McDonald Peak, Missions

Date: May 11, 2019 Trip Leader: Joshua Philips Brent Maier and I teamed up to co-lead this classic tour.  We had put it on the calendar a couple of months in advance and had many interested members in joining.  We capped the trip at 6 participants and put the folks that were on the “waiting list” in touch with each other.  Susanna Girolamo Phillips, Abby Maier, Tom Herwerden, Fintan Maguire, Brent and I were all motivated for a 5am meet-up at 7R.  The “waiting list” team consisted of Tom Jones and Casey Lammers.  They ended up meeting up at 3:30am to make an attempt at The Sheep’s Head and when we got to the Ashley Lakes trailhead, we found TJ’s jeep.  We left the trailhead at 7:10am and enjoyed the freshly cleared trail up to Ashley Lakes as the day began to warm.  We left our shoes at the lower lake and skinned around the south shore and scrambled up to the upper lake.  The southerly shore of the upper lake was choked with avalanche debris and our pace slowed as we navigated the icy …

St. Mary Peak, Bitterroot

Four of us met up for this casual day of ski touring on St. Mary Peak in the Bitterroot.  Jennifer Franklin, Kelly Miller, Dave Swanson and I drove as far up the road as we could…which wasn’t very far.  We made it to a switchback at 5100’ and started packing our skis and boots up the ridge.  We climbed 1300’ before we found enough snow to justify skinning.  The ridge made for a direct route to the trailhead and we continued up the ridge to about 8200’ before we decided the day was warming up too fast.  The snow was getting soft fast and we wanted to get some turns in before the slush took over.  We ripped skins and had a nice run down a south facing glade.  We had a snack and climbed back up to our highpoint and decided we’d rather ski down and make it to the BBQ in a timely fashion instead of continuing to the summit.  The ski down was enjoyable with a band of sticky snow in the mid elevations of our decent.  We skied back to where we’d stashed our shoes and hiked down to the truck. …

Ch-paa-qn Peak, Nine Mile Range, MT

Date: May 4, 2019 Trip Leader: Susanna Girolamo Phillips & co-leader Tom Jones Participants: Lou Herritt, Jim Greenfield, Doug Thorsen
A few days before the trip I called the Ninemile Ranger Station to check if any of the roads to the trailheads were open. I was recommended to wait until the end of May to hike the trails because of the amount of snow still found above 5'000 ft.   I decided and encouraged everyone to bring skis or snowshoes and try to drive as far as we can up to the road to Chpaaqn trailhead # 707, located at about 5'700 ft, that starts on the southwest ridge. This trailhead takes you straight to the summit.  We meat in Missoula and carpooled with two cars. To our surprise we were able to drive all the way up to about 5'200 ft before ditching the car on the side road.  On the drive up we did see a black bear. It showed great foresight that Tom was prepared with bear spray.  Two of us brought skis and the rest had snowshoes. No need for snowshoes! The …

The Heap- Rock Climbing

Date: May 4, 2019 Leader:  Forest Dean Participants: Minot Maser, Frank Dean, Jake Fromm, Josh Ashton, Casey Lammers, Nolan Lammers, Elizabeth Moore, Astrid Moore, Brent Maier, Abby Maier, Tom Herwerden
A large group of us spent a beautiful Spring Fling Saturday rock climbing at The Heap.  The Heap is located immediately south of Lolo Hot Springs and has 11-12 established sport routes.  We arrived about 9:00 and hiked the approximate one mile approach.  We then set up 5 or 6 topropes for the group to bounce around on.  A few of us led a couple as well.  None of us were hardcore rock climbers, so it was just a fun day to all get out and get some of the rust off our cragging gear.  We wrapped things up at 3:30, hiked back to the vehicles, drove back to Missoula and headed for the BBQ!  Thanks to all who came and made it a very fun day! Forest Dean

Bell Mountain, Lemhi Range

Date: April 26-28, 2019 Leader:Forest Dean Participants: Carl Sunderman, Fintan Maguire, Brent Maier
After failing on a chance for a summit attempt (due to weather) for the second time on this mountain back in January, I made plans to come back in the spring.I knew the 800’ of summit block would make for a fun, steep snow climb and wanted to try it before it melted and became a third class scramble.It did not disappoint!
Carl made the drive over to Missoula from his home in Spokane on Friday morning.I picked up him and Fintan and then Brent and we were out of town by 11am.The drive down on highways 93 and 28 and then two-track roads across sagebrush plains to the area we parked at (mouth of Bell Mountain Canyon) took just a little over 4 hours.We began hiking up a mostly snow free road at 3:30pm at an elevation of 7600’.About a mile up the road we ran into a summer “trailhead” and shortly after this point we donned our skis (8100’).We skied up a ridge and then into a magnificent open…

Trapper Peak, Bitterroots

Date: April 27, 2019
Trip Leader: Bryan Kercher

Participants: Edna Blanchfield, Sharon Berube, Kay Winters, Lou Herritt, Mike McGinnis, Josephine Rundle, Adam Drobish, Dave Patterson, Alec Patterson, Todd Kaye, Norma Nickerson

This was a continuation of Alden Wright’s annual birthday trip up Trapper Peak, but unfortunately Alden decided he better not join this year.  We had a full group anyway, with at least a few new members. We met at the “spring trailhead” just down from the lowest deep snow patch – from there it’s about a mile off trail up the ridge to the real trailhead – and got started at 7am on this sunny and pleasantly cool 32° morning. It took almost an hour to get up to the trailhead and when everybody was caught up we took off again, this time spreading out into smaller groups. Soon after starting up again we had snowshoes back on (Adam on skis) and were on snow the rest of the way up. As we got up to around 9000 feet where trees are thinning out it started getting windy a…

Snow Climbing and Glacier Travel- Field Days!

Dates: April 13-14, 2019 Leader:Forest Dean Participants: Brent Maier, Logan DeBoer, Jerry Cintron, Erin Carey, Casey Lammers, Josh Ashton, Joe Hylton
For the second consecutive spring, we put together this weekend practice session to work on all things related to snow climbing and glacier travel.Two days prior, on Thursday, we held a roundtable session at Big Sky Brewery to discuss these important components of mountaineering.The session was very well attended with 12 folks showing up.For this weekend training, I had decided to cap the participants at eight so as to provide for a better experience for everyone there.Unfortunately had to turn a few other interested individual’s away (stay tuned as we will try to put another one of these field days together soon!)
Last year we held this practice at Snowbowl and was planning to again this year but then they decided to stay open for an extra weekend.So we moved to Marshall Mountain (thank you Bruce, for the permission) which worked dece…