Gear Testing On Lees Peak

I’ve been planning a little for this upcoming climbing season and part of that planning has been the addition of a few pieces of equipment.  One of the additions was the purchase of a GoPro HD Camera to help document each of the remaining peaks left to climb.  The camera is amazing, it’s small, fits on a variety of different mounts, and it takes amazing HD footage.  This last weekend I went on an overnight trip with a couple of friends and on the trip I finally was able to try out the new “toy”.

Sunrise at Hoffer Lake

We drove up to the Anthony Lakes Ski Area in eastern Oregon, ate a quick lunch at the lodge, then began our snowshoe adventure up to Hoffer Lake, a small lake in the shadow of Lees Peak.  Lees Peak is the neighbor to Angell Peak the 51st highest peak in the state located in the Elkhorn Mountain Range.  We started out by snowshoeing around Anthony Lake to the snowshoe trail up to Hoffer Lake, but we missed the trail and started up away from Anthony Lake too soon.  After an hour of sidehilling through the trees making our own trail we finally arrived at the lake. The view from the lake was amazing and we set up our camp on the south side next to a couple large granite boulders adjacent to the frozen lake.  After setting up camp we set off to explore the surrounding area before the winter evening forced us to jump into our tents for the long cool night.

Steve and Tara with Lees Peak in the background.

We decided the previous day to hike up toward Lees Peak, but didn’t have an exact objective in mind.  We hiked up the southern ridge from Hoffer Lake and found ourselves in a natural amphitheater at the base of Lees Peak. At the base of the peak we split up and while Tara and I continued up the flank of the peak, Steve stayed and snapped shots and taped footage of the area.  We were able to climb up to the northeast ridge then up that ridge to the summit.  The route was pretty much straightforward most of the way with only the final pitch requiring a little caution.  The view from the summit of Lees Peak was absolutely amazing and brought back all the memories from last summer as all of the 12 peaks in the Elkhorn Range  from the list were visible.

The final steps up to the summit of Lees Peak.

We made a quick descent into the east basin between Angell  and Lees Peak, then out the narrow drainage system which spills into Hoffer Lake.  We met back up with Steve at camp then quickly packed up our gear and snowshoed back to the car at Anthony Lake.  The trip was amazing and to this point is my favorite trip of 2011…well it is only my first trip of the year.

Summit of Lees Peak with Van Patten Peak in the background.
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