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The Helmet & Sphinx, Madison Range

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Date: October 12, 2019 Trip Leader: Laurel Vielle Attendees: Anne Dellwo, Bryan Kercher, Britt and Sussie Lindsey and Dev the Wonder Dog Stats: 16 miles RT with 5600 ft of elevation gain
With the winter weather event that took place a few days before, I was seriously doubting we would be climbing anything this past Saturday the 12th of October. But, as it turned out, we had bluebird conditions and relatively little snow to deal with.  Five of us (plus Anne's dog Dev) started up the trail around 8:30am and in no time made it up to the saddle between The Helmet and the Sphinx in the Madison range.  After taking a quick break we all headed over to the area that would give us access to The Hemet's western ridge.  I had never climbed The Helmet but knew someone who did and who had referenced a "keyhole" access to the ridge.  Sure enough, after hiking below the huge sheer southern face of The Helmet, we found a narrow gully with a chock stone and squeezed through the &quo…

Kakashe Mountain (Mission Mountain Range)

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Date: October 13, 2019 Co-Leaders: Elizabeth Moore & Casey Lammers Participants: Jennifer Franklin On a beautiful, blue bird fall morning, we got started at the East end of Mission Reservoir near Mission Reservoir Campground around 8 am. We climbed straight up the hillside until reaching Kakashe ridge, then followed the ridge through the woods, bushwhacking (sometimes over some astonishing and expansive layers of downed trees) and using the existing switchback trail when it was useful to us.  We encountered snow patches from early October snowfall and increasingly more above 7500’.  At about 7800’ just below Peak 8052 we made our way across a large couloir and climbed up to the saddle between Peak 8052 and Kakashe.  Around this area is when we hit consistent snow and travel was a little bit slower.  We climbed up the South face of Kakashe from here on slick beargrass slopes and through some boulders. We brought along microspikes but the conditions didn’t warrant using them.  I found i…

Joe Peaks Traverse (Bitterroots)

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Date: October 6, 2019
Leader: Forest Dean
Participants: Dori Gilels, Minot Maser, Laurel Vielle, Andrew Koopman


The five of us got started at the main Bass Creek trailhead a few minutes after 7:00am on this beautiful Sunday morning. We hiked up the ridge following the general route of the winter skin track to the Bass Creek Overlook lot and then up the trail. Encountered consistent snow at about 7000’. Snow gradually got deeper as we gradually got higher, maxing out at around a foot near the summits and connecting ridgelines. The going wasn’t too difficult though and we were at the Little St. Joe summit (9033’) at a bit after 10:00. This was Andrew’s first Bitterroot summit (congratulations!).


We then proceeded to make the long traverse along the crest of the ridge toward St. Joseph Peak. The snow didn’t allow for rapid movement, but we did ok. Upon reaching the base of the east ridge of Big Joe, we opted to cut across the SE Bowl to gain the South Ridge, which we then followed to th…

Wind River Range

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Dates: August 30- September 8, 2019
Leader: Forest Dean
Participant: Josh Ashton, Mick Manley, Rob Edington, Brent Maier, Abby Maier

I have always raved about the Winds. Personally I don’t believe there is a more idyllic mountain range in the lower 48. The combination of huge granite peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes, streams rivals anything the high Sierra might be able to offer- but without the hordes of people (although Titcomb Basin on Labor Day weekend may be an exception). 13,000’ summits are everywhere. Many of the lakes are teaming with trout. Many CDT hikers say the Winds are their favorite section of the entire 3000 mile adventure. Its paradise!

Last winter I discussed putting this trip together with Brent. He had heard me fondly talking about it for several years now and was eager to get there himself. We listed it on the calendar, and when the end of August rolled around there was a total of 6 of us ready for the adventure. We had chosen Titcomb Basin as a place to basecamp f…

15TH Annual Glacier Classic

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Date: August 17-19, 2018
Divide Creek Campground, St. Mary, Montana


We shifted the basecamp for this year’s Glacier Classic to the new Divide Creek Campground in St. Mary. This was the fourth consecutive year we based our activities out of this part of the Park. The venue worked out really well as we commandeered nearly the entire campground. The weather cooperated (well, mostly) and we set a new Glacier Classic attendance record (41 of us)!


Around 15 of us arrived on Thursday afternoon/evening to participate in the Friday trips. Everyone else came up on Friday. The weather deteriorated as the day transpired on Friday, but with a couple pop-up tents and a campground-provided-onion-dome, we stayed mostly dry in camp on Friday evening. On Saturday morning we were greeted by the sight of snow in the mid to high levels of the Park. This made for some slight alternations on a couple trips, but overall things went as scheduled. On Saturday evening we enjoyed a fabulous burrito feast prepared t…

Ahern Peak Loop: Glacier Classic, Day 2

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Date: August 17, 2019
Leader: Forest Dean
Participant: Bryan Kercher, Dori Gilels, Josh Krantz, Josh Ashton, Frank Dean, Seth Andersen, Brent Maier, Abby Maier

This large group of nine of us started out from Many Glacier just a few minutes after 7am. The goal for the day was the “Yo-Yo” Route to Ipasha Peak. However, we had awoke this morning to what appeared to be a decent amount of fresh snow in the high country, so we went into this adventure with an open mind- the likelihood of making Ipasha seemed low. This strong group set a brisk pace though as we moved up the trail and in less than two hours we were at Iceberg Lake (no icebergs!). Here we geared up for the steep climb up the headwall to Iceberg Notch. The route is all class 3 (maybe 4 in one or two spots) but with all the snow it was a wet, miserable slog upward. We really had to take our time and watch our footing. Everyone did fantastic though and as we topped out at the notch, the skies began to clear. However, as we looke…

Clements and Cannon: Glacier Classic, Day 1

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Date: August 17, 2019
Leader: Forest Dean
Participant: Bryan Kercher and Fintan Maguire

The three of us started out from Logan Pass at 7:00am. We hiked up the climbers trail to the saddle between Oberlin and Clements in good time, then scrambled up to the base of the cliffs on the NE side of Clements. Here we geared up and made an airy traverse on a narrow ledge over to the prominent East Gully of Clements. The last 30 feet of ledge traverse was a bit too exposed for our comfort level, so we roped up and protected the move into gully. The gully itself is steep near the bottom with classic loose Glacier scrambling. Could be considered class 4 or easy 5 depending on how one looks at it. We belayed a couple pitches with the short rope we had brought along for just that reason. The top half was all solid third class scrambling, and by 10:30 we were at the summit. A very fun and worthwhile climb- all within constant view of the hordes of tourists hiking up the boardwalk to Hidden Lake Pas…