Mount Leatherman (2017)

My brother came over to our house for a few weeks in August and since I'd just done an aborted trip to Mt. Borah but was still planning on trying again, decided to try both Leatherman and Borah while he was here.  Since I had some knee pain going down Borah (and Whitney the year before), I figured I'd try Leatherman before retrying Borah to see how it went. I figured it would be a nice easy hike to test out the ChoPat knee brace and new walking poles I had just bought along with a few other things.  That didn't turn out quite right.

This trip took us around 13 hours to complete.  Since I brought my car we had to park pretty far down the dirt road leading to the two parking lots further up since the road was pretty bad and I didn't want to get my car stuck or messed up.  That added about 2.5 hours to the trip time.  We left at about 6:30am and made it to the start of the official trailhead at 7:45.  Right around 9:20 we made it to Leatherman Pass and started up the west ridge heading up pretty steep.  Lots of loose rocks and high angle ascent and around halfway up you have to find ways around large rocks blocking the way up, basically going from chute to chute.  About 4 hours later at 1:30pm we made it to the summit (1700 feet elevation gain).  We decided to go down the other side then back up to the pass which also added a few hours but by the time we got up, neither of us were terribly interested in going back down the same way.  At 5pm we made it back up to Leatherman Pass and back to the car by 7:30.

Needless to say in most ways this was more difficult than Borah.  The ascent up Leatherman was pretty steep with loose rocks to deal with.  The trip was also much longer.  There was at least once midway up that we thought about possibly turning back but my brother was able to go ahead and scout a way up. Even the standard route (the West Fork Pahsimeroi trail) was fairly steep going down, but nothing like the west ridge starting out from Sawmill Gulch.  going down that way also meant going back up to Leatherman Pass which was not long but tiring for me after around 9 hours of hiking.  I also had mammoth size blisters on my feet most of the way.

All in all, Leatherman was a good learning experience for Borah because after that, anything would be easy.  Mount Leatherman is the second tallest peak in Idaho at 12,228 feet and #2 on the list of 9 12,000 foot peaks in Idaho.

Sunday, 20 August 2017