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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Opening day rifle season

Met up with my ol' man and two of his friends from Great Falls for opening day of rifle season. We knew where a large herd of elk was hanging out on private ground so we set ourselves up on the perimeter. We had a beautiful morning and some of my party had some luck but really long story short, the bull that one of our party shot and killed was claimed by another hunter, from out of state. Lame, I know. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles though and that confrontation had the potential to go down hill very quickly. Said thief has the guilty conscious, not us. My dad and I went out on Sunday and got into elk but once again we were fowled by private land owned by out-of-staters (Texas!).
Great spot to watch the sun come up!

Thats Wood Butcher, Hairy Dingus, and #3 (code names). 

Thats about half the herd, on the wrong side of the fence.

Driving out, we found a giant herd of goats; 17. 
~15 of the 17 were Billies! Two of which were giant, giant, goats. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Taking advantage of some great MT Autumn weather at Squaw Creek

The sunshine was just beckoning Bozeman's climbers to get out so thats exactly what Travis, Manfred (who refrains from climbing for personal reasons; he plays the "Im too short card"), and myself did. We warmed up on 'Pretty Polly 10D' with a lead and then a TR. Then we moved over to the Pillar and Travis climbed the 'Pillar Route 11D' so we could TR 'Pillar Crack 12A'. I got up the crack a lot quicker and more confidently than I expected... but I was on TR. Travis had to climb the thing in the dark but he sent it too. 
Pretty Polly is the weakness right in the middle of the photo.
The Pillar with the 11D sport route on the left side and the crack on the right is a 12A trad line.

Manfred wasnt feeling the stoke so he opted to hang out and give us moral support.
Night climbing!

I absolutely love this photo. A massive, ominous chunk of rock with a headlamp beam and a climber. Could almost be an Alpine start photo.  Far from it though. We proceeded to the Molly Brown and attempted to drink them out of booze. But we couldnt so we tried the Hoff and we couldnt drink them dry either. Needless to say, not a lot of work got done the next day. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bear Canyon Bottomless Pit

After a MUU alpine start, which was meeting for mimosas at 10am, Lucas, Trace, Trevor, Travis and I cruised out to Stacy's Bar in Gallatin Gateway to re-group and get some more liquid courage. I think it was 2pm-ish by the time we got out of the truck and started walking! Lucas wanted to collect some more fungi too. All we knew was that the cave is on the southern aspect of Wheeler Mountain (plus a couple more details but those are not to be posted on the internet; you'll never find it without them). I peeled away from the group and found a cave, not the one we were looking for however. I crawled in there as far as I dare without somebody knowing where I was and it keeps going! I marked it on my GPS and will be back for further investigation. I got a call on the radio and the crew had found the pit so I followed their tracks to the Bottomless Pit. There was another sink hole encountered along the way which looked like a wonderful mountain lion home and was clearly being used due to the numerous tracks everywhere in the snow. The Bottomless Pit is about 25-30 meters deep with a massive ice plug in the middle that you can just barely wiggle by to get to the bottom. Im sure the true bottom is unattainable when there is winter snow. I didnt go down to the bottom proper because I left my helmet in the truck. It was atleast a 3 mile bushwhack there.
I would call this the trail head, but there is no trail, only a parking area.
The cave I found and crawled into and out of sight before turning around.
The Lion's Den (probably)
The Bottomless Pit. Notice the bridge. 
Trevor rapping down. The bridge is the top of the photo.
It seems bottomless cause you cant safely get close enough to the edge to see the bottom.
Here we are standing on top of the snow bridge/ice plug a little over half way down the cave.

I have been knuckle deep, ankle deep, elbow deep, and knee deep in things before but never shoulder deep! Runoff created a sweet little perfectly round hole in the ice which Im sure is there year-round.  
Lucas brought my camera down to the bottom where they actually found (and collected) fruiting body fungi!
When I ascended out, I got to see an incredible hot pink sunset. But by the time Trevor and Trace got out, it was black.
Im not sure we would have found the truck if it wasnt for our tracks in the snow.
A long exposure looking down into the valley. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lilyguard Cave Take 1

A crew of cave fungi hunters, Lucas, Trace, Travis and I, drove to xxxxxxx MT and cruised up xxxxxxx Creek to begin our search. None of us had ever been there before but we thought we had a pretty good idea of where it was. And we were close, very close. We found a couple of square miles of Limestone amongst mountains of Granite so we know we were close. We walked miles, found several caves, some going as deep as 30ft but they were not the 188th deepest in the country! I think Travis and I actually spotted the cave on a hillside but since we had tickets to Blitzen Trapper at the filler, it was time to go.
Me chillin up in the burn. Seriously, it was cold. 
Travis trying to point out a chup-a-cabra!
What a bunch of disgruntled cavers huh?
Im wondering if we spent too much time 'problem solving' and not enough time searching! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

'A' for effort at the Village

For being in a rain-shadow desert not high in elevation and the first week of October there was a ton of snow. After helping pull a Subaru out of a ditch, having to chain up myself, Lucas, Travis and I finally start the trudge in. We went to the closest rocks in the Village looking for some short routes (but taller than a boulder problem). Lucas set-up a TR on quaint little wafer and we all TR'd it. I wasnt incredibly inspired so I took a little walk in the snow to scout some rock I had never visited before. I found two very worthy rocks with multiple routes on each. I slogged back up to Lucas and Travis to tell them the good news only to find out we didnt have bits for the drill. Yup. Ill bet we never do that again. Slightly disheartened, we walked back to the car. We sat at the car for a while watching people get stuck before we took off down the road only to get stuck ourselves. 4-low, chains, a shovel, Lucas' and Travis' manpower and my lead foot got us back to dirt and on our way to the Gravel Bar. We earned our beers today! 
And I wore cotton pants...
Lucas slingin' horns

Such a pretty place to climb and kill a day.

Thats me climbing. This route has some awesome finger cracks that were a godsend cause our frozen fingers werent excited to crimp anything. 

Yup, its Down Jacket Season!