Ward Mountain, Bitterroots

On March 10, a solid crew of 6 headed up the northeast ridge of Ward Mountain for a multi-purpose outing: the search for fresh turns, and to "poke our noses" in the snow to investigate stability.  Along for the adventure was Susanna Girolamo, Joshua Phillips, Fintan Maguire, Lindsey Egelston, David Swanson, and Leland Earls.  Though the NE ridge has little objective hazard, folks came well equipped with beacons, probes, shovels, and we even had three radios in the group.
We got an early start, so there was no need to push a break-neck pace.  We took short breaks and mostly stayed together the whole way to the summit.  It was a bluebird day in the truest sense of the term, calm conditions without a cloud in the sky.  We stopped about 200' below the summit and dug a snow pit to search for weak layers as the advisory from Missoula Avalache reported "Considerable".  We found about 20" of new snow and only minor stability issues within the top 6".  We com…

Chief Joseph Stay

Date: Feb. 27 & 28th, 2018

As is our custom everybody went up to the Chief Joseph Cross-Country Ski area in the morning. We meet in the warming hut between noon and 12:30 for lunch. Then set out on the afternoon’s adventure, all meet at the cabins we have rented at The Broad Axe in Sula, have a pot luck dinner, then go back up to Chief Joseph the next day. It turned out that everyone was in the parking lot, before anyone had gone back to the cabin, but we went there anyway and ran into a nice couple from Boise. Zona Linderman and Steve Schombel in Lois Crepeau’s vehicle had encountered big horn sheep on the road driving up, fortunately not disastrously. Fred Schwanemann was nursing a cranky ankle and stayed at the hut. Eileen Schwanemann skied near by. Lois and Steve snowshoed some up and down trails. Zona joined David and Julie Kahl on a longer ski, the ungroomed trails had several inches of light powder on them, making for delightful skiing on a cold -in the teens- day. We went f…

Mission Falls Ice Climbing

Date: March 3-4, 2018 Trip Leader: Forest Dean Participants: Tom Herwerden, Chad Atwood, Steve Hancock, Dan Escalante, Michael Duncan, Jerry Cintron
With the ice season winding down, several of us wanted to take the skills we acquired at the Hyalite clinic a couple weeks ago and try to ingrain them before hanging up the tools for the year.Thus was born the idea of a two day climbing trip to the Mission Falls area.Four clinic participants plus three others joined up for what turned out to be an awesome weekend of ice climbing.Other than Steve, none of us had ever climbed at Mission (not including the Hourglass area).
We got a bit of a late start leaving Missoula (8:45am on Saturday) and then were further delayed as we ran into a towing operation about ¾ mile before the trailhead.A CSKT Game Warden also happened to be back there; fortunately everyone had their recreation pass and he wished us well and let us pass!The trail was beaten down well enough that no skis or snowshoes were need…

Bass Creek BC Ski

Sunday, February 25th  Trip Leader: Joshua Phillips
Trask Baughman joined Joshua for this quick ski up Bass Creek to resupply the Wolverine Watchers trail camera station.  Joshus carried the roadkill bait and the skunk scent and Trask carried the tools.  The skiing conditions were perfect, with soft snow on the trail edges and a nice fast track underfoot.  Unfortunately, obligations at home kept us from taking advantage of the powder day, but the ski out of Bass Creek was quite enjoyable.  At this point, both creek crossings are frozen enough to easily ski across. Joshua

Hyalite Ice Clinic Weekend

Date: February 16-18, 2018 Trip Leader: Forest Dean Participants: Megan Monahan, Jerry Cintron, Steve Hancock, Chad Atwood, Quentin Rhoades
As part of our new mission of offering more outdoor educational opportunities, we signed up Whit Magro, one of the best ice climbers around, to give us a day of instruction in this world class ice climbing venue.  A fun weekend ensued!  We had 10 folks sign up but at the last minute 4 had to cancel to due to illness.  Thus, only six of us made the trip to Bozeman.  We rented a beautiful log home a few miles north of the city which served as our luxurious basecamp for the weekend. 
Saturday morning we met Whit at the Grotto Falls trailhead at 8:30 and then hiked up to the Unnamed Wall for a day of instruction and climbing.  We all learned a lot and got some good laps in.  Back to the house that evening and most of us stayed up way too late.  Somehow the foosball table made its way into the kitchen during the small hours and Steve and Forest took …

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…