WCP-1 - 10353'
Location: 44.1687°N, 114.65777°W
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 3400'
Class (difficulty): 2
Time: 7 hours
Range: White Clouds
A nice stretch of November weather, with 40's and 50's for highs in the mountains, got me excited to get into the higher mountains one last time before the snows set in for the winter. More busy weekends led me to choose a weekday for the ascent and luckily Zach could get the day off as well and join me.
We selected WCP-1 as our goal. In fact, we also thought we'd make it over to WCP-3 while there. These peaks were selected due to them being close to an access road we figured would be snow free or at least a well-traveled snow-covered road.
The forecast held and the road was snow free the whole way. We arrived at the trailhead around 8:45am and headed out with temps around freezing at 9am.
The first part of the hike was to Hoodoo Lake. This route follows an old road to the lake. This road is on the northeast aspect of the slope and therefore, had some snow for the last 300 feet or so. When we arrived at Hoodoo Lake, we were in awe of the site… beautiful, blue skies; rocky, snow-capped peaks; and warm temps. We eyed several routes on WCP-1 and after a long break soaking in the rays, we headed on our way.
We quickly made our way onto a ridge seperating the lake and a small stream at the base of WCP-1. Downfall made the going on this ridge tough, so I dropped down toward the stream. Here the snow was 2 or 3 feet deep and made going difficult. However, once we made it onto the eastern slopes of WCP-1, the going was easier on dirt. So we angled southwesterly across WCP-1's slopes, eventually reaching a rib that appeared to go to the summit and looked obstacle free. At the base of the rib I think I told Zach (or at least thought to myself) that we should just climb WCP-1 first, then head over to WCP-3. As we got a bit higher and could see the north ridge of WCP-3 (steep and snowy, with a nasty looking section at the top), we decided that maybe WCP-1 was enough for the day.
The rest of the route was on moderately steep terrain, but was stable for the most part and completely snow free. We reached the north-south trending ridge and had barely turned north before we found ourselves on the summit. The summit is unique because of the views it offers of the Salmon Rivers to the north. I don't recall another peak offering such a view of the Cabin Creek Peak area, the Bighorn Crags, and the Twin Peak/White Mountain area (so nice that you could pick each of those mountains out easily). Of course the views of the big White Clouds were impressive as well… with a up close shot of the Chinese Wall right in your face.
We headed down and made it back to the vehicle around 4pm. After a soak in the hot springs, it was off to Stanley for great sunset views of the Sawtooths and a great hamburger at the Mountain Village Inn. Nice to have t-shirt, windless weather in November. I have a hunch that my next hike won't be in such ideal conditions :-)
Head east on Idaho 75 towards Challis. After about 24 miles, look for the Slate Creek Road turnoff on the south side of the highway. Follow Slate Creek Road (FS 666) for 6 miles to its end. This road can be driven by a sedan. There is a hot spring about 1/4 from the end of the road.
From the trailhead, hike past the hot springs, past a concrete building, and around the tailings pile. Just past the tailings pile, the trail crosses a creek and then forks. Take the right fork. This road climbs the hill above the mine and takes you to Hoodoo Lake. From Hoodoo Lake, either pick a route up the east face of WCP-1, or more ideally just head up the basin and toward the WCP-1/WCP-3 saddle.