Mount Church and Donaldson Peak

2009-09-26
Mount Church and Donaldson Peak are two of the Idaho 12ers that are located right next to each other. This was a climb that I was to summit both of them on a single trip. Mount Church is the third tallest in Idaho at an elevation of 12,200+ feet, while Donaldson Peak is the eighth tallest at an elevation of 12,023 feet.

Maps


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Topo: Mount Church Route topo7-5

Trip Report

Mount Church and Donaldson Peaks are two close summits that are both over 12,000 feet elevation in Idaho. It is easy to traverse from the ridge of one of the summits to the other so the two are usually climbed as a pair and the majority of the climb is getting up to the ridge line between these two tall summits. It was a nice sunny weekend so I got a hold of Rhett and we decided to meet up at Mackay Reservoir and take a hike.

After staying up to late and cooking a good breakfast we finally make it over to the road at the end of Jones Creek to start our climb. It was a slow morning and took us a while to drive over to the trail head so we got a fairly late start up the mountain. The first part up Jones creek was decent. In some places you could follow a trail, but the further up the creek the less trail and more dry creek bottom as the canyon got steeper and narrow.

We then worked our way out of the creek bottom and onto the hill side which was a nice change. Though it was steep it was still a nice climb up to the saddle into the upper part of the drainage for the climb of the summits. There were decent animal trails to follow and we slowly worked our way up to the saddle. There we took a nice break for lunch and noticed that it was getting late. Rhett decided he didn't want to rush to the top and took his own route and when and spotted a bunch of big horn sheep while I headed to the summits.

After working my way up to upper pond (which was mostly dry, some mud and foot prints in it) I made it around to the face in which I had to move my way though some gullies to get to the ridge between the two summits. After working my way across the loose rock I am able to find a decent route and work my way up to the ridge line.

Once on the ridge line I worked my way over to the top of Mount Church first. The ridge is kinda steep in places and had a bit more exposior than I prefer but the rock was good and plenty of hand and foot holds. After a quick break at the summit of Mount Church I work my way back and up to the smaller Donaldson Peak. Since it was getting late I take a few photos and head back down the mountain to find Rhett. After that we make it off the mountain with little trouble and before dark too.

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