After a lengthy conversation with Dean Lords about the Lost River Range he recommended I climb a route he pioneered back in 1996 on peak 11,308. The route is called White Line Couloir He mentioned that it probably is in and fat, but I have never heard of anyone climbing it in those conditions.
I called a new friend from Boise Aaron Z. to see if he'd be interested as well as a friend of a friend Joe Crane from Rexburg. The three of us met at the Mt. Borah trailhead on Friday night. Temps dipped down into the teens and the mountains were veiled in clouds. Too lazy to set up a tent, the three of us slept in our perspective cars. The 4:30 AM alarm came earlier than normal. By the time we all drove to the new trail head drove up to the power lines it was 5:30AM. Not a bad alpine start.
The going was slow and conversation was pleasant. The approach to get to the base of the route at 9,300 took us a little over 3 hours.
We quickly set up a belay station and Aaron wanted to sharp end first.
Conditions weren't awesome because of new verglas and snow draped over rock.
The going was sketchy and Aaron protected the crux with 6 pieces of gear. All three of us were thinking if the route is like this we should bail. We put it to a vote and for the sake of doing it we decided to press on. A VW bus sized chalkstone guards the way to the upper pitches.
Pitch two was just a steep snow hike to another small blockage.
Joe crushed it as he motored past the hardest pitch which is rated at M5.
I wish I had more experience with dry ratings so I could confirm this but this was my first experience dry tooling.
Pitch 4 Aaron again displayed great skill moving up tight chimneys, and pulling over awkward chalkstones.
I got the 5th pitch and was awarded the finest views of the top of the route. A fixed Hex on climbing rope welcomed us to a big window and the top of the last pitch.
The sky was bluebird and the company top notch.
Smelling the barn, I sat down and enjoyed a fun Glissade down the avalanche chute. The sun came out and warmed up the top 2-3 inches. This made for perfect butt sliding. I dropped over 1,000 in just 5 minutes. Joe and Aaron played things a little more conservative and walked down. They were able to steal away a few photos.
Will I do it again? Maybe, but not anytime soon. Requisite statement for most routes in the Lost Rivers is "It would be easier if there were more ice." We didn't have enough ice to place one screw though we took 6. Gear? I wish we only took 1 set of nuts, 3 pitons, and 10 slings. If there is ice, 3 short screws would be plenty. Dinner at Pickles was perfect. I drove and slept, drove and slept till I got home at 4:30 AM.