Lost River Mountain

2012-07-29
Lost River Mountain is the sixth tallest mountain in Idaho at an elevation of 12,078 feet. This was the last of the nine 12,000+ peaks I needed to climb. After a nice straight forward solo climb up the standard route, I had reached my goal of summiting all of Idaho's 12,000+ foot peaks.

Maps


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Topo: Lost River Mountain Route topo7-5


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Trip Report

Lost River Mountain was the final mountain I had to climb on my quest to climb all nine of Idaho's 12,000 mountains. I had just climbed Mount Idaho the day before and drove down to the trail head to camp and climb the mountain today. There is a cut off the Upper Cedar Creek road that heads up onto the base of Lost River Mountain. This is the highest you can get by vehicle, there is a nice camp at the end of the road and the climb starts here.

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As I drove up to the camp site at the end of the road I found another group camping there. After talking to them it was a mom and pop, their two twenty or so sons and a friend who were planning on climbing the mountain the next day. From the sounds of it they were going to be leaving a few hours before I wanted to get up so I let them know that I was going to be climbing tomorrow as well and I would keep an eye out for them as I expected them to hit the supper gully before me.

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Leaving them the campsite I drove down the road and found a nice flat place to camp, cooked dinner and then went to sleep and didn't get up until the next morning. I slept though my 6am alarm and ended up dragging myself out of bed at about 7am. I ate a small breakfast, drove up to the trail head and started up the mountain slightly after eight and started up the mountain.

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The climb up Lost River Mountain was basically straight up the mountain. For the most part it was going to be walking over loose rock all the way to the top. The major issue with the climb is what is known as the supper gully which you walk right up the center. The night before I spent some time just gazing up at this supper gully wondering how the climb was going to be as it due to the perception looked like a near vertical rock slide up the center of the mountain.

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Lopez didn't seem to have the best opinion of the supper gully and gave lots of comments about it. One of them caught my attention and was on my mind while looking at how I was going to make it to the top. His comments where "Because of the terrible loose rock and rockfall, this route is best climbed before the snow melts." His other was "Plan your trip so you are up and down the mountain before the snow thaws out in the afternoon."

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So looking up at the supper gully there was no snow in it and I was courious just how steep the gully was gonna be to make the loose rock more than just an annoyance. So I headed up the mountain just to see how bad this supper gully is. The route to the gully was straight forward. Following Lopez's suggestion I walked up towards point 8881 on the USGS topo then headed over and into the gully. Once there I found an obvious trail by other climbers that and followed it right into the middle of the gully.

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It was heading up into the gully that I saw the other group of climbers were about half way though it. I saw a nice vantage point just to the side of the bottom of the supper gully and headed for it. The plan was to sit there until that group had gone all the way though the gully for my safety in case the knocked down any rocks. I didn't have to wait long at the bottom and they got though the gully and headed to the northern ridge above the gully.

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I didn't run into any issues in the supper gully and made it right though. Yes the rock is loose, and it is steep. But I was easily able to hug some of the more solid rock on the edge of the gully and work my way up. Never was I in a place I felt danger and for the most part careful footing can keep from knocking most the rocks down. I think I was lucky here as I was going though the gully by myself so I had a bit less to worry about.

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Once I reached the top of the gully I was making good time and catching up on the family ahead of me. So instead of staying behind them and having to worry about rocks falling (and so they didn't have to worry about kicking them on me as well) I headed to the south ridge above the gully to follow to the top. I think their route stayed on more solid rock and would have been preferred because dealing with the loose scree to the ridge was worse than being in the supper gully, but over all it was just steep and had to be careful about sliding rocks.

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I made it up to the ridge and then followed it to the point on the south side of the summit top slightly before the second group got up there by following the north ridge. After talking to them for a bit it was a nice climb along the summit ridge north to the actual high point. I walked over there and spent some time enjoying another wonderful day and great view. And alas I have finally climbed atop all nine of Idaho 12,000 foot peaks.

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After spending my time atop of Lost River Mountain it was time to descend. Once nice thing about a certain size, steepness, consistency of loose rock is when the conditions are right you can ski down the mountains on the rocks taking big steps and the looseness cushions your fall to a gentile stop. Lost River Mountain was one of the mountains in which this all fit together well, and you can head from the top of the southern point on the summit and drop straight down into the supper gully. Due to this I descended from the top of the mountain though the supper gully in about 10 to 15 minuets. After that I worked my way back to my truck and drove home.

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