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Author Topic: Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012  (Read 2664 times)
bcjunkie
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Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012
« on: 07/17/12, 09:54 AM »

Leaving mid-day on the 4th of July,  I headed up the Pack River Road, north of Sandpoint, Idaho, for a 4 day solo adventure in the American Selkirks. I made base camp at the Beehive Lakes TH, which has a couple of good dispersed camp sites. The area was really quite and I had no company, minus the occasional hiker, drive-by tourist, and 4-wheel enthusiast (meh!) . This was my second Independence Day solo trip in a row, and I was wanting to discover more of the goods up on the Selkirk Crest; in and around Twin Peaks and the Seven Sisters. Conditions looked promising, and after a great night tilting a few back and some night-time recon of the area, woke the next morning, casually, and made plans to head up the Beehive Lakes Trail and see what I could find.

After 3 miles switch backing up the side of the mountain, the trail hit continuous snow at around 5600ft, where I started skinning up the left side of the lower headwall and basin. Once up on the dividing ridge, I decided to head up into Slide Creek Basin to see if I could ski either of the Twin's, or at least bag a summit, or two.

Near the start of continuous snow at the lowest Beehive Lake, while looking up at North Twin Peak and it's formidable sub-peak and east ridge:


Here, up on the dividing ridge, looking to head left up into Slide Creek Basin, with South Twin's imposing north face:


A look into the upper bowl, and South Twin Peak, from the start into Slide Creek Basin:


The snow was really user-friendly, and I skinned as far as I could up onto the upper bowl's cirque, at around 7000ft, where I commenced to boot pack up a 45 degree sliver of bare slope to the crest. I decided to try and summit South Twin Peak, around 7500ft+. The ridge up to the very exposed summit consisted of class 3-4 scrambling over granite blocks and unfriendly terrain.

Heading up south Twin's North Ridge, which I dubbed "Pucker Ridge." You decide...


On top, looking out over the Southern Selkirk Mountains...what a sweet sight!


A look down in to Slide Creek Basin and my ski to the lower ridge on the left:


I decided to leave my gear up there, and not have to bring it back down, then up again. What an awesome way to lessen the load! I got back to camp around 7pm (13 Mile RT), and after some serious car camping gourmet grub, I settled in with my good buddy "Jack," and did more ski recon and moseying around.

The next day, I decided to have a rest day and go for a hike up to Harrison Lake, which is at the top of the Pack River Basin. A mile from camp, the road dead-ends at the TH, and 2.5 miles hiking up half dirt/half snow up to Harrison Lake; which was still pretty snow-bound. This area has some really good bowls and lines dropping off the north and west faces surrounding the lake. Damn, I should have brought my skis. I decided to bag a peak at the head of the basin and do some recon for later. (8 Mile RT)

From the top of no name peak, looking down onto some of the terrain around Harrison Lake:


After that enjoyable hike, I settled in for another night of good weather, good food, and maybe a few too many. The next morning, after another leisurely start, I made my way back up the Beehive Lakes trail, and found my equipment waiting for me  Grin  I decided to head up the Beehive side and try for North Twin Peak. The weather was definitely warmer that day, and there were a few spots where I had to walk; whereas 2 days before showed good coverage. You could hear the water rushing everywhere, and I doubt the lower sections will be good a few days from now.

Looking down from the start up the dividing ridge, to the lowest lake, which was continuous skinning/skiing 2 days before:


From the short walk on the ridge, the skinning into the upper basin was perfect!

A shot of the upper ridge before crossing over into Beehive:


A look into the upper bowl and North Twin Peak as I headed up into...


Looking across the basin to the unnamed peak to the north (which I had skied the year before):


A shot looking down towards Upper Beehive Lake and the upper basin, with great coverage above 6500 ft and some of the best corn ever, for July!!!


On the crest looking at North Twin and the steep chute coming down its shoulder (maybe 45-50 degrees at the top). Chickened out on topping that chute and skiing it as I was solo and running out of time and energy:


After a nice break and taking in the surroundings, I decided to head down what I came up. The turns were unbelievable! The best textured corn I have skied in years...no sluffing, minimal runnels, and a fairly hard base a couple of inches down!!! I took my time making my way down and soaked it all in.

A shot looking at my run in the upper basin:


A shot at my turns just before hitting the dividing ridge. The impressive sub-peak of North Twin is in the background:


Looking back up at the jagged, granitic peaks making up North Twin; on my way down the dividing ridge between Slide and Beehive Basins :


One last look up into Beehive/Slide Basins and the Selkirk Crest:


The way down went pretty smoothly, except for several minor melt-outs that had to be boot-packed, and for probably the biggest crux of the whole trip: getting across Beehive Creek, by way of trail, at late afternoon high-water and a sketchy White Alder branch bridge?!?! crossing over it just before it plummets down the almost vertical cliff face!!! I bet that badly improvised bridge got washed out soon after that! Yikes!


Got down around 6pm, had a snack and a couple of cold ones, packed up, and made a bee-line to Sandpoint, where I gorged on greasy burgers and fries like it was my last meal. Can't wait till next year....

Here is the direct link to all the pictures from this trip:
http://s1249.photobucket.com/albums/hh515/sharting2/
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Zap
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Re: Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012
« Reply #1 on: 07/17/12, 10:27 AM »

Great adventure and photos.  Wink
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mikerolfs
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Re: Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012
« Reply #2 on: 07/17/12, 11:36 AM »

wow, nice report.  I like the close-up photo on the N Twin sub-peak with your ski tracks in it.
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joseph.szasz
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Re: Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012
« Reply #3 on: 07/18/12, 08:08 AM »

Cool post! I wish i had gone up there instead of Stevens. Did you need a 4x4 to get up there? Any glide avannche evidence, seems like prime glide avalanche terain.  Way to get after the north idaho goodness!

http://www.fsavalanche.org/encyclopedia/glide.htm
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bcjunkie
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Re: Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012
« Reply #4 on: 07/18/12, 08:28 AM »

Cool post! I wish i had gone up there instead of Stevens. Did you need a 4x4 to get up there? Any glide avannche evidence, seems like prime glide avalanche terain.  Way to get after the north idaho goodness!

http://www.fsavalanche.org/encyclopedia/glide.htm

Thanks Joe! Good job on Stevens, though. Always a good destination! No 4x4 needed to get up the Pack River Road, and it is in pretty good shape; all 19 miles of it. So, I guess there is some evidence of glide avalanche action, with all the sheer/smooth granite and huge faces. Looked like Slide Basin had some of it going on, along with the lower Beehive area, though hard to really tell. I pretty much saw only the aftermath (huge piles below sheer, polished granite faces with mellower inclines), as it was starting to cook up high and all the suspect areas were already flushed/melting out. Good call...never gave it much thought...I will keep that in mind next time, as it looks like it can play out dangerously, and should be considered in that terrain.
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bcjunkie
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Posts: 72


Re: Selkirk Crest, Idaho, July 4-7, 2012
« Reply #5 on: 08/10/12, 08:11 AM »

Great adventure and photos.  Wink

A belated thanks, Zap!

wow, nice report.  I like the close-up photo on the N Twin sub-peak with your ski tracks in it.

A belated thanks, as well, Mike! This is also my favorite shot!



BTW, I will be hitting this area up next late spring as well, and I will try to post for partners; as I would love to show this area's goodies to other like-minded peoples  Smiley
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