Lets get out!Here it is February and I have not been out yet. I love the winter stuff. Too many excuses and not enough time.
Enter two of the most unlikely climbing partners I could have ever predicated. Being part of Idaho’s hiking and mountaineering community is like that. We have all kinds (yes which includes me).
John and Dylan (Father / Son) come into the outdoor retail store where I work, often we joke that Dylan’s feet are growing at a rate that equals the National Deficit. They buy a lot of climbing shoes and hiking boots for him, not to mention other great stuff. You couldn’t find two nicer gentlemen (Credit to John and Mrs. John for raising the kid right)
We discuss the need to go do something, Dylan brings up Squaw (I think it was Dylan). It’s like they think I am some resident expert on the area because I go there a lot. Well I am not, but I do frequent this mountain in the winter. It offers snowshoeing and snow climbing and is just 25 minutes from Boise.
So we launch a plan to go do some snow climbing. We are looking for that bullet proof snow that you can kick your crampons into.
Fire, aim, ready. . .It has been getting warm in the valley so we need an early start, 6:00AM in Emmett it is. We get to the trailhead about 6:20AM ready to tackle one of the Class 3 snow fingers or ribs that protrude outward on the SE side of Squaw Butte. The elevation is 3824 feet at the trailhead. We are looking at 2000 feet of gain.
I take them to the base of the SE Rib. Had some difficulty in darkness, almost was convinced I had us going to far west. With some veering to the east we later learn we are dead on. After we descend the “false summit” as Splattski affectionately named it we find ourselves ready to make the hike / traverse over to a snow gulley to the east of the Prime Rib Gulley (I named).
Before we get to our destination we run across several small avalanche debris piles.
Coyote CouloirWe decide to ascend up this scar, narrow gully or a more liberal description of a Couloir. Its about a 40% pitch up to the summit ridge. We put on out crampons and start kicking our way upward.
About 2/3 the way up the snow is starting to soften so John and I take off the crampons and start climbing the rock band that parallels the Prime Rib Gulley and out newly named Coyote Couloir route. John and I heard several Coyotes howling at the bottom so we couldn’t resist. Meanwhile Dylan was not done with snow climbing, so he traversed over to the Prime Rib Gulley and went straight up the face to the west of it.
So we finish up our route(s) just in time for this freezing wind that tries to blow us off this sucker. It’s like the Squaw did not want us there, she was saying go away.
So after a quick lunch and a “Splattski” summit photo, we were off towards the SE Rib to descend, Dylan and John was itching to do a possible “Emergency Glissade”. We got to the rib and it looked promising in spots. The first of 5 glissades was about 200 feet. I agreed and did my usual “Glissled”.
I really enjoyed myself today and this was a great finish to it. John later mentioned that he was glad that we glissaded down this route rather than the Coyote Couloir, citing that it looked a little tougher than a more famous glissade in the Lost Rivers.
I really enjoyed the day and the company. Its two days later and I am still smilling
4.1 miles RT
Big Macs for everyone in Emmett-Priceless!