Mount Church and Donaldson Peak

NOTE: Since Mount Church and Donaldson Peak are done on the same hike, the trip report and pictures will be almost the same for both. Picture order is: 1) Up to headwall, 2) Headwall, 3) Donaldson Peak, 4) Ridge between Donaldson and Church, 5) Mount Church, 6) The way down.

   Donaldson Peak and Mount Church were the last two 12,000+ mountains in Idaho I had left to climb. These 2 were numbers 8 and 9. Donaldson Peak is the 8th highest at 12,065 feet high (only followed by Hyndman), and Mount Church is 12,200 and comes in at number 3, only preceded by Borah and Leatherman.

   The nice thing about these two is that you can get them done with one hike. For me it took a few hours to get from the trailhead to the headwall where you start moving up to the ridge. It took another hour or so to get to the top of the ridge which was only 10 minutes or so from the top of Donaldson, and then from there is was about an hour to move across the ridge and up another several hundred feet to get to Mount Church.

   My brother and I had gone as far as the headwall the week before to get a look, but by the time we got there we did not want to spend any more time than we already had since we weren't sure how long it would take. This time I started about 1.5 hours earlier and started hiking in the dark to get to the headwall sooner, just in case it took much longer than it actually ended up (one reason why I don't have any pictures from 6am when I started hiking until about 7:30). It turns out that getting up the headwall and across the ridge was not too bad at all.

   This hike actually combined a few of the experiences I had with some of the other 12k peaks. Climbing up the headwall was similar to going up Leatherman and the last section of Idaho. Moving along the ridge between Donaldson and Church was similar to Chicken out Ridge on Borah or the top sections of Lost River and Breitenbach, and going up to the top of Church was similar to Diamond with some steep but very good rock to hold on to to make your way up. Surprisingly enough this actually was pretty fun to do because of getting to do these different types of things, and possibly because I knew these were the last of the nine.

   Anyway, I'm sure I'll be out here again, probably with my brother if he comes over enough and really wants to also finish all 9. He has done 3 so far. My actual hike took right around 10 hours, but I lost an hour or so between heading down Church and the headwall on the ridge because I forgot I had left my coat and pole somewhere up there just off the trail and had to turn around, head back toward Church and try and find it. Luckily I was able to. All in all it was a fun last hike.