Activity Type: Back Country Skiing, Level of Difficulty: Very difficult, due to length of approach and potential avalanche terrain
Mountain Range or Region: Soldier, State: ID, Country: USA
Vertical: GPS data = 2,275, Planned vertical = 3,900.
Distance: 9.1 Miles
This “adventure” is a report of a training and exploration trek that I just completed with my son, Taylor. There is some great terrain in the peaks above the Soldier Mountain Ski Area, and I have been eyeing them from a distance for a few years now. However, I had not yet ventured into the terrain to see what was there. The objective of this trek was to actually get up into the terrain and figure out the right approaches and determine what lines to ski, if possible.
The trailhead is just north of the ski area, (087) and we hiked in to the point where we put on the skis to return. The roundtrip was 9.1 miles. We probably had about a mile left to summit the peak, 9915. This would put the roundtrip to well over 10 miles and almost 4,000 vertical. There are some other options to be considered:
- Make the trek earlier, before the snow melts at the 6,000 foot level and skin most of the ascent.
- Make the trek earlier, and “hitch a ride” on a snowmobile. This would cut the climb down to a few hundred vertical and under a mile. (kinda sounds like cheating if you are really doing backcountry).
- The trail is open to ATVs and Motorbikes. If the trek is made during this time of year, use an ATV to freight skiers and equipment to about the 7,000 foot level.
- Make it a two-day approach. Hike in to the snow level on the first day and then summit and ski on the morning of day two.
I want to use this trek next year as training for a Teton climb, (I actually used it for my Teewinot climb that follows this outing by a week). The Teton climb next year will hopefully be Mount Moran. That climb and ski requires two days and a long trek such as this. What I am planning on doing if I can find a couple of willing partners is to make this a two-day trek also. The plan will be to come in on the afternoon before the summit climb and hike in from the Trailhead to the 7,000 foot level at about 2.5 miles in. From there, camp overnight and begin the hike to the summit in the pre-dawn hours the next morning.
If you are interested in this trek, drop me a line or add a comment to the post.
The GPS data from our exploratory trek is here:
The video is here, (there isn’t a lot of excitement on this video, it is intended for reference only):