In Hope I Byde

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mt. Heyburn August-September 2004

About the trip:

In September of 2004 my brother Brad and I made our first and last backpacking trip centered around rock climbing.  Along with my good friend Tim Randall, the three of us scaled to the top of Mt. Heyburn via the Stur Chimney.

Now it may seem as though we didn't enjoy ourselves as I mentioned that this was our last trip, on the contrary it was a fantastic trip, it just seems that we lost a bit of the climbing bug and focused our efforts more on just backpacking.

Brad and I drove up to Stanley on a rainy afternoon.  We stopped in and grabbed a bite to eat before heading over to Redfish Lake.  I can still remember that I had a Chicken burger with Mtn. Dew.  The Sawtooth mountains looked very scary from Stanley as it was overcast and rainy.

We made our way to the Red Fish Lodge and motored across the lake on a motor boat and began our trip at the transfer camp.  So I had a vague idea where I was going, I was given directions by Tim, had a map and a compass, but was still a bit uneasy about where we were going.  We were suppose to meet Tim the following day on the last of the bench lakes (he was to travel the morning of and meet us).

Brad however was not thrilled at the pace I was setting, nor happy about the heavy elevation gain.  Several times he stopped for a break while I would push him on, at one point he told me to leave him where he stood.

We made it to camp, pitched my tent and made dinner.  I remember it was a full moon, reflection was glowing over the bench lake.  I tried taking a picture of the moon and it obviously didn't work, at the time I didn't realize that the moon and the earth were both spinning and that I needed a longer shutter speed.

Brad woke up that night several times out of breath and sweating.  He was having a hard time, we never knew if it was elevation sickness or a panic attack.

The next morning we were awoken over the two-way radio by Randall asking for our location.  It turns out that we had only made it up to the second lake and he was waiting for us at the third.

We met up with him and began the arduous trip up the shale and talus field to where we would begin our climbing.  I didn't realize it until the top that I had left my climbing shoes at our base camp and would have to do the climb in my Ecco hiking boots.

The climb was really quite easy, Randall lead the route and I cleaned it.  The views from the top were spectacular.  I can still remember being on top and watching Brad, terrified that he was going to fall off the side mountain.  I thought it funny then that the emotion was as if I was looking at my own children and not my brother.  There is a great photo of the two of us on to of Mt. Heyburn, probably one of my favorite pictures of the two of us.

We quickly made it down the mountain to avoid the oncoming thunderstorms.  We packed quickly in order to hike out with Randall.  I also learned from this trip that hydration bladders can leak, and that fruit punch stains the inside of your Arcteryx pack, especially when it's white.  I can remember some intense chaffing on the way back to the cars that instilled in me the need to plan all future hikes with a pair of spandex.

Dinner was spent at a great pizza joint in Stanley, and to this day I have yet to return to it.  We sped home to Nampa in the Range Rover and I was amazed at how powerful the headlamps were as they lit up the mountain and canyon walls.

Gear List:

Pack: Arcteryx Bora 80  119 oz.
Bag: Big Agnes Encampment 55 oz.
Pad: Big Agnes Insulated Air Core 31 oz.
Tent: Sierra Designs Omega 123.5 oz.

Total Big Four Weight: 328.5 oz. or 20.53 lbs.

Also taken on this trip were my Metolius Safety Tech Harness and my Five Ten Climbing Shoes.

About Mt. Heyburn:

Elevation 10229 ft. / 3118 m

Mt. Heyburn is located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Sawtooth National Forest, in south central Idaho.  nearest town is Stanley.  Access to the mountains starts from Red Fish Lake which is 12 miles easterly from Stanley off Highway 75.
Route on Mount Heyburn are approached via either the Bench Lake Trail or the Redfish Lake Creek Trail.  All of the routes can be accessed via the Bench Lake Approach.

The Bench Lake Trail leaves directly from the parking area provided for backpackers at Redfish Lake.  It is about 4.5 miles to the first of the Bench Lakes, then 1.5 miles of rough trail to the highest of the Bench Lakes.  From there one travels cross country to the start of the routes.

West Summit

Stur Chimney, II, 5.4  This is the classic route on the peak located toward the north end of the west face. It is approached from the saddle between the West Summit and the West Pinnacle which can be reached from either the Bench Lakes or the Red Fish Creek Trail.  There are two pitches in a classic chimney with overhanging chock stones.  It ends almost directly at the summit.

Louis Stur, Jerry Fuller and Jim Ball made the first ascent on 1 October 1958.

Sawtooth Mountains.

The scramble up that talus field was no joke.

Red Fish Lake in the background.

Stur Chimney.

Bench Lakes overlooking Red Fish Lake.

Climbing Guide Tim Randall.

Brad's first rappel ever.

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