Monday, July 25, 2011

Selkirk Crest Hike in the Snow

As we noted in previous posts, we recently spent a few weeks at our cabin in northern Idaho.  Hiking was generally disappointing because of the heavy snow still on the ground in the higher elevations and the amount of runoff in the mountain creeks and rivers.  Many creeks were simply not crossable, and that cut out about 80% of the trails we planned to hit this year.  The other 20% were covered in heavy snow, and while we could hike those, climbing up a few thousand feet on top or through heavy, wet spring and early summer snow is not so much fun.  It is a slog.  Count on falling through on a regular basis (T) or sliding off (H) and getting wet feet no matter how good you think your boots are.  So, I guess what we're saying is that we do not have many photos to share this year beyond what we posted under the entry "Out in the Wilderness." The best hike, and therefore the best photos, are probably from a hike up to the Selkirk Crest on the 12th of July near Roman Nose Mountain.  Roman Nose is usually fairly accessible if you don't mind going off-trail.  Simply hike up to the Lake number 2 (only about 1.5 miles), then make the 700-foot climb up to the ridge above, which you can do on two feet with a little sweat, but without hands or ropes.  From there, turn left and walk the rock-strewn ridge to Roman Nose at 7,260 feet or turn right and walk to a lesser un-named peak which tops out at 7,010 feet.  We would choose the lesser peak largely because of all the snow. 

The Roman Nose basin has 3 lakes.  This is the first lake, called Roman Nose Lake Number 3.   It is a short walk from a parking lot which you can drive to with a high clearance vehicle. The road was blocked with snow right before the parking lot and the lot itself was still under snow, but we were able to get close enough.
The headwall of the drainage for the lakes below Roman Nose.  The other 2 lakes sit up in the hanging valley above the wall (Lake number 1 is just out of sight at the top of the wall) .  Barely visible in the right center of the photo is a waterfall from the upper lakes, which could easily be heard from a mile away. 
Our destination.  Roman Nose peak is on the left; the right peak is unnamed, but where we ended up after climbing up to the ridge between the two peaks. 
The trail.
Roman Nose Lake Number 2 with Roman Nose towering above it.  Interesting story about Roman Nose.  There were fire watch towers on top of the peak from 1917 to 1999.  During the Sundance Fire of 1967, a young 18-year-old fire watcher posted to the peak escaped a massive wall of flames fanned by fire-induced wind gusts of up to 95mph by leaping over the edge and hiding under a rock overhang.  He later said, "A rock shelf had an overhang, and I wedged back under it as far as I could.  Flames began roaring over it.  I saw blazing branches as long as my arm fly past the overhang and down into the forest around the Roman Nose Lakes."  Two other men were not so lucky and were killed during the firestorm, which fire burned almost 56,000 acres.  At its height, the fire moved 10 miles in 3 hours, according to the Summer 2002 edition of the Sandpoint Magazine.
Heading up the 700-foot climb towards the saddle between the two peaks.  H was not enjoying the snow, but the dog certainly was.
Another look at our destination, this time from the saddle.
Chimney Rock, one of the iconic peaks of the Selkirks.
Roman Nose lake number 2 from the top.
The top looking north towards Canada.
The 7 Sisters and Harrison Peak.
Hardy vegetation on the peak.
Another shot from the top.  That is some view.
On our way down.

No comments:

Post a Comment