Bob Bolton and I left from Kennewick on thursday night and headed for northern Idaho. Bob had driven from Vancouver and picked me up on the way north. We drove up through Spokane and then to Sandpoint before finding a campground a few miles north of Bonner's Ferry.
Friday was spent doing the county highpoint of Idaho's most northern county, Boundary. After doing Boundary, we did the HP of Bonner county the next day on Saturday, Scotchman Peak. So far the weather had been on the lousy side as it rained on us most of friday and saturday we contended with fog as we headed up and down
After finishing off Bonner's Scotchman Peak, we headed into Montana and drove through Missoula as we made our way over Lolo Pass on the Montana - Idaho border to a meeting point with 15 miles to the west of Lolo pass with Dan Robbins. When Bob and I arrived at the agreed upon meeting place, Dan was already there, having done Montana's Trapper Peak earlier in the day. Grabbing a campsite at the nearby campground we threw down our tents and grabbed some sleep to get ready for the next day.
Driving in Bob's 4 runner, we drove the 25 miles of forest service and backcountry roads which ended up with Bob's 4runner parked on the top of Blackhead mountain. From the top of Blackhead, we could see Rhodes Peak, 6 miles away. The disconcerting thing was the clouds, was it going to be another lousy weather day? That was the question I had in the back of my mind.
Dan Robbins could be called "Mr. Idaho" He had already done 41 of the 44 county highpoints, no easy task as Idaho has a lot of difficult ones requiring a lot of effort and dedication. Dan doesn't just limit his Idaho efforts to just county highpoints, he is climbing just about everything in the state. Check out his Idaho Summits website to get a feel for the effort he is putting forth in the potatoe state. Clearwater county, with Rhodes Peak as its highpoint would be #42 for him.
crests a divide and drops again to another lake. From this second lake, the objective of Rhodes Peak
is only about a mile and a half away. The weather had been cooperating and the clouds began to thin out which was quite a to us. Bob and Dan had the rare opportunity to see a full grown wolf in the wild as they surprised it by going off trail to the ridge crest. A rare sighting and it helped to make our day even more memorable.
There is nothing difficult about ascending to the summit, as a trail takes you most of the way. The last 800 feet is an easy ramble across open slopes and before we knew it, we were on the summit, which is crowned by a very large cairn. An interesting register is placed in this cairn, a large pipe with a threaded end, sealed in such a way as to make it weatherproof. Inside the pipe register is a tube of lubricant with the request in the register that a little lube be placed on the threads each time it is accessed. The register entries indicated that fewer than four or five parties make the effort to get to this summit each year and in a few years it is less than even that number.
Lunch was served, my cell call to my wife made, photos taken (available on main page) and it was all too soon that we had to head back down. The weather held all day and we were thankful for that. Dan had his 42nd Idaho county highpoint and I had my 19th. I believe this was Bob's 22nd, which is the halfway point for Idaho.
Round trip 13 miles
Elevation gain 3800 feet (includes elevation lost and then regained)
Time: 4 hours in and 3 1/2 hours out. The last 800 feet climb back up to Blackhead Mtn and the TH is ugly.