Ascent of White Cap Peak on 2016-06-13

Climber: Dustin Erickson

Date:Monday, June 13, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:White Cap Peak
    Elevation:11899 ft / 3626 m

Ascent Trip Report

Traversed from Leatherman to Mount Idaho (including White Cap and Peak 11,967).

This was a big day with 7100 vert, no trail, from our camp at the base of the northern drainage of Leatherman near the springs, 8500 from the cars. We easily ascended the north face of Leatherman on solid snow (Northeast Leatherman Peak would also be a good starting point of a traverse with a little steeper north face, that would have been fun in these conditions.) The views of Badrock were wonderful, the descent of the normal route on Leatherman at this time of year required ice axe and crampons we had to downclimb a short ice section and traverse some very loose shale. It is quite steep and a little tedious, it may be better to come up this route and glissade the other side. Come early though as when we were getting off it was already warming up and shale pieces were flying down. Helmits are a great idea. From here it was 1400 feet of gain fromt he very low Leatherman saddle to White Cap, the traverse from here pushed me low to the west to avoid the scary looking gendarmes, this turned into a strenuous mix of sidehilling talus (much better quality that the Lost River Shale on Letherman albeit) and kicking steps and self belaying across steep snowfilled gullies. I finally gained Peak 11,967 and saw that I had an easy escape if needed down the hanging cirque here above Pass Lake. I continued on tentatively as I looked at the South Ridge of Mount Idaho and saw many potential obstacle, fortunately I did not have to drop low around any gendarmes here and was able to weave a way through until I came to a steep double set of snow and ice filled slots that turned out easier than they looked. Shortly here I was faced with another wall and thought I would have to traverse far west, but amazingly going out on the face to the east provided nice ledges and positive hand holds and only a little bit of snow. I was amazed that it worked out so well and I came up on the ridge again and marked the spot for the descent, from here it was an easy jaunt to the summit and the amazing views of Borah that it held. It looks like the north couliors of Mount Idaho were still in good shape, although maybe a week or 2 earlier would have been better. From here I descended to the saddle south of Idaho and was able to glissade into the beautiful unnamed basin to the north of Pass Lake and traversed my way back to camp for dinner. On the way back I noticed that there were great camps to the north of the strange bend in the river with the low meadow that were just west of the double springs we camped near. Albeit without the benefits of the ready spring water, just river water that is likely still very clean. I hope some others can partake and enjoy this wonderful traverse in this lonely part of Idaho! Whoever comes up this range from the west is missing out. Pahsimeroi is where it is at and I will be back to explore the east fork with Brietenbach and Mount Church on the agenda.
Summary Total Data
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Leatherman-Mt. Idaho Traverse
Descent Statistics

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