Distance: 11.5 miles
Elevation Gain: ~4,300
The previous weekend I stuck to lower elevations and got drenched in a snow mixture near Lowman. This weekend was dry with highs near 60 near Stanley. Boulder Peak eluded me in September as a storm was brewing as I headed off of Boulder Basin Peak. It turned out that I probably could have done Boulder Peak then but this weekend was the perfect opportunity. I was thinking about Peak 10,185 but when I saw Boulder Peak was practically snow free I turned onto Boulder Creek Road. With my truck deciding not to go in reverse I took my old Hyundai Accent so I parked just off highway.
It took a well over an hour to reach the trailhead and it would have been nice to have had my truck but the road hiking was easy. Once at the trailhead, I followed the trail for less than a half-mile before heading uphill. Although steep, the bushwhacking was minimal and I managed to avoid the worst of the scree. Once on the ridge I saw the first tower and contoured west around it. Immediately after gaining the South ridge once again I descended around another tower to the east and worked the ledge system. Eventually I regained the ridge and stayed on top to the summit. There I signed the register and took in the views. Lorenzo Peak dominates the views nearby with Castle Peak dominating the north view as usual. I lingered at the summit for a while before heading down. Knowing this was one of final trips in the high country I took my time on the descent. The hunter I ran into was shocked I hiked in from the highway. Last year I did Lorenzo and Silver Peaks from the highway too.
With the excellent conditions, I decided to camp and attempt another peak in the Boulders. Although the night was chilly, it was still quite warm for this time of the year.
Summits: Galena Peak - 11, 153'
Elevation Gain: 3,950'
Distance: 7.4 miles
Two weeks ago I did Senate Peak and saw Peak 10,835 and it was on my list. Unfortunately there is not a lot beta on the peak and all I knew was it can be done from its saddle with Galena Peak.
I was not originally planning on camping so I did not bring a headlamp and got a late start close to 8:00 am. At first the going was easy along a road and a trail but I ended up bushwhacking so I crossed Senate Creek to regain the trail once again. The trail curved back to the west a short time later so I followed Senate Creek on its north side before heading straight uphill on the cliff bands avoiding the scree. This was a great opportunity to take advantage of class 3 climbing. Unfortunately when I reached the ridgeline east of Senae Peak I had to drop elevation from a class 4 gully. It worked and I climbed the class 3 terrain back up to the saddle. From the saddle I did numerous class 4 moves to get to th saddle. With short days and a gnarly time-consuming ridge, I headed back uphill to regain the saddle to do Galena Peak. I probably could have made it but I would have had to do quite a bit of routefinding. Other than a few towers on the north ridge, the route was straight forward and I likely grabbed my last 11k summit of the season. Near the summit I dropped down to a ledge system on the west side of the ridge to avoid an exposed section of the ridge. The views were great and with the sun out I was not cold. Most of the nearby southern and western slopes were snow free. After taking in the views, I descended the west ridge of Galena Peak which is obstacle free. I kind of lollygagged my way down as I knew this would likely be my last trip in the high country for a while. Depending on weather and avalanche conditions I may be able to do a few peaks above 10,000' this winter. Eventually I reached the trail and followed it back to my car.
Being late October, I could not have asked for better weather. It is not very often that I can get above 11,000' this late in the year without snowshoes. The warm weather did not last and the next weekend the snowline was around 4,000'. This trip was a great way to cap off the climbing season.
|Frozen Lake near Boulder City|
|Boulder Peak Summit Cairn|
|Lorenzo Peak from Boulder Peak|
|Galena Peak Summit fro.a nearby false summit|
|Castle Peak from Galena|
|Galena Summit Selfie|