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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pasture Gulch and Green Canyon Limestone climbing

A new guide recently was published that detailed a few, actually a ton, of climbing in the 'big empty' of central Montana. Being someone that thrives on new-to-me terrain, plans were made for a visit. Saturday night, Sam and I got 4 routes in on the Pasture Gulch craig as we watched the sun set. The hardest route we sent was a 5.10c/d called Cracks in my Confidence. Sunday Sam and I hiked into Green Canyon for some more Limestone climbing. Imagine Indian Creek (MT) in a lush backcountry slot canyon setting. Awesome. I am a big fan of granite and find myself usually targeting it but this trip got me re-stoked about Limestone. I started things off with a mixed lead of Cowography 5.8 9 bolts 120'. We rapped over the Ponderosa Wall and found some routes we just had to try. So Sam lead Bonanza 5.10a 8 bolts. Then I lead, though not cleanly, the ultra-classic Come Full Circle 5.11a/b 11 bolts. We were on a time crunch so we only got those 3 routes done but all are considered by Brunckhorst to be classics and I completely agree. Those were some of the best limestone pitches I have ever climbed. More in the sense of fun and featured than purely bullet-proof rock like Wolverine Bowl. The setting was a big contribution too; I wonder if anybody besides Brunckhorst's crew has been back there? Make an extra effort to check it out if you are ever in the area. My poor photography skills do this place no justice.
Da Gypsy Wagon
Pasture Gulch Craigs are an easy 5 minute walk from the road. 
Walking down into Green Canyon.
Looking 120' down Cowography. Did I mention its a slot canyon?


Come Full Circle
I spy a keyhole! There is a 3 pitch climb called First Anniversary that goes right over top of it! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mason Lake Bouldering

The Tobacco Roots are my favorite mountains. Lots of reasons why. One of them is the untapped rock climbing. I probably shouldnt say that but if you can find the stuff I havnt climbed that I want to, kudos to your adventurous spirit! I would never discourage someone from being adventurous. There has been this looming 'big wall' rumor circulating around for years that I just had to investigate. So Sam, Joe and I took the bouldering pads and cameras for a walk. Said 'big wall' happens to be in a newly developed bouldering area dubbed the Mason Lakes boulders. We found and climbed several boulders on the way to the easily identifiable cliff on Hollowtop. Our first stop was at the Circus Cluster. There are 7 total problems from V0 to V5. I flashed everyone of the problems except a V1 called Step Right Up. That was the second or third time I have ever flashed V5! Next we walked up to the Black Beauty area so I could try a V6. And try is all I did, again and again and again... the V6 Interplanetary Insanitarium became a project. We waffled around on some other problems before ditching the gear and heading up to the cliff. We found some old bolts and pitons in a couple of different cracks. I knew there was no way in hell that Bozeman climbers hadnt been there. I have since learned of a couple of the original climbers. I dont really care that it has been sent though. It such a pretty place to climb on impeccable rock that is so easy to get to. I like that kind of climbing. Ill let the pics do most of the talking on this one. (I did not have a camera for this trip; pics courtesy of Sam)
Sam sending Circus Slab V0

The cliff band. The tallest section is straight down from the skyline highpoint. 

This lower right section has some superb looking single and two pitch trad routes.

Lower right hand buttress

The crack that is essentially coming straight pu tof the top of my head is continuous ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP! There is atleast two pitches that cant be seen; a ramp to an upper headwall.
Before I die, I will set my hammock up under that roof and attempt to sleep. 

Zoomed in on the upper section of the previously mentioned crack; notice its continuity!?

The crack of interest runs up the grey slab left of center. The old pins are on an old aide route that goes just left of the great roof.  There was an old bolt left of the crack of interest as well. 

The cliff is just above Joe at upper Mason Lake. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pipestone Bouldering

I was lucky enough to win tickets to a Trampled By Turtles and The Devil Makes 3 at the Big Sky Brewery in Missoula so Manfred and I found ourselves pulling the gypsy wagon down the road to Zoo town. After an awesome show and a not-so-awesome hangover, I arrived in Pipestone to break up the drive home. I got a great afternoon bouldering session in on some boulders McAlpine and friends cleaned several years ago. I hesitate (as always) to claim any first ascents on these boulders. We did, however, remove some shrubbery and rocks exposing previously unclimbable (to most folks) lines. The gem, which we named the Chinese Mr.Potato Head Boulder (now commonly referred to as the Potato Head Boulder) was hard then and remains that way now. I awoke the next day in a slight panic because not only was it extremely smoky but I could smell fire. It turns out that the crazy lightning storm I drove through the afternoon prior started some fires right there on Homestake pass. I thought I was going to be hopping in the truck and driving for my life to outrun the fire! But it never showed up and I got another great morning of bouldering accomplished.
Genesis Boulder, Unmasked Boulder, Potato Head Boulder

Potato Head Boulder is about 15ft tall. The face is a textbook 'problem'. I sent it in 2011 but couldnt get it this trip.
And they call this place the desert....
This photo is kinda cool just because of the sky; its on fire to the left and blue sky to the right with ominous clouds. 
My morning warm-up boulder. All of these have names but I dont remember them. We had nothing to do with developing these (Mastodon area).
A fun, blankish, hard open book.

If this isnt called the Morel Boulder it should be!

The book calls the hidden offwidth a 5.9 that stops a ways short of the top. I used the offwidth to gain the tips crack and proceeded to scare the s*** out of me topping out. I estimate its atleast 22ft tall. Bad landing, no fall zone.
The super classic Mastodon crack.  This one gets up there a ways too but the climbing gets easier the higher you get. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Revenue Village: City Limits Buttress; Climb day

Sam, Jeff, Manfred and I all went out to the Village to climb 3 routes I just cleaned and bolted the weekend prior. I lead Black Angus Orchestra without any issues besides the shit-eating grin on my face! The crux is the bottom quarter of the route with some intimidating looking ceilings but there are cracks and holds that take away the difficulties, I give it 5.9 40m two bolts and gear. Cattle Scratch Boogie shares the ceiling start with B.A.Orchestra then takes the the low angled, uber-featured face to the top with bolts and one or two cams, 5.9 only because of the start then 5.7 to the top. After that I lead Trooper Down with a couple of cams to bolts back to gear and one last bolt before the top, 5.9 40m. They are all 5-star routes in my book! I knew they were going to be fun but they surpassed my expectations. I cant wait to develop the rest of this rock because its got a bunch more routes that look just as good! This was Jeff's first rock outing in a season or two and his first trip to the Village; I think he was rather impressed!

Me sending the ceilings; left of the first and right of the second. 
My hands are in a textbook hands crack with bomber gear right where it gets a lil airy. This is lap two on TR.
If you are going to climb with half-ropes you might as well climb in tandem if you have a group of 3. 
Looks like we are a ways up there!
Me on the FA of Trooper Down. 
Its gear until you get to this face that Im on where you'll find a few bolts.