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Friday, March 27, 2015

West Fork (of the Teton River) Cabin

A forest service cabin is a great place for a birthday party! So for Lucas' brithday, a bunch of us headed up to Choteau to a cabin right next to the Teton Pass ski hill. Luckily, Lucas brought a pair of 4-wheelers; the first half mile of road was snowed in. The wheelers were light enough to stay on top, Travis learned the hard way that his truck was too heavy. I failed to take any photos of the cabin somehow. Take my word for it, it has everything you need and is really cool. We had all kinds of big plans to go bc skiing and or rock climbing but for some reason, mother nature decided to snow on us. No biggy though. A wildfire from a year or two ago provided more than enough firewood for a consistently huge and hot bonfire. We got some drinking done and fun was had by all!
It started off as 80*  shorts and sandals weather. The toboggan came in uber handy for towing piles of gear across the snow.
Some fire-twirling entertainment (thats a hula hoop with 5 fire balls/wicks).

Most of the crew, minus 4 of us.
Bo bo bo bo bo Bonfire!
Here is an example of the kind of logs we were using. I know for a fact we burned at least 4 cords of wood in two nights...

Piles of wood like this would burn in hours! I couldnt believe it! I term really really big pieces of firewood 'all nighters.' We put on all-nighters after all-nighters after all-nighters and they would burn in a matter of hours! Nothing lasted all night. It was pretty windy but the forest was damp/wet so we didnt have any wildfire concerns. Not to mention everything had just burned last year. 
Incidental Jesus crucifixion pose.

Now thats a MT-esque photo for you; a bunch of natives smokin' cigarettes, drinkin' beer and shootin' guns. 
The Ramp that we hoped to climb. I have never seen such a 'plane' of rock like that. 
Same photo with a cool filter on it. We should have to pay Neil to party with us! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lower Bear Canyon Limestone new route

Lower Bear Canyon is so close and so easy to get to that it makes for a great afternoon outing. I got off of work a little early so I ran home and grabbed the drill. I hiked up to the craig Lucas and I put two routes up last summer and added a third. The new one, Lime Juice, is a lot shorter than its neighbors at 5 bolts to chains but probably the same grade, 5.9-5.10. Out of State Plates (now the middle route) is 11 bolts to chains and That One Deserves a Cigarette (left most route) is 8 bolts to chains.
Lime Juice ends where the rope hits the tan roof and disappears. The rock above the anchor becomes really questionable.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Maiden voyage of the Gypsy Wagon

I had been chomping at the bit to use my new (to me) camper so Manfred and I went out to the village. The camping part was uber successful but the climbing development didnt see much progress. I did get to hike around with the Onyx App on my smart phone to hammer out some of the property boundary issues and boy oh boy, the Village just tripled in size!
The cat matches my bag? Or the bag matches the cat?
Manfred chilling in the Gypsy Wagon.

All those rocks have yet to see a climber!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hyalite Ice: Genesis 1 and 2 solo

I had a couple extra hours afterwork so I ran up to Hyalite to remember how to ice climb. Its been a couple of weeks since I had the spiky gear out. G1 looks like hell (relative to those who see it regularly during a normal winter) and G2 has plenty of room to grow. I spied a climb that doesnt touch down very often touching down though. Its the 2nd time Bingo World has touched down this year; it hasnt touched down once in the last couple years. Hopefully I get on this time before someone breaks it.
Bingo World
Someone hooked a chain to the reknown Hyalite Canyon sign and ripped it off. Super lame.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tobacco Roots: Ward Peak climb and ski

Sunday funday found me by myself in my favorite MT mountain range, the Tobacco Roots. Ward Peak really stands out from the rest of the range and oversee's my rock climbing area so its been on my radar for a long time. This, my second attempt, was much more successful than the first. I got to Kid lake and was surrounded by beautiful ski lines making it a little harder to be peak bagging rather than just backcountry skiing. I picked out the best line coming off Ward and started booting up. I didnt hike up the gully, nor did I post hole. That would insinuate a shallow snow pack that you could stay on top of, maybe even have a little purchase. Nope. I carved a switch-backing ditch all the way up that thing. Waist to nipple deep powder will wear you out! I usually do most of my backcountry skiing in the spring when Im chasing corn snow so shredding powder in the winter in a place like that was a dream come true. It was a real test of perseverance both mentally and physically. Being by yourself, its easy to 'be done' or to come up with excuses for turning around. But I realized this might be a unique opportunity for winter backcountry due to the weird weather in SW MT this year and kept on keeping on. The 6 mile approach with 3,700' of climbing got a little tiresome too but my legs somehow kept moving. The descent was all laughs and smiles. My IPAs that were waiting for me at the lake didnt freeze either which was a cherry on top of an excellent day. From the summit to the car there was not even a hint of wind, only a bright blue sky with an abundance of soul-warming sunshine.
IPA, Salami, Cheese, Crackers; fuel for outdoor enthusiasts since, well , a long time now. Thats the N-NW face of Ward Peak. The first gully going from left to right (right half of photo) was my ascent/descent.
Not a bad place to hang out by yourself. Great opportunity to get some thinking done.

This is the summit. Looking E at the Bridgers.
Thats Ennis Lake.

The 'hill' in the center is called Kid Mountain. Notorious snow machine country. I was hoping to either catch a ride up or back but ended up being a human powered mountaineer. 
Did I mention bluebird skies?!

Looking down at Kid lake. Some old snow machine tracks are visible.
The gullies go from right-to-left trending to left-to-right trending. The first one going left-to-right was my line.

Party in the front, on the sides and in the rear. Cant fake that!

Sun over Ward Peak from the road out.