The weekend forecast was for bluebird days, so John R & I decided to head up Rock Ck (west side) last Friday afternoon to set up basecamp for attempts on Mountaineer & Al West. We've had this trip on our list for a few years, but I don't think either of us were planning on doing it so early in such a heavy snow year. The dream was we could pack in to about 9000' and lounge around a campfire next to the babbling brook while we enjoyed the views of Borah's north face before turning in for the night.
The reality was strapping on snowshoes at about 8500' and finally managing to find a level and bare spot just large enough for our tents (after a little shoveling with the snowshoes) at about 8880'. There was plenty of dry wood, but no water ...so, we were up melting snow by the campfire in a 1L kettle until 11:30 pm in order to fill our water bladders for Saturday's adventure. One of the bladders iced up inside the tent overnight.
We were NOT disappointed with the views.
Alpenglow from our camp (6/3/11):
Saturday morning we made our way up to the 9482' saddle and headed up the SW ridge for point 11715'
It took us almost 2 hours to break the code on the corniced ridge and travel the distance from 11715' to Mountaineer.
During that time, we witnessed several nerve-racking wet slides occurring behind us on the east side of Borah's north ridge.
After summiting, we decided against returning along the ridge in the direction of the slide activity. We opted instead to slide down (video linkage
) the west side in the chute where Mahogany Ck begins and contour our way back to the saddle. (view from Al West on following day)
Sunday morning we climbed back up the 9482' saddle and headed up the NW ridge for Al West. A few rock steps...
...and after a not so short slog later, we sat down to take in the views before we headed back down to civilization.
All of the above pictures are linked to larger size. Link to slideshow
of these pictures and many more.