Mt. Idaho (Lost River Range)

Date: June 8-9, 2018 Leader:  Forest Dean Participants: Minot Maser and Quentin Rhoades
At 12,065’, Mt. Idaho is the 5th highest peak in the state of Idaho and one of nine 12K peaks in the state.  It is a very aesthetic looking mountain with classic ridges and faces and really just as appealing as its bigger neighbor a mile and a half to the north (Borah).   The plan for this trip was to climb the steep central couloir on the north face.
We drove down to the Lost River Range on Friday afternoon arriving about 3:00pm.  The best way to approach the north face of Mt. Idaho is to come in from the east (Pahsimeroi Valley) but I was reluctant to drive the rough roads to the Merriam Lake trailhead.  Thus we began at the Borah Peak- Chicken Out Ridge trailhead.  We followed this trail up the ridge for 3,000 feet before veering off to the southeast (Cedar Creek drainage) at around 10,300’.  From there it was a bit of challenging sidehilling over fist-sized scree as we made our way towards the…

Chpaaqn Peak Hike

Date: June 2, 2018 Trip Leader: Laurel Vielle Attendees: Don Arthur, Jim Valentine, Dell and Gail Meuchel, Robin Young, Lou Herrit and Dennis Bonawitz.
Seven chipper hikers and myself gathered at the Snow Bowl park and ride about 8:00 on Saturday, June 2.  We made the trek up to Nine Mile in two vehicles to just below the trailhead.  Some mud and snow stopped us before we reached the trail but it was a short extra distance to walk.  On the pre-hike from the previous week there was quite a lot of snow so I had everyone bring spikes and snowshoes.  Of course we didn't need any as the evening before was nice and chilly and the snow was hard and fairly easy to walk on even as the day wore on.  The first 2 miles or so the trail was easy to follow even with the snow,  but after awhile I was thankful for GPS.  We'd still be wondering around up there if not for GPS due to the trail becoming indistinguishable and being low in the trees with no point of reference.  After a circuitous route…

Rattler Gulch Climbing

Date: May 27, 2018 Leader: Kelsey Wellington Participants: Alice Gustafson, Logan DeBoer, Casey Brown, Michael Pronzato
With a sudden opening in my calendar and the weather promising to be nothing less than stellar, I planned a last-minute climbing trip to Rattler Gulch on Sunday. The group, which consisted of the majority of participants from my last climbing trip, met at my house at 8am due to my proximity to the interstate. We all piled into my car and arrived at Rattler Gulch, which is near Garnet Ghost Town, before 9am. Due to the short (but incredibly steep!) approaches to all the climbs, we were climbing by 9am.
For many, this was their first time on sharp limestone. I had spent the previous two days climbing granite, so my fingers were screaming at me to take a break. While painful, the climbing was phenomenal. We found finger pockets, heel hooks, and a (somewhat discomforting) number of slabby moves. The canyon echoed with our shouts of joy and frustration as we worked our w…

Black Mountain (Southwest Ridge)

Participants- Isaac and Eric Jones 

Because of my late posting, some interested folks weren’t able to make this trip. However, this allowed Isaac and I to enjoy a very nice and filling breakfast at ‘The Trough’ in Target Range before we headed to the trailhead up O’Brien Creek. The trailhead is about a mile below the gate which allowed us an easy bike ride to the gate and another mile up the road before the trail veered off to the north. We dumped the bikes there and headed up the trail for about mile before we bushwhacked up the obvious SW ridge to the summit. This route was surprisingly beautiful and did not have any evidence of timber management that is so striking when you look at the east face of Black Mountain from the Missoula valley. The coast back to the truck, through every puddle, was awesome.

McDonald Peak (Mission Mtns)

Date: May 20, 2018 Leader:  Forest Dean Participants: Quentin Rhoades and Ron Oman
Looking for a little different approach to McDonald Peak and wanting to get a close up on the impressive (and only once climbed) north face of Sheepshead, the three of us headed up to the Ashley Lakes trailhead early on this Sunday morning.  We were sort of surprised to see two other vehicles at the trailhead when we arrived at 5:00am.  Three guys were camped there and planning to head up Sheepshead’s West Ridge that day.  We got organized and started hiking up the climbers trail at 5:30am.  Trailhead is at about 4900’- by 6500’ we were on consistent snow coverage.  We hiked up to a spot on the ridge at 7450’, put crampons on and descended steeply off the north side.  We soon got into soft snow but since we were going down, we made quick work of it.  We began a contouring (to the east) descent as we traversed the north face of Sheepshead.  After losing around 800’ we then began the slow re-ascent up a …

Pinball Wizard Chute (and Little St. Joe), Bitterroots

Date: May 5, 2018
Trip leader: Joshua Phillips
Attendees: John Bardsley, Adam Drobish, Minot Maser

The third TRM trip on Saturday, May 5, was a backcountry ski trip over the top of Little St. Joe to the Pinball Wizard Chute. Pinball Wizard descends to Bass Creek about half-way along the ridge between Little and Big St. Joe Peaks and requires some scrappy and slow-going hiking along the ridge once past Litte St. Joe. Pinball Wizard is the second chute you see as you look down from the ridge heading west. The chute itself is a skiers dream: 4000 feet of vertical, with a consistent, but not-too-steep, pitch. It's definitely worth the extra effort beyond Little St. Joe. We were able to ski all the way to Bass Creek, then it was 5 miles out on the Bass Creek trail to the cars, and back to Missoula for the Rocky Mountaineers annual picnic. Although it was a long, challenging day, this trip was one of the highlights of the ski year for me.

Kootenai Canyon Rock Climbing

Date: May 5, 2018 Leaders: Kelsey Wellington and Forest Dean Participants: Alice Gustafson, Sierra Lake, Logan DeBoer, Casey Brown, Tom Jones, Diana Diakow, and Thomas Herwerden
This was my first trip lead for the Rocky Mountaineers, and I was excited that it involved my favorite sport: climbing. I am quite familiar with the climbing in the Bitterroots, so Forest and I chose Kootenai Canyon for our adventure. The group met at the Route 12/93 Walmart at 8:30am, and we were at the trailhead by 9:10am. The approach to the climbing is a short one—barely half a mile—so we were climbing by 9:30am.
The routes at Kootenai are stout, despite their intermediate grades. Many experienced climbers have found themselves frustrated by Kootenai, myself included. On this trip, I led a route named 11th Commandment, which had been the bane of my existence for about a year. This time, I finally reached the top without falling, and celebrated with many high-fives once I returned to the ground. Logan and …