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Spotted Dog WMA

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Date: Oct. 15th, 2017
Trip Leader: Julie Kahl
Attendees: Lois Crepeau, David Kahl, Dave Robertson

If one could order a perfect October day to hike in an open area, this would have been one. Blue sky, light wind, snow capped mountains in the distance. We had a little bit of apprehension on the days leading up to this trip, rain or a low snow line would have made the west side’s O’Neill Cr. road impassable in some of its steep muddy sections. But days had been dry enough so we could use this entrance into the Wildlife Management Area. Lois Crepeau and Dave Robertson met Julie and David Kahl at the Comfort Suites on East Broadway, we went in Lois’ Tacoma and I drove. Fall colors were everywhere as we drove down Hwy I-90 to the Beckhill Rd. exit, and up into the hills to the east. We only saw one other vehicle on the way in. The "parking lot" is at 5400ft /1645.92 m and we were aiming for some 6200 ft/1889.76 m summits to the southeast, but weren’t sure exactly which of the hill…

Cabin Work Party

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Date: Oct. 7th, 2017
Attendees: Julie & David Kahl, Paul Jensen, Doug Grisham, Lois Crepeau

First the news everyone is waiting for: the Lolo Peak Fire did not reach the cabin, it came close, burning in the Larry Creek Gully just to the north of the cabin. The fire crews had done a duff-busting trench all around the cabin at various distances, and a lot of trees had been cut. As we were leaving the weather had cleared enough so we could see the Bitterroot Valley, to the east, below, much more of it -like major features such as the Bitterroot River- that we couldn’t see before. To the northeast we could see into The Larry Cr. Gully, and see the burned north rim. To the north was a large open space that hadn’t been there before. We didn’t explore that way, so we don’t know if the openness was due to burns, or maybe there was a major fire line on the south edge of the gully, where they had cut a lot of trees and stopped the fire there as it came out of the gully.

Five people met at Wal-M…

Canyon Peak, Bitterroots

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Saturday: August 26, 2017
Leader: Joshua Phillips, Co-leader Susanna Girolamo, 
Attendees: Fintan Maguire
At 6:15AM we started out at the trailhead to hike up to the base of Canyon Peak. On a clear day Canyon Peak is visible from town of Hamilton, MT, Bitterroot Mountains. Luckily we had no wildfire smoke making our trip possible.
The trail ends at Canyon Lake and off to the west you enter on an open, grassy slab-granite ridge. We traversed and followed the rock Cairns up the side hill along the contour of the slabs and talus terrain. From the base above Wyant Lake we hiked towards the North Ridge of Canyon Peak. It’s around 7 or 8 miles.
At the base of the North Ridge we changed into our climbing gear and left behind our approach shoes and two of our backpacks. With three of us we brought 2 ropes and some climbing gear; slings/webbing, cams and nuts. Our ascent started by scrambling and following up the north ridgeline just south off the saddle that overlooks Blodgett Creek Drainage.  T…

Nelson Spring/Mulchy Gulch, Garnet Mountains

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Date: September 24, 2017
Trip Leader: Julie Kahl

Other than to see a local sight, this trip had a secondary purpose to scope out this area in the Garnet Mts. northwest of Drummond for future hiking (or biking) potential. It was a visit back to an area that David and I had driven through about this time last year, and we were relying on GPS coordinates and memory to retrace our route. The main map aid was an old 2008 BLM map. We met Maria Cassidy and Lois Crepeau in town, and Lois went with Maria in her Subaru, Maria needed to be back to town by late afternoon. We were in our Tacoma and we all went to the travel Plaza in Miltown to met with Becky Roth and Gary Jones, and their three dogs, in their Suburban. Then we drove I-90 to Drummond to back track the 4-5 miles (6.44 - 8.05 k) on the frontage road to the mouth of Rattler Gulch, also known as Bradman. A short ways up the road is an old log house with a strange roof structure. Lots of speculation on why it is this way. A little further…

Sheep Mountain, Rattlesnake

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Date: September 16, 2017 Trip Leader: Alden Wright Attendees: Edna Blanchfield, Dave Robertson, Oliver Serang
Sheep Mountain is known for being the high point of the best mountain biking and trail running loop near Missoula.  I have mountain biked the Sheep Mountain loop (starting and finishing in Missoula) many times starting in 1991, but I had never done the side trail (1513) that bypasses Sheep Mountain to the north.  So I proposed a hike that would start at the trailhead in Gold Creek, do trail 1513, and then return by way of Sheep Mountain.  Oliver Serang and Edna Blanchfield joined me on this hike.  It happened that Dave Robertson proposed to climb Sheep Mountain and we met his party of 4 at the trailhead.  We hiked together for the first 2 miles.There is a maze of logging roads shown on the way to the trailhead.  But in fact, most of the alternative roads are gated off, and there are only about 2 where one might be tempted to go the wrong way.  For those turnoffs, the obvious …

An Attempt at Koch Peak, Bitterroots

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Date: September 16, 2017
Trip Organizer: John Bardsley
Attendees: Kara Daume, Fintan Maguire, Jen Meyer-Vaughan, Elizabeth Moore 

This trip was first meant to be to Bare Peaks, but the Nelson Creek fire closed that trail head, so I changed it to Koch Peak. Koch Peak is the first 9000+ foot summit along the ridge starting on the north side of Lake Como and heading west/northwest. Further along that ridge are Whites East and Whites Mountain, also 9000+ footers.

And then a cold, wet storm front came through two days prior to the trip, and it turned out to be a cold, cloudy, snowy day, with snow starting almost immediately out of the car, at about 6000'. Once we got up into the talus and boulder gardens that are typical of the Bitterroot high country, there was more than a foot of snow, which made the going very slow. About 1/2 mile from the summit, at 1pm, we were staring up at a hillside of large snowy boulders to gain the summit ridge, and I opted to turn us around, as it looked like e…

Glacier Classic, Day 2: Split Mountain

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Date: August 19, 2017 Trip Leader: Joshua Philips Partner/Author: Chris Dunn
If there is such a thing as a perfect climb, this was it. Joshua Philips and I woke “early” for a 6am departure. We drove to the Cut Bank Trailhead and began our approximately 21-mile round trip hike. The morning was cool and cloudy and this would hold for the rest of the day, with only spots of sun tracing patterns through the clouds on the valley below us. Triple Divide Pass Trail is remarkably without a single switchback, except perhaps at the very top. Rather, it is a long gently sloping ramp with dramatic views of the glacially carved valley below, complete with cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls. Our trip really began when we climbed over the pass at the foot of Triple Divide Mountain, and left the trail to the base of Split Mountain. From Triple Divide Pass, Split looks intimidating, but as you approach, as with many mountains in Glacier, it comes to look more manageable. From the base of the mountain, the…