Showing posts from May, 2018

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 …

Trapper Peak - Bitterroots

Date:  May 5, 2018.   Leader:  Alden Wright   Participants:  Julie Huck, Suzanne Panzica, Anne Yoncha, Bryan Kercher, Aaron Baldwin, Michael Riley, Neil Simpson, Edna Blanchfield, Marrea Matthews, Dave Patterson, Alec Patterson, Kevin Wright.
I did my first spring ski trip to Trapper in 1990 with an outing led by Jim Ullrich, former active Rocky Mountaineers member.Over the years, I did a similar trip many times, including a 1992 trip with my son Kevin.Starting in 2013, I led Rocky Mountaineers trips which have been billed as birthday hikes since they have been close to my birthday which is April 23.This trip continued this tradition for my 76th birthday.
We met where the road crosses Troy Creek the second time at 5500’ elevation, and this gave us a ¾ mile hike up to the summer trailhead.We walked by slash piles that were burned the week earlier.(Marrea and Edna had driven up to check out conditions, and reported extremely smoky conditions.)We started hiking from the cars at 8:00, an…