbird Mountain
Redbird Mountain
Snowshoes and backpacking... at least the snow was solid
Snowshoes and backpacking... at least the snow was solid
Carrie starting up South White Knob
Carrie starting up South White Knob
Leatherman Peak from South White Knob
Leatherman Peak from South White Knob
Carrie on South White Knob
Carrie on South White Knob
Carrie hiking the flat summit ridge
Carrie hiking the flat summit ridge
These flowers were everywhere on South White Knob
These flowers were everywhere on South White Knob
Lime and Cabin Mountains
Lime and Cabin Mountains
Camp at the base of Lime Mountain
Camp at the base of Lime Mountain
Camp at Sunset
Camp at Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Ridge to South White Knob
Ridge to South White Knob
Lime Mountain
Lime Mountain
Ridge I used to get to the saddle between Lime and Cabin
Ridge I used to get to the saddle between Lime and Cabin
Cabin Mountain
Cabin Mountain
Lost Rivers from the saddle between Lime and Cabin Mountain
Lost Rivers from the saddle between Lime and Cabin Mountain
Final ridge to Lime Mountain
Final ridge to Lime Mountain
Looking down at camp from Lime Mountain
Looking down at camp from Lime Mountain
Smiley Lobe from Lime Mountain
Smiley Lobe from Lime Mountain
Copper Basin from Lime Mountain
Copper Basin from Lime Mountain




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