North Face First
On Mount Breitenbach
By Bob Boyles
When we reached Mahogany Creek on our way to the Lost River Range in central Idaho, it was afternoon and the water was flowing high. We stopped for an inspection before my climbing partner, Curt Olson, tried to drive the van through it.
Mike Weber and I waded across the creek, which came about to our knees. We decided not to get back in the van until Curt drove through. I told him the Idaho saying I had heard while learning to drive big trucks: “Never say ‘whoa’ in a mud hole.”
The van was on a steep approach. He punched it and nosedived in. When he got about halfway across the creek, the current hit the side of the van and it went up on two wheels.
For an instant, Mike and I thought it was going to roll over in the creek but luckily it didn’t, and Curt plowed through to the other side. The van left a wake in the creek like a boat on water.
This was the spring of 1983. Curt had called Mike and me with an idea for a new climb he had begun thinking about a few years earlier, when he attended a mountaineering lecture and slide show in Boise given by the legendary British climber Bill March.