July, '02uly, '02..



Koren's first alpine couloir...

Climbing on the north side of

Mount Heybyurn.





Koren in the steepest section of the climb.

     In late summer, Koren and I made plans to climb one of the prominant couloirs that was visible from our house in 
Lower Stanley.  There were three or four obvious snow climbs just begging to be climbed and eventually, we decided 
that we needed to have a go at one of them. We bought Koren a pair of crampons in Ketchum and set out early the next 

    The approach is a beautiful 5-mile hike from Redfish Lake up to the Bench Lakes area. From upper Bench Lake 
we wore crampons and stayed on snow until the saddle between the twin summits almost 1,500 feet higher. Koren's 
experience as a backcountry skier was helpful and she was able to handle the exposure of being high  on a steep snow 
slope unroped. We had worn our harnesses and I was wearing a rope  that was accessible in case the need 
arose. We never felt like we needed a rope though, and we topped out a couple hours after starting. 

    We decednded the opposite side of the saddle and were rewarded with 1,000 feet of steep gravel that was perfect for plung 
stepping. We bound down,  hand in hand for support, and soon we were at the Redfish Lake Inlet Camp. After a short wait, the 
shuttle boat arrived and saved us from having to hike 5 miles back to the trailhead. We were back in town in time for an early  
diner next to the river at Bridge Street.

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Taking the first steps in her new crampons, Koren approaches the base the 1000ft north couloir on Mount Heyburn. This was her first snow climb.

Starting out on lower angle snow slopes gave us time to get used to the climbing. Upper Bench Lake is visible below.

Moving smoothly and confidently, Koren took the lead on the first third of the route.

The snow conditions were perfect with two kicks producing a solid platform on which to stand.

The climbing is not technically difficult, but the exposure of being 700 feet up and unroped is enough to make it mentally draining.

Despite being easy to climb, the angle is steep enough to keep your attention. This shot of Koren was taken in the steepest section of the couloir.

Success! Koren and I stand successfully on top of her first solo of an alpine couloir.

We spent half an hour enjoying the views from our perch between the east and west summits.

This is a view of the south side of Mount Heyburn. The sun had removed the snow from this side of the mountain so we plung-stepped, hand in hand, down the gully between the two summits.

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