"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it." H.L. Menken

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Butte-opia? Virgin boulders abound!

Old habits die hard. After enduring the world's longest winter in Red Lodge, then spending the my summer in choss-monster country (Glacier), I haven't really been out climbing much. In fact, I've only been bouldering a couple of times in the last 6 months, and I am currently as weak as 7 year-old girl. But my favorite part of climbing (aside from drinking beer and heckling from the luxury of a crash pad) has always been tramping around through the forest, looking for new lines. That's why I like MT climbing so much.

Now that I've moved to Butte, I've decided weakness be damned. Besides locking myself in the library and dodging meth-heads, what else is there to do?

The first couple of times I went out scouting, I generally left bummed. It seemed to be one featureless fin after another. But recently I stumbled upon some excellence. I'm sure a couple of these have been spotted before, but I don't think many (if any at all) have been climbed.

I believe all these lines go, and that most of them are currently to hard for my ass. With that said, I didn't even lace up my shoes. Let me know if any of these boulders have been climbed, or if your interested in getting your FA on.

Perhaps the most difficult looking line I peeped. While it may appear to be blank, it actually has a variety of bomber (not sharp) crimps, and good sit start. What I 'm guessing is the crux involves finger stacking in the drill seem. Note my backpack for size comparison. I suspect someboy has looked at this before.

A close up on one of those crimps.

Big ol' easily accessible block.

Close up on its big slopey arete.

Big boy. 20' or more, complete with slopey huecos.

Steep line of crimpy seems. Looks burl.

Gigantor. Note the 6' tall sampling being dwarfed. I had to jump just to feel the starting holds.

Same block different view.

Bell of the ball. Contains perhaps the single coolest line I saw.

No batholith area would be complete without at least one rail traverse (or 8). Added bonus is the huck-for-the-lip finish.

Due to the poor photo quality I forgive you for thinking this is a crack, but its actually the world's longest jug.

Yet another rad looking boulder.

A steep saucer with features underneath? I was shocked too.

Close up of the excellent looking rail used to gain the lip.

Due to impending darkness and steep hiking I never made it to this cache. But boy do I want to.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Powell Ridge.

Suffering from an unfortunate hangover Saturday morning, I decided that bagging a peak would be a good cure that involved minimal social interaction. Too bad plans formulated while dehydrated and with a pounding headache are rarely good ones. The idea was to do Mount Powell, which is by no means a difficult peak. However, I didn't get to the trailhead until 11:30, made up my own route, did not bring enough water, and forgot all my food in the truck. Awesome! ...Apparently I am not smart enough to be out alone. With that said I never died, and only had to bushwack for a couple miles.

A photo of Powell I took earlier this fall.

My route went up the less impressive Deer Lodge Mt. (at right), then traversed the long ridge to Mt. Powell (at left).

Mt. Powell and its crater like cirque as seen from Deer Lodge Mt. I traversed the ridge at left.

Chain of lakes in the Flynt Creek Range.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hell Guard (Hilgard)

Let me start by saying, that attempting to summit a remote peak via an untested approach, with unreliable beta, and girlfriend recovering from a vicious spat of giardia is a bad idea. Yet those were the set of circumstances I decided would make for a grand labor day. Sarah and I decided we would attempt to climb Mt. Hilgard (the high point of the Madison Range, and highest in MT outside of the Beartooths) by backpacking into the Hilgard Basin and using that as our base camp. Although summitpost and the Peakbagging Montana agreed on little in regards to Hilgard, this was the recommended approach of neither.

Echo Peak above the Hilgard Basin. A little bit of scenery.

Our base-camp. Blue Paradise Lake lived up to its name.

The problem with our plan was the approach. As this pic shows pretty clearly, just reaching the base of the mountain involved crossing a field of talus that would make Mordor look weak. Plus we had no axes or crampons for the easier snow couloir. By the time we gained the east ridge energy was running low.

The partner, obviously nervous about our lack of reliable route information.

Sarah on what we believed to be the correct route.

True summit from the broken summit ridge. Unfortunately not traversable. This would be as close as I'd get.

My false summit is the knob at left. Sonofabitchpieceofshithellassturdwanker!!!!

At least the descent included an epic/terrifying ice coulee.

Myself showing Hilgard how I truly feel. (Yes, that is the middle finger.) Again, talus for miles!

Despite obvious frustration, the overall trip was awesome. I would highly recommend this area to any one.

Special thanks to Dennis and Bill. (these guys were so badass they were trying to hunt mountain goats with longbows! wtf?) who hooked us up with coors and doritos after our fail. Muchas, muchas gracias.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Butte: Where dreams come true.

A little catch up on my time in the Buttehole.

JD "hog holin."

Our adventure into the Tobacco Roots.

One of those types of camping trips. Note scattered beer cans.

The saddle between Jefferson and Hollowtop.

Red and JD enjoy a cold schmidt to prepare for the bushwack scree ski off the summit.

Tobacco Roots from the Madison Valley. Jefferson and Hollowtop are on the right.