A shot taken from Trail Creek Road a few years back reveals the planned route after two failed attempts up the central gully.
From the east near the campground showing the 2012 route.
Coming up Trail Creek Road, I pause to take a shot through the smoke. The Devils Bedstead is a striking apparition in the distance.
Despite the smoke, it's a beautiful, windless fall day. The approach hike is spectacular.
Always need a shot of Terry fiddling with the GPS.
Before long, the objective begins to dominate the view.
Here the trail forks and leaves Boulder Creek to switchback up the canyon wall to the right. The Witch's Hat is in the center of this shot.
Terry and Mark take a break on the way up the slope. The fall colors were in full swing.
We near the lake where the climb actually begins. [Terry Patterson photo]
At the lake, we take a short break. The route starts at the lake shore, center. Then moves up the grassy slope to some ledges that are scrambled to the left of the trees visible in the upper right.
The Witch's Hat beyond the lake and the headwall of Boulder Creek canyon in the distance. Not a ripple on that lake.
Break is over, time to start the climb. The lake is 4 miles from the trailhead at just under 10,000' elevation. [Terry Patterson photo]
And up we go.
Once the ledges are climbed, the ridge and saddle lie just ahead.
Terry is on the northeast ridge and ready to lead us up. He's been here before.
But Mark and I are experiencing scree slopes at 10,000 feet. I didn't feel like I caught my breath the rest of the way up. [Terry Patterson photo]
But eventually we were on the saddle and ready to head up the ridge. It looks like Mars up here. [Terry Patterson photo]
Terry leads the way, with the obvious crux tower blocking the way.
I make Terry stop and pose. It's an amazing place to be and one of the finest scrambling routes in Idaho.
I start picking my way up the ridge, avoiding vertigo by not looking over the edge to my left. To my right is the wide open slope of the north face. [Terry Patterson photo]
This shot gives a sense of the extreme drop on the south face and the nature of the ridge route.
Mark's right behind me.
The gloves look funny but proved indispensible. [Terry Patterson photo]
At the base of the tower crux, we stop to reconnoiter. I feel the same as Mark. The north face gullies fall away to the Kane Creek drainage.
The crux. We're discussing here whether to go directly over the top or traverse around to the right into the central gully.
To the right of the picture sits a small rock, which we missed until coming down. It is intended to mark the traverse path out onto the north face. So we simply continue up and over.
It got a little steep. But all the way, the handholds were excellent.
Near the top of the crux. I was sure happy I'd brought the gloves. The leather was ripped to pieces by the time we got down. [Terry Patterson photo]
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