Pack Creek, Lolo Pass

Date: Sun. Feb. 11th, 2018
Trip Leader: Julie Kahl

The Irish traditional music tune Cold Frosty Morning kept going through my head today. Some of my people had canceled, and two more failed to show up at the meeting place -can’t blame them, it was 11 degrees - except Roy Regal. We discussed it and rather then trying to do Pack Creek with only 3 people to break trail, we opted to check out conditions at Lubrecht, or Seeley Lake if we didn’t like what we found at Lubrecht. We left Roy’s truck at The Comfort Suits on Broadway and went in our Tacoma.

These may have been the nicest conditions we’ve ever seen at Lubrecht. Plenty of snow -even off the groomed trails. All the trails were newly groomed, as they were having some kind of race there, today. We never saw any racers as we followed the outside D Trail. We were one of only a few parties that didn’t have dogs. Of course we "got lost" that is didn’t end up on the trails the way we wanted. In the morning it was sunny but still co…

Finley Creek Ice Climbing, Rattlesnake

Date: February 3, 2018 Trip Leader: Forest Dean Participants: Tom Herwerden, Brent Maier
This was an unannounced trip that came together at the last moment.  Posting it here mostly as beta for others.  The three of us met at the Wye on Saturday morning then drove to the Finley Lakes trailhead (no problem driving all the way right now).  A short 25 minute walk got us to the base of “The Graineater”, our first climb of the day.  I had climbed this 10 days earlier.  The difference was immense!  The warm temps are causing the ice to melt fast.  So sad!  Still, the ice was great- just really wet (imagine climbing in a constant drizzle).  I led up this WI4 route (two pitches), Tom followed.  Brent, being the third climber, got so cold at the wet belay station (above the first pitch) that he had to bag his chance at the top pitch).  We rapped down and then went over and climbed several pitches and variations on “The Thing in Between” (WI3).  Very wet here as well.  I would be surprised if t…

Mill Point, Bitterroot

Date: 2/3/2018
Trip leader: Joshua Phillips & Susanna Girolamo
Participants: John Bardsley, Dan Escalante, Eric Munsing, and Kylie Paul.

We had a great day in the mountains, skiing Mill Point, which sticks out into the Bitterroot Valley, making it visible from many spots in Missoula, even though it is nearly as far south as Hamilton. We started at the Mill Creek trailhead and had nearly a mile of walking before we donned our skis and skins. With the warm valley temps and rain, there was concern that it would be wet and warm up high, but it wasn't long before we were in full winter conditions, skinning through creamy powder. We dug a pit not far from the summit, and determined that the stability was reasonably good (no propagation in our extended column test). From the summit we skied down to Tag Alder Lake, and then did it again, before heading back down the way we had come up. Joshua had done this tour many times, providing a relaxed vibe to the outing. We were all happy and tir…

Little Saint Joe Cabin/Ski

Date: January 26 - 28, 2018,  Trip Leader: Paul Jensen
This trip seemed to come together somewhat at the last minute. On Friday morning Camie and I made the climb to the cabin, dropped our packs and skinned up the ridge to the first high point for a run.  We had some deep powder conditions which made for tough trail breaking but fun skiing.  That evening after dark, 6 others showed up which made for a very full cabin!  After we all got settled in though things didn't seem so bad and actually I think we all had a fun time sharing the cabin.  The next morning Forest showed up with plans to spend Saturday night and Susanna and David came up for the day.  Camie, Forest (with his new ski setup!) and I spent the day skiing a couple different runs in great powder conditions.  That night we again had 8 people in the cabin and probably 8 different kinds of alcohol!  In the morning most people had to leave but Camie and I plus 2 of the others made the climb up for another ru…

Stonewall Creek, Lincoln

Date: January 20, 2018 Trip Leaders: Joshua Philips and Susanna Girolamo
Four of us carpooled from Missoula and met up with Lauren and Justin at the lower parking lot of Stonewall Creek, outside Lincoln. We skinned from the cars, five of us on skis and one on a split-board. The area was new to four in the group and the focus was on mitigating exposure to objective hazards in avalanche terrain and how to travel safely as a group. Joshua took us out not just for a fun day of back-country riding, but to focus on terrain selection, route choice, and group travel techniques. Keeping a dialogue about safety concerns throughout the day, we explored the area and dug a pit to investigate the snow pack. In our pit we found several persistent weak layers which resulted in keeping our skiing a bit more on the conservative side. The skiing conditions were much better than expected with nice soft snow for making turns. We had 10” of new snow at 7200’ in a 280 cm snowpack.

Hyalite Canyon Ice Climbing Trip

Date: January 13-14, 2018 Participants: Forest Dean and Tom Herwerden
This trip was only listed about 12 days before it actually happened but nevertheless several individuals expressed interest in going.  However, things came up and as it turned out, just the two of us went.  Everyone else missed out!  Tom and I had a great time.  We arrived at the Grotto Falls Trailhead about 11:00 on Saturday morning and then hiked a short distance up canyon with the intent of heading for the Mummy 2 area.  However, when we started up the trail to Mummy, we immediately found the Amphitheater climbs were wide open so we just decided to start climbing!  Fat Chance Left/Right(WI3/4), Thin Chance (WI4) and then Switchback Falls (WI 2-3) entertained us for the rest of the afternoon.  We headed back into town about 5:00 then rendezvoused again at 7:30 on Sunday morning.  Not wanting to get back to Missoula too late we just did a couple of hours of climbing on Genesis 2 (WI 3/4-) and then called it quits.…

Bozeman Ice Festival

Date: December 6-10, 2017 Trip Leader: Forest Dean
Participants:  Susanna Phillips, Brent Maier, Abby Stensland, Quentin Rhoades, Bjorn Nabozney, Gunnar Nabozney, Joren Nabozney, Chris Dunn, Forest Dean
A group of us made the trip to Bozeman for the 21st Annual Bozeman Ice Festival.  Quentin rented a VRBO house for us all just three blocks from the Emerson (de facto headquarters for the festival).  He, along with Susanna, Chris and Forest arrived on Wednesday.  Everyone else drove down on Friday.  Quentin also served as camp cook:  elk chili, moose stew, and elk roast were his delectable dinner creations;  he was also up early every morning cooking eggs, bacon, sausages, coffee, etc.  Bring this guy on your trips!  Bjorn donated all the beer (Big Sky)- bring him along too!
While the Emerson serves as the home base for the in-town evening activities for the Festival, Hyalite Canyon is where all the ice climbing takes place.  Most festival attendees take one or more clinics while there…