Trip type: snowshoe 2010 Spring Outing

Date of trip: 04/17/2010

Mileage: 5.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3800 Feet

Time: 7.5 Hours


Partners: Zach, John, Dave P., Dave, Alex, Margo, Margie, Michael, Rob W., Steve, Matt, Jeff

GPS Track: NA

Featured Photo:
Final Ridge
Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Little Sister10717577LemhiClyde, IdahoNoNo44.15869,-113.14703

Trip Report

Little Sister is in the Lemhi Range of Idaho. The peak sits between two of the most impressive mountains in Idaho, Bell Mountain and Diamond Peak. From the summit, views of each peak are incredible. The peak is also referred to as Amy Peak. The first recorded ascent was by Rick Baugher in 1990.

This peak was selected for the 2010 Idahosummits Spring Outing due to its gentle west ridge and the broad, west facing alluvial fan that accesses the west ridge. I figured the combination of those two would give us our best shot for getting to the base of a high peak, then having a safe route to ascend. What I wasn't sure of was what kind of camping we would have at the base of the peak.

The weather for the week before the climb turned warmer. The web cams nearby still showed some snow, but the temps on the weather stations around the west side of the Lemhis were showing highs in the 40's and 50's. I was pretty confident the trailhead would be accessible.

On Friday, Zach and I left Boise with his vehicle stuffed to the gills with gear. We had our usual fun as we trekked across the state on a overcast day. As we neared Arco and could see the Lost Rivers, we noticed the west sides of the peaks were really melted off. Near Howe, the sun was out and we took some shots of the southern Lemhis. After that I had some fun surfing the web on my phone as long as possible until the coverage ran out about 5 miles north of Howe. Gotta love Verizon and Blackberries!

As we followed the excellent trailhead directions, we noticed tire tracks on the road. We weren't sure, but assumed someone in our party was ahead of us. We were hopeful of good camping, but the sounds of the posts on the message board made us think none were to be had. However, as we rounded the last corner of the road, we saw an incredible meadow with dozens of camping spots and Dave, John, and Steve all setup.

As we setup tents, Rob W., Jeff, Margo, Margie, Dave, and Alex arrived. Steve rocked dinner with a Salmon, mushroom, and jalepeno dish that was incredible. As people arrived, talk became of breaking the "outing record", which was 11. Around 11pm Michael arrived, making the count a new record at 12. Matt and his dad arrived around 1am, making the total 14 (13 climbers).

After no sleep, I awoke at 6:15am and prepared for the day. It was warm in the tent. After 20 minutes of preparation, I got out of the tent to gray skies. UGH! After breakfast and a group shot, we were off at 7:15am. Dave P., Michael, and John had left at 5am.

We intially headed up a steep sage brush slope. It was spitting snow, but warm and windless. We then got into trees around 8200'. Over the next thousand feet we zig-zagged up the hillside, avoiding snow and downfall. Around 9000' we hit a rocky area. Just past the rocky area at around 9400', we had to put on the snowshoes. We basically followed the trench in the snow that John and his cohorts had left. It was still hard work, but I can only imagine what the initial climber (John most of the time) went through! The snow was awful, a 2 inch top crust covering a very sugary under layer that wanted to off the mountain. Luckily the route was not steep and the slopes couldn't slide. One section around 10000' bothered me some, but we made it through ok.

At 10100', Rob turned back. He had eaten cereal that morning and had been sick all day. He had enough by now. Cereal is the curse of the mountaineer... having made my day on Lost River Peak miserable. Several others chimed in about their cereal sickness days too. Also about this time, the weather that had been slowly improving was nearing good. Still some clouds, but clearing.

The route between 10100' and 10250' involved manuevering on a ridge with rock, drifts, and twisted trees. The ridge spit us out at the base of the peak and the final summit push. I watched as 5 or 6 people were ahead of me on this section. It was a nice ending to the climb. As I topped out, the sun was fully out. Clouds on Diamond and Bell left in a hurry. What a beautiful day! Right then, John, Dave, and Michael joined us. There were 11 of us on the peak. We hung out a while, but unfortunately, the wind came up and we became cold. I bailed.

Can't say the descent was uneventful. The snow trench was slick and it was comical watching everyone fall. Then it just started to suck, as we were all exhausted, soggy, and tired. When we reached the sagebrush, it was sunny and hot. It was one foot in front of the other to camp. At camp, I immediately changed into my shorts and t-shirt and enjoyed a cold one. We had great conversation as we soaked in the sun.

Thanks to everyone who came. I enjoyed hanging out with you regulars again. I also enjoyed meeting the newbies, all of you are great!

Getting There

Make your way to Clyde, Idaho. Clyde isn't really a town, but you will know you are in Clyde when you pass the Pass Creek Road on your left (ignore it). Just under .25 miles later, take a right onto a gravel road. This road crosses Little Lost River on a bridge. Just after the bridge take a right. Follow this bumpy section on a sidehill for .7 miles. Take a left at a junction. After .25 miles, take another left at a fork. Follow this road for 2.75 miles to the campsite. A good landmark on this road is a creek crossing at .5 miles.

Hiking Directions

From the 6800', just below Mud Springs, head southeast to gain the west ridge of Little Sister. Follow this ridge to the top.


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