Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Smoke, porcinis and East Camas Peak

Every mountain, every climb has it's own distinct character.  I wrestle with some, I try to blast through others and some are simply a joy.  East Camas peak is one of those rare mountains that is just incredibly enjoyable.

Ryan and I started our Labor Day by hiking up to the Kidney Lakes, two wild and picturesque lakes off the Camas Lake trailhead.  The trail to Kidney Lakes has been abandoned by the Forest Service for a few years, but is still quite passable.  Click here to see our map and gpx tracks.  Leave the main trail at 6800' at a wide spot in the trail, there is a very visible side trail here.

The smoky skies shielded us from the sun and you can see the brownish tint to the air in most of our photos.

We headed up the ridge Northwest of the Lakes through open larch forest and scattered talus fields.  The old larch in the photo above is the gnarliest and largest I've ever seen.

The ever changing and expanding views pushed us up the ridge quickly.  I hardly feel each footstep when each one brings me better views.

Ridge and summit block of East Camas peak

Some route finding among big, chunky blocks of granite kept the summit block fun and interesting. Still class 2, unless you wanted to climb over the blocks.

Sunlight shining through smoky skies at the summit cairn

We were greeted by a swarm of flying ants at the peak, as well as a peek into the valleys on all sides.  This area is a backcountry ski destination and I could see why: a protected approach to a gorgeous ridge line with many descent options.  We'll be back when there's snow.

The impressive Kidney Lakes Crags may have to be a future climbing destination.

The massive Ward Mountain grew ever larger across the valley as we headed up the ridge.

The North Lost Horse Creek valley has some amazing south facing slopes that will make good ski terrain.

The ridge line past East Camas stretched on with miles of what looked like good scrambling above tree line.

And we found King Boletes (porcinis) on the hike down!

The pizza: hot pan seared porcinis and carmelized onions
The pizza cutter: Park Tool's bicycle shaped pizza cutter (actually the best pizza cutter I've ever used, made by bike parts company.  Burly, sharp and ergonomic.)

Homemade porcini pizza after a day in the mountains was incredible.


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