When the forecast called for temps to rise into the 90’s in the valley, SVT guides Joe St.Onge and Patrick Graham decided to go high. For years, we have been looking at the north wall on Cobb Peak(11,644′) above the Pioneer Yurt and wondering if the rock was good. The north face of Cobb is a massive rock wall, rising 1000-1800′ from the alpine basin and comprised of ancient quartzite rock. Quartzite is an interesting and beautiful rock type, created when sandstone is metamorphosed under intense pressure and heat. Extremely dense and compact, the quartzite on Cobb does not give continuous crack features for a climber to follow. Instead, there are varied slabs, blocks, corners and aretes that can be linked together with generally good to very good rock. 5 years ago, Patrick and Joe climbed the direct North Face in alpine conditions, climbing neve, rock and water ice to the summit (the Solstice Line) and found good rock and a spectacular setting, creating an desire to venture on a rock route. This 1100′ climb generally followed slabs and corners into a short chimney (5.8) and then onto the skyline ridge. The “Buccaneers Route” (5.8 III) had a couple 5.8 moves but was generally in the mid 5th class range. Fun stuff!
We have just returned from the lofty Pionneer Mountains, high above Sun Valley. SVT guides: Joe St.Onge, Jon Preuss and Everett Coba trekked into the Pioneer Yurt to open the hut for it’s inaugural summer season. The trail in was cleared of downed timber, outdoor benches and a beautiful fire-pit were built and the yurt was set up for summer living.
After the work was completed, the peaks called for a journey into the alpine. We completed a mixed ascent/traverse of Cobb Peak, climbing perfect frozen snow/neve and aesthetic alpine rock. A classic alpine climb!
We hope the word gets out out about the Pioneer Yurt and the world class opportunities for wilderness, beauty and adventure that await visitors. The Yurt is open for reservations to both guided and self guided (DYI) groups throughout the summer and autumn seasons (and winter of course!). This is the ultimate adventure base-camp with cozy accommodations in the midst of pure alpine awesomeness.
Autumn is transition time. It’s a time of long shadows, cold nights and anticipation of the winter to come. It is the time when we at SVT are prepping the 6 backcountry ski huts and prepping our legs and lungs for the ski season ahead. While we cut wood at three huts using trucks, much of the work we are doing at the huts requires access via human power. For us, that typically means riding our bikes. We are blessed with an awesome network of trails in our local mountains that allow us to spin our bikes, often with awkward loads, from hut to hut. The bikes have an added benefit of prepping our bodies for the ski touring season while providing the feeling of “flow” that is so vital to our souls.
SVT owner and guide, Joe St.Onge and partners, are just back from a big day (26 miles and over 7,000′ of riding) yesterday while checking in at Coyote, Tornak and Boulder Yurts. The trails were frozen solid and covered in frost in the morning and melted to “corn dirt” by mid-day. What follows are a collection of pictures from yesterday as well as from the past month of hut projects in the mountains.
Here’s to sucking the marrow from a beautiful autumn in anticipation of an awesome ski season!
It’s ski mountaineering season here in the high peaks of Idaho! SVT guide, Joe St.Onge, and a group of intrepid Montanans are just back from 4 days of peak skiing based out of the Pioneer Yurt. While the snow has been rapidly melting this spring, we are still finding good to excellent ski conditions in the alpine, and the Pioneer Yurt is a great place to visit if you want to go alpine! The approach to the Pioneer Yurt is largely snow free at this point (don’t even think about snowmobile access!), but we can drive to the summer trailhead. Once at the Yurt, conditions are a bit bony for another 800′, but there is reliable coverage and good ski conditions in the alpine basins above. It may not last long, so get it while you can! Enjoy the pics!
Stoked to be getting high
It’s the time of year when we cycle through the 6 huts in 3 different mountain ranges to get each hut ready for winter. We can remember many years when we were doing these annual chores in freezing temps and blizzards, but not this year. We have been blessed with one of the prettiest autumns we can remember here in Idaho. Perfect Indian Summer has persisted for over a month now with amazing foliage, crystal clear sunshine and generally stunning days. Much of the work we do this time of year requires access on bikes or foot. The current conditions have produced perfect melt/freeze conditions on the trails and some of the best biking of the year. Enjoy the pics from the various mountain ranges and huts and start getting stoked for the upcoming season!
NOW LET IT SNOW!
We have just returned from a couple of days in the Pioneers. The goal of the trip was to get the yurt ready for the oncoming winter season and to climb a new route on Old Hyndman. For years, SVT guide Joe St.Onge, has been dreaming on climbing a route along the skyline of Old Hyndman Peak. Old Hyndman rises like the Matterhorn with steep rock walls guarding the summit. There are a couple standard routes to the summit, but we were unaware of anyone having climbed the steep NW ridge. Having spied this part of the mountain on many ski tours over the years, the time seemed right when local ER doc, Terry, called Joe with the goal of climbing Old Hyndman. A great adventure climb was had and success in exploring a new line to the summit of this iconic peak. Terry suggested calling the route “Old Goat” or “OG” to honor the bearded old goat we wandered by on the approach. Enjoy the pics and the mountains!
May showers bring Powder to the high peaks and we were able to experience some of this magic the other day here in the Pioneer Mountains, Idaho. A surprise visit from our old avalanche forecaster, a pro skier and a local doc coincided with Joe returning from the Hawaiian Islands and the Trail creek road having just opened. Recent cold temps and new snow led to great conditions on one of the most iconic ski peaks in Idaho. Thanks to Dylan Crossman for some of the great shots here, enjoy!
We are just back from a 3 day mission into the Pioneer Yurt with goal of supplying the yurt with cords of firewood and other supplies for the next season. We transitioned from snowmobiles to chainsaws to skis and alpine axes, cutting lots of wood and climbing and skiing some classics in the process. Conditions are spring like on the big peaks and skied great.
Joe St.Onge, Patrick Graham and interns: Niels Meyer and Alisa Mcgowan have just returned from 7 days in the Pioneer Mountains on a winter mountaineering training with a production crew from the BBC. An action packed week focused on learning skills related to avalanche safety, forecasting and rescue as well as backcountry skiing and mountaineering skills. the Pioneer Yurt served as base camp and the team also put in a high camp at 10,500 for a alpine ascent of Hyndman Peak. Conditions included a generally low snowpack and wind affected snow with hazards related to widespread wind slabs. The less then optimal ski conditions were balanced by the phenomenal setting and wonderful crew from the BBC. We look forward to seeing the ambitious and sure to be amazing footage to be produced by this intrepid film crew over the next couple of years!